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OPay Dims the Light on its Super App Ambition

Tochukwu Egesi
Tochukwu Egesi

Opera-backed Nigerian fintech startup, OPay, has shut down its family of services except its mobile money service in Nigeria.

In what looks like another COVID impact, few days ago, the South African government announced that its economy shrank by 2%. However, the COVID-19 crisis is not guilty of South Africa's recession as the recession started long before the crisis.

Just like South Africa, Opay, an Opera-backed company with a $200m war chest, is yet to recover from a government induced volcano that hit the company in 2019. The Lagos state ban on motorcycles popularly called "Okada" caused all okada-based ride hailing companies to rethink their business model entirely. This forced the likes of Gokada to become a logistics startup.

Having lost its honey (motorcycle based ride-hailing), Opay has just shut down all operations except its mobile money service in a letter to its stakeholders today.

Image credit: Opay

Created by the Norwegian software company Opera which was later acquired by Chinese investors, OPay emerged in 2018 following Opera’s acquisition of PayCom, a Nigerian fintech service owned by Telnet Nigeria. Following its launch, OPay had access to Opera’s $40 million investment fund for Nigeria. Opay at mid 2019 had tens of thousands of riders and a plethora of sub-apps including Oride, Osave, Oloan, Olist, Ofood, Owealth, etc.

Opay's woes which has catalysed the end of Nigeria's first super app; remains an unpleasant case study in Nigeria's technology ecosystem that could affect foreign direct investment and local investment in the technology sector.

OpinionNewsDigital inclusionFinancial inclusion

Tochukwu Egesi

Financial Services Strategy & Digital Economy Specialist (Scribing in Personal Capacity)