Opera’s OPay still plans Africa expansion on Nigerian super app

Opera’s OPay still plans Africa expansion on Nigerian super app

Work of Africa Fintech startup OPay remains committed to building a multi-service super app in Nigeria as a base for expansion on the continent.

OPay also continues to operate ORide for a limited passenger service, although the company is moving the hail operation on the move towards logistics activities.

Opera’s OPay still plans Africa expansion on Nigerian super app – TechCrunch
Opera’s OPay still plans Africa expansion on Nigerian super app

These were some of the updates offered by Opera’s Derrick Nueman, vice president of investor relations and OPay consultant.

He spoke to ProWellTech amid a flurry of recent reports that question OPay’s strategy in Nigeria and speculate on his departure from some verticals.

This is taking place in the context of fierce competition between fintech and mobility companies in the West African country. Nigeria is home to the continent’s largest economy, the largest population and is the primary destination for VCs to African startups, starting in 2019.

Opera launched the OPay mobile money platform in Lagos in 2018 on the popularity of its Internet search engine in Africa. A year later, the Chinese-owned company based in Norway sent jitters through Nigeria’s startup world when it rallied investors to support OPay with $ 170 million in VC. The funding was equal to almost a fifth of all venture capital funding raised for African startups the previous year.

Image Credits: Opera

Opera took advantage of its capital to go to work by building a large suite of commercial Internet-based products in Nigeria using OPay as a financial utility.

In a 2019 prospectus, Opera was referring to this multi-product strategy by creating “Africa’s super app”. Pursuing this platform has put OPay in competition with dozens of local startups – such as the payment company Paga and the logistics company Max.ng – without pocket business parents.

Opera remains committed to the super app strategy, according to Derrick Nueman. He referred to OPay as “the glue that holds everything together and inside you can offer all types of products”.

Nueman compared the approach with other multi-service Internet service models such as Grab or Gojek.

“He’s taking what worked in Asia and attributing it to Africa, and as far as I know it’s still the plan,” he said.

Opera has tested numerous vertical services in Nigeria. So many it was a little difficult to track. Some – like OBus – have already been thrown away. Nueman has confirmed a list of five current product offerings around Opay in Nigeria:

  • OMall, a B2C e-commerce app
  • OTrade, a B2B e-commerce platform
  • OExpress, a logistic delivery service
  • OFood, for delivery to the restaurant; is
  • ORide, a motorcycle hail service

OPay – whose Nigerian country manager is Iniabasi Akpan – is also moving into selling devices with Olla, a mobile phone line preloaded with its apps.

Image Credits: Opera

On ORide, in particular, there has been some speculation that the hail in motion service will continue, particularly after the state of Lagos, Nigeria, has severely limited two-wheeler passenger transport services and on request to earlier this year. Nigerian outlet TechCabal reported this week that ORide was selling part of its fleet.

According to Opera’s Derrick Nueman, ORide still offers a limited hail taxi service. “On the passenger side, it continues to operate where it can.” Many motorcycles are transferred to other functions within OPay. “What they did was redirect a group of their drivers to do things like delivery and logistics,” said Nueman.

Many of ORide’s competitors – like Max .ng and Gokada – have also moved from passenger transit and to delivery logistics in response to regulatory restrictions on motorcycle taxis.

Opera still plans to bring its superapp model to the road in Africa, according to Nueman. “OPay continues to look into other markets. The idea is to take what worked in Nigeria and export it, “he said.

In a 2019 version, Opera is called Ghana, South Africa and Kenya as potential growing markets.

Regarding expansion times, Nueman said it depends on obtaining appropriate licenses and therefore on measuring the displacement variables related to COVID-19 in Africa.

The economic impact of the global pandemic has thrown uncertainty on the continent’s major economies and technology centers – such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa – where blocking measures have limited revenues and start-up operations.

According to several reports, Nigeria is already in the process of receding to another recession due to the slowdown in economic activity and the drop in global oil demand.

On OPay’s plans to overcome a stormy economic environment in its primary market, Opera’s Nueman points to the company’s VC boxes.

“At a high level, if you don’t need capital or you’re well-funded, you’re ahead,” he said.

Nueman also highlighted the growth in OPay’s payment volume. “Between January and April … the volume of offline and online transactions increased by 44%. So even in the block, it’s going really well. ”

Where does Opera’s adventure in Africa fit into Nigeria’s competitive startup landscape? The traction with the volume of payments is obviously a good sign for the company. However, the recession and limited movement could make business for OPay in Nigeria as difficult as its competitors.

Having more capital – and the ability to withstand a higher combustion rate – puts OPay in a strong position compared to other startups. But it will take longer to determine whether OPay is able to align its super-app products to the preferences of local consumers (or rather) compared to the offers of local technology companies.

As has been shown in other markets, all VCs in the world do not necessarily purchase products suitable for the market.

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