- OPay Raises $50m to Expand Operations in Nigeria
OPay, a one-shop mobile payments startup, just raised $50 million investment fund to expand its operations in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria.
Founded by the second most used web browser in Africa Opera, OPay is an Africa-focused mobile-based platform for payments, transportation, food and grocery delivery, and other everyday services.”
Launched in August 2018, OPay adopted an agent-centric mobile payment operation to reach the unbanked population in Nigeria, and since then, it has added new services to its ecosystem — ORide and food delivery service OFood.
In less than a year of operation, OPay grew active agents to more than 40,000 and daily transaction volumes rose more than $5 million, making OPay the largest mobile transaction provider in Nigeria.
ORide, an e-hailing motorbike unit of OPay, is growing fast in Lagos and will be competing with the likes of Gokada that recently raised $5.3 million and Max.ng that raised $7 million to expand operations and enhance revenue by joining the boat-transport business in Nigeria.
But with the uniqueness of OPay service as a mobile payment with a broad database and access to operating capital, ORide should be better positioned going forward.
Commenting on the company’s growth in the last one year, Yahui Zhou, the Chairman and CEO of Opera Limited, said, “By incubating OPay and supporting the company through its rapid acceleration, Opera has also demonstrated its ability to leverage its brand and consumer reach to create attractive, fast-growing businesses on the African continent. We are highly pleased by the team’s results and are excited to continue supporting OPay as the journey continues.”
“OPay has successfully built a leading mobile payment business in Nigeria in a short period of time. We are excited to be part of its continued growth, as it provides access to better mobile banking services for Nigeria’s 200 million population, and expands into new areas,” said Qingsheng Zheng, Partner of Sequoia China.
“We are thrilled that IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Source Code Capital and others are coming onboard as investors in OPay. The additional capital will allow OPay to accelerate its growth in mobile payment services and the growth into new verticals, such as motorbike ridesharing and food delivery,” said Yahui Zhou, Chairman and CEO of Opera Limited. “Further, the strength of Opera’s brand and OPay’s emerging position will benefit both companies’ and their visions to lead many internet verticals across Africa.”
The investors were IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Source Code Capital, Meituan-Dianping, GSR Ventures and Opera Limited (Nasdaq: OPRA).
Konga Health Debuts June 2021
Konga Health, a highly anticipated digital health care distribution subsidiary of Nigeria’s leading e-Commerce giant, Konga is set to go live by June 2021.
The tech-driven health care company is expected to expand access to quality Medicare for millions and revolutionize the health care value chain in Nigeria.
Feelers from a reliable source indicate that the management of Konga has secured all pending statutory approvals for the formal launch of the company. Further, the source disclosed that the management of Konga has been testing its robust technology, nationwide logistics; as well as its payment platforms in partnership with local and international players in the sector; ahead of the rollout in order to achieve a seamless experience from launch.
Konga Health will expectedly provide huge employment opportunities for medical professionals and other Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the expected debut of Konga Health has also been confirmed by a confidential source at Konga.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the startup will radically improve the speed at which quality drugs are delivered nationwide to pharmacies, hospitals and other health services providers; while also boosting structured last mile delivery to patients and other end-users across Nigeria.
In addition, he disclosed that Konga Health will power an unprecedented level of digital health democracy in Nigeria; adding that the company may possibly launch a globally rated blood bank across the six geo-political regions in Nigeria; using cloud-based digital sensors to monitor secure cold rooms in its facilities.
‘‘I can assure you that it is an ambitious project which serious local and international donor agencies; government at all levels, the public sector and corporate organizations will leverage to deliver quality health programs; backed by reliable data at the least cost to the remotest villages,’’ the source stated.
Konga Health was initially due for launch in September 2019.
However, the management of Konga had pushed back the rollout due to delays encountered with approvals from statutory bodies.
Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana
Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder on Monday announced Ghana has been chosen as African Headquarters over Nigeria despite the tech giant having the largest African users and revenue from Nigeria.
The announcement was made by both Dorsey and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
President Akufo-Addo, who held a virtual meeting with Jack last week, said “As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”
It was shocking that in spite of Dorsey visiting Nigeria, investing and supporting several startups like Mark Zuckerberg has been doing since he first visited Africa’s largest economy, there were several issues like unclear policy path, basic amenities, unnecessary bottleneck because of bribery, etc that were more imperative to Twitter future in Africa than what Nigeria is presently offering despite its potential.
While it was obvious that Nigeria remains a target given its huge potentials, Twitter preferred to operate from outside with manageable proximity unlike if it was in South Africa like Facebook.
According to Twitter, in a statement released on Monday, the decision was based on Ghana’s openness towards the internet and handling of AfCFTA released matters.
“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.
As a Nigerian, this is not good given that we have a huge unemployment rate at 33.33 percent, a weak GDP growth rate at 0.11 percent, a rising inflation rate at over 17 percent, weak revenue generation and low foreign reserves. This would have been an opportunity to boost each of those metrics and also sell the nation as a true tech hub to other establishments.
In recent months, several of Nigeria’s startups have raised huge capital with the latest coming from Appzone that raised $10 million after Paystack was acquired for over $200 million. Kuda Bank, Bankly, etc have gone on to raised mouthwatering amounts to further deepen their presence across Africa but lack of infrastructure, stable policy and genuine internet openness continue to impede Nigeria’s true potential as leading Africa’s tech nation.
Twitter immediately commenced recruitment in Ghana on Monday in an effort to hit the ground running.
Telecoming and Evina Sign a Global Alliance to Enhance Security in DCB Payments
European technology companies Evina and Telecoming have signed a global alliance to work hand in hand in promoting DCB as the safest and most appropriate payment method in the new mobile economy and, in particular, for the fight against fraud.
The agreement deals a body blow to the mobile fraud that cost the African continent over USD 4 billion last year. DCB is the most suitable payment technology for millions of unbanked Africans who appreciate its unparalleled reach and convenience. The agreement between Evina and Telecoming; both with operations in 15 African, Middle Eastern and European countries; now makes mobile-based transacting even safer.
Telecoming is the leading expert in DCB since 2008 and Evina is the reference in the fight against digital fraud. With this alliance, both organizations combine their expertise to develop the industry and boost mobile payment security.
Roberto Monge, COO of Telecoming, states “Direct carrier billing has been growing in the new digital economy. It is a technology with enormous potential that benefits all players in the mobile environment. With this alliance, we want to place DCB at the forefront of the payments industry and reinforce our commitment to the development of a transparent, secure and stable mobile economy“.
David Lotfi, Evina’s CEO: “The potential of DCB is widely underestimated by mobile operators and other market players. This is mainly due to the fact that DCB is currently adversely affected by fraud. By protecting the mobile payment ecosystem, we aim to sustain DCB’s growth and help all players flourish in this ecosystem.”
The alliance aims to educate on the vast potential of direct carrier billing through the DCBMaster service that allows users to measure their exposure to fraud, as well as their market and regulations knowledge.
The alliance will also enable the launch of the first global DCB indicator. This DCB Index will measure the maturity of the DCB market in different regions, based on the analysis of four indicators: Fraud protection, Innovation, Penetration in the Digital Industry and Growth Potential.
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