Opera’s Opay Pulls Plug on ORide, OCar, Shifts focus to eCommerce & payments

Opera’s Opay Pulls Plug on ORide, OCar, Shifts focus to eCommerce & payments

News earlier in the week broke that Opera-backed Nigerian fintech startup, OPay has reportedly shut down all its business operations in Nigeria following a letter issued by its foreign investors amidst the poor economic climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic..

A report claims that all verticals of the startup, including ride hailing, ORide and OTrike — which were still active in other states aside Lagos; the recently launched B2B and B2C eCommerce platforms, OMall and OTrade; OExpress for logistics; and food delivery feature, OFood will be closed down.

Opay launched ORide in Nigeria last year, had invested $170M to run ORide, OBus, OCar, OTrike, OKash, OWealth, OFood, OLists among others. Later that year, the company raised $120 million and expanded services to Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, Bloomberg reported.

The ‘pausing’ of ORide, OCar, OFood and OExpress, was bound to happen as motorcycle hailing was not making sense for the firm especially after Lagos banned bike hailing affecting its services to the public. The firm does also not make much money out of the bike hailing services, hence the decision to ‘pause’ the services indefinitely.

OPay was formed a year earlier than that, in 2018, as a way for mobile customers to send and receive money. The company was founded by Norwegian browser company Opera, which also operates ORide and OFood, a restaurant delivery service.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has been looking to license more payment providers, PYMNTS reported last December. The bank’s attempts were looking to increase the financial inclusion rate in the country by 20 percent, and to get it to 80 percent by the end of 2020 — though this was before the coronavirus pandemic was a worldwide reality.

Opay used both the Opera also has both the resources and the technology to scale OPay into more services. Opera, the most popular mobile browser in Africa announced in May 2017, it would invest $100 million to facilitate the growth of African digital economy and maintain its number one position. The firm also said it was working with over 47 top tier African companies to integrate value-added services, mobile payment and data bundling into its browser.

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