Everything you need to know about Opay, ORide Launches in Nigeria, Offers Amazing Prices
A new and innovative on-demand motorbike ride-hailing, Keke service has launched its services in Lagos Nigeria with immediate expansion plans throughout Nigeria.
Driven by technology, the ORide service is accessible via the OPay app – a super app that’s available on Android and iOS, with features that cater to a range of lifestyle demands including food order and delivery, utility bills payment, cash access and more.
Launched in May 2019 with initial operations flagging off in Lagos, the service has since expanded into other cities like Ibadan, Akwa Ibom State.
The service launches with ORide Green, its flagship motorbike models of 200cc engine specification aimed at servicing long distance trip requests as well as ORide Street, its lighter offering to cater to shorter intra-city trips.
ORide is a solution to a myriad of transport challenges, particularly heavy traffic. The service offers flexible payment options including cash, card payment, and payment through the OPay app that allows riders to access promotional offerings.
Iniabasi Akpan, Country Manager at Opay says “About 25-30% of the Nigerian adult population are uneducated, poor, and have little or no access to financial services. As a business, we exist to remove the barriers to financial services and access to a better quality of life for the underprivileged and the financially excluded.
Through our business operations, we provide opportunities for operators and users in the less formal and informal sector to access the tools, training, skills and finance they need for a better life leveraging the use of mobile phones and technology. ORide is just one of those channels we consider vital to achieving our goals of providing access to financial services and improving the quality of life of low-income families.
There are also several other social benefits of ORide which includes the potential to create more than 100,000 tax paying jobs, easing the movement of people and goods, and boosting commerce and entrepreneurship.”
A huge emphasis has been placed on driver training and safety. Several steps have been taken to ensure this.
Ridwan Olalere, Director of Product says “All ORide motorbike riders have been trained by safety professionals – our first training resulted in a 50% pass rate. We have then taken steps to hold a monthly class for the riders.
All ORide motorbikes come with a pre-adjusted speed limit of 60kmph. Also, the motorbikes have unique tracking devices attached to them and can be tracked online in real time”.
Both riders and passengers who take ORide are covered by comprehensive insurance and will also have access to 24hrs customer support service. In addition, Riders have access to healthcare.
Customers can download the Opay app now on iOS and Android or from the ORide website and for this July, pay only N200 for every trip they take that’s less than N2000.
Opay/Oride Product Review: How to download and install Opay app by Eko Adetolani
Oride(Opay) is an all-in-one mobile app that brings together motorbike ride hailing(Oride), mobile money(Opay) & fast food delivery(Ofood) services in one app. Opay was the first to launch in the Nigerian market after Opera’s acquisition of Paycom in 2017. Oride launched more recently in May 2019 while Ofood is still in beta development.
There has been a lot of buzz around the product since it launched and it’s easy to spot motorbike riders with the “P” logo on their helmets anywhere around Lagos.
I’ve used the app for about a month now and decided to write a review. My review will cover UI, UX, features & functionality.
Although the ios app isn’t out yet, you can download the Opay(Oride) Android app here
Industry: Mobile Money, Ride hailing/Transportation, Food delivery & logistics
- Test Phone: Samsung A6+
- OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo)
- App version: 220.127.116.11384892
UI & UX
The Opay(Oride) app has a simple layout which is predominantly white, grey and green in-line with the company’s brand colours. It features a bottom nav bar that makes it easy for users to reach the major sections of the app. It also uses a couple of cool icons to depict features within the app.
To be honest, I’m not really a fan of the UI. It seems a bit old, plain and some elements seem out of place. Some screens and design elements feel like they’re from another app.
I also believe some areas of the app might have been overlooked. Some text have grammatical errors and others are not user friendly.
Features & Functionality
The Opay(Oride) app features the core functionality of most mobile money & motorbike hailing apps. Apart from the basic features, I noticed a couple of features that I personally like on app. Some of them include:-
- Account balance display: I like that the app allows you show or hide your account balance. This is great for security reasons and also to help keep the self esteem of some users intact.
