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SoftBank Makes First Foray Into Africa With OPay Investment

Giant technology investor SoftBank has made its first foray into Africa, making its first bet in Nigerian mobile payments platform OPay. The firm’s Vision Fund 2 led a $400 million funding round for the FinTech company, valuing it at $2 billion, Bloomberg reported on Monday (Aug. 23).

“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,” Kentaro Matsui, a managing partner at the SoftBank Vision Fund, said on behalf of the company.

This news comes a few months after PYMNTS reported that the Chinese-backed and Africa-focused FinTech was in talks to raise up to $400 million at a $1.5 billion valuation from a group of investors.

Read more: Nigerian Payments Giant OPay In Talks To Raise $400 Million At $1.5 Billion Valuation

The capital injection from SoftBank also drew participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital China, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital and SoftBank Ventures Asia. Two new investors, DragonBall Capital and 3W Capital, also took part in the financing round, according to the Bloomberg report.

In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, OPay Chief Executive Officer Yahui Zhou said that the company “wants to be the power that helps emerging markets reach a faster economic development.”

As PYMNTS previously reported, the payments firm processed $2 billion payments in December 2020, up from $1.4 billion in October 2020. Founded in 2018, the company secured $50 million and $120 million in its Series A and Series B round, respectively, and is looking to continue expanding in other African countries after launching in Egypt this year. The company has also revealed plans to launch debit cards this year, which will be directly linked to users’ OPay wallets.

The platform once seemed to be targeting a “super-app” strategy, but that dream was cut short after its ride-hailing and bike-sharing services were closed down following a government ban in Nigeria and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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