SoftBank forays into Africa with OPay investment

One of the world’s largest technology investors SoftBank has made its first investment in an African startup. 

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led Nigerian mobile payments platform OPay’s recent US$400 million funding round. This most recent round raises OPay’s valuation to US$2 billion.

“We believe our investment will help the company extend its offering to adjacent markets and replicate its successful business model in Egypt and other countries in the region,” said Kentaro Matsui, a Managing Partner at SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Before the announcement of this deal, there were speculations already circulating that the Chinese-backed, Africa-centric fintech was looking to raise US$400 million at a US$1.5 billion valuation.

OPay’s existing backers participated in the funding effort, including Redpoint China, Sequoia Capital China, SoftBank Ventures Asia, and Source Code Capital. The fintech also added two new backers, namely 3W Capital and DragonBall Capital.

Opay’s CEO Yahui Zhou indicated that the firm “wants to be the power that helps emerging markets reach a faster economic development.” The new funding will be applied to OPay’s expansion plans in Africa. The fund will also be useful in powering plans to launch debit cards for its wallet holders.

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