- Request for money feature (of course I like this): I like that users can request for money/payment from other Opay users. It can come in handy when splitting bills on a night out or engaging an elusive client.
- The in-app support section: This feature makes it possible for users to view FAQs and interact with the Opay(Oride) support team without leaving the app.
- The transaction history (probably my favourite feature): The app allows users not only view but also filter their transaction history based on categories (airtime, bill payments e.t.c) and status (successful, failed e.t.c). Users can also search for past transactions. It can really help give an overview of what you’re really spending on. It seems like a simple feature but a lot of Nigerian payment apps including mobile banking apps lack this feature.
Features I would like to see
- Scan to pay: I believe in 2019 it should be standard for all payment apps to have a scan to pay feature.
- Finger print login: I am quite surprised that there’s no finger print feature especially since the app requires a 6-digit PIN login as opposed to the 4-digit system most users are familiar with. I hope to see this in the nearest future.
The Opay(Oride) app shows a lot of promise and can easily become the No1 super app in Nigeria. The Opay(Oride)team just has to be more intentional with crafting great user experiences. The UI and app usability needs a lot of work... I hope to review it again some time in the near future and get a better user experience.
PS: I know this is not really a part of the app but I like that a couple of riders actually help you properly put on your Oride gear (helmet and raincoat). It creates a personal experience and ensures users stay safe during the ride. Shout out to Taiwo, my best rider so far.
Opay now in Uyo Akwa Ibom State capital
Opera Software AS’ payment and transportation startup in Nigeria, OPay has lunched its OTrike in Uyo Akwa Ibom State capital.
As the name implies, OTrike is a tricycle hailing startup that is targeting Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, one of the largest city by population, charging Just #70 per drop.
It is expected that as the service continues to gather momentum in Uyo, more cities in the state will be added
OEverything: Can OPay dominate Nigeria’s fintech market? By Abubakar Idris
They’re everywhere, green and hard to miss. You’ve probably used one of their services or perhaps you haven’t. Not just yet. But you’ve heard of them and seen their billboards around town. OPay landed quietly in Nigeria in 2018 as a payments solution but has since gained name recognition with its ubiquitous bike-hailing service.
What would you do if you had $50 million in funding from some of the world’s biggest names? If you’re OPay, you introduce various new services in the hopes of thoroughly decimating the competition. You leave people wondering: What the hell is OPay is actually doing?
In the beginning
The OPay story didn’t start in Nigeria. It began in 2017 in Norway.
In May 2017, the Norwegian internet company Opera announced a $100 million fund to invest in digital businesses in Africa, with $40 dedicated million to the Nigerian market alone. The company said the fund was aimed at improving financial inclusion and the African digital economy.
OPay emerged in December 2017 after an incubation period by Opera. It launched in Kenya as a payment service operated through an Opera subsidiary called O-Play Kenya Limited. In February 2018, OPay launched OKash, a quick loans platform, also managed by O-Play Kenya.
The Nigerian side of the OPay story, however, started in August 2018. In order to operate here, the company paid an undisclosed fee to acquire a controlling stake in PayCom, a fintech company founded by Telnet Nigeria. PayCom owned a licence to operate payment services in the country but was reportedly at risk of losing this after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) proposed stricter financial licensing requirements. The OPay acquisition gave the company new life within a bold new play. Since the acquisition, PayCom has operated all OPay services in Nigeria and become a vehicle for Opera’s $40 million investment fund for the country.
OPay has since developed an ambitious consumer-facing payments platform. Its mobile app allows people to transfer money, pay bills and buy recharge cards. It also creates a bank account for users, allowing them to receive money by using Paycom as the name of their bank and their phone numbers as the account numbers. The app is also the centre of a wide range of services and offerings that OPay intends to use to ensure and cement its dominance of Nigeria’s fintech landscape.
Beginning in July 2018, OPay started using a network of agents to take its services to Nigeria’s unbanked population of 36.6 million people.
“The role of OPay’s agents is to help bring and take money out of the Opay mobile wallet,” Derrick Nueman, head of investor relations at Opera, explained to TechCabal. Within a year, the company grew quickly in Nigeria and this is where the OPay story gets interesting.
Where are OPay’s Agents?
In December 2018, OPay said it had 3,000 mobile money agents in the country. Four months later in April, it claimed this had grown to 10,000 agents. It jumped again to 20,000 in May. And by July, the company claimed it had 40,000 “active” agents across the country.
This growth has been remarkably rapid, leading some industry insiders to question its veracity. By comparison, Paga, one of Nigeria’s biggest mobile money services, has 23,208 agents after almost a decade in business.
Osagie Alonge, the Director of Growth at OPay, said: “An agent is someone who uses the OPay platform to offer agent banking services and makes a profit from it. For us after installing the OPay app they have to do a KYC and agent registration.”
While competitors Paga and QuickTeller agents use kiosks and other means to remain visible, OPay developed “nearby agent”, an in-app feature for finding agents. It uses GPS to connect users with the nearest agents. It’s like Uber, but for OPay agents. We tried this feature, but it didn’t work. We tried it at different locations in Lagos and the response was consistent: “there are currently no agents nearby.”
After several unsuccessful attempts, we ditched the app and did some leg work to see if we could find an agent in any part of Lagos. We went to Surulere, Abule Egba, Iyana Ipaja, Ikeja, Mushin, Oshodi and Yaba for an OPay agent. We found none.
Meanwhile, a company insider told TechCabal that OPay’s agent network isn’t really big in Lagos. “Much of their focus is on locations outside Lagos,” the source revealed.
This sounds plausible. My colleague Wole Olayinka in Oyo state met two agents in the state capital, Ibadan: a man and his wife. “I didn’t know these people were agents until they told me, and then one of them brought out a jacket with “OPay” [printed] on it,” he told me.
OPay Business Verticals and Funding
Away from its agents, OPay has added new verticals atop of its payment platform.
In June, it launched ORide, a bike-hailing service. It has also introduced bus transport (OBus), tricycle-hailing (OTrike), food delivery (OFood) and wealth management (OWealth). Last month, the Nigerian OPay introduced OKash loans, a service facilitated by Kenya’s O-Play. These new services are all available from within the OPay app, turning it into a super app.
It secured its first external funding in July, receiving $50 million in funding from a group of Chinese investors including Sequoia China, IDG Capital, Source Code, GSR Ventures and Meituan-Dianping.
These investors represent China’s continued interest in Africa. In addition, investors like Sequoia China and Meituan-Dianping have experience backing loss-making unicorns. Sequoia China is an investor in Didi Chuxing the ride-hailing startup that lost over $1 billion in 2018. Didi forced out Uber in China by acquiring them and then backing Taxify in the markets where Uber operates in Africa and Europe.
Meituan-Dianping developed a super app for food delivery, ride-hailing, hotel booking and payments and this experience could prove useful to the Nigerian company.
With this funding round, Opera’s stake in OPay now stands at 19.9 percent. It is not clear what this stake is worth, but according to Opera’s second quarterly (Q2) report for 2019, it recorded a $4 million income gain “including a non-cash gain from the increased OPay valuation in connection with the company’s funding round.”
Although Opera has made OPay a separate company, they maintain “a close, mutually-beneficial relationship”, according to Nueman. He disclosed that the two companies will continue to “work together to promote each other’s services and products which serves as an effective way to cross-market their apps.”
ORide, OPay’s Aggressive Growth Service
So far, the biggest growth enabler for OPay appears to be ORide, its bike-hailing service.
Launched in June, ORide has grown aggressively. It uses huge discounts to attract new users and is now a serious competitor to older bike-hailing startups like Gokada and MAX. Barely two months after it launched in Lagos the service expanded to Ibadan, one of Nigeria’s largest cities.
During its Q2 earnings call on August 22, Opera disclosed that ORide now does as much as 100,000 rides per day – an incredible number. But its growth tactics using promos and subsidized rates could prove unsustainable as it burns through cash rapidly in search of growth. Uber, a company that employs similar tactics, recently lost $5 billion in one quarter and remains unprofitable after a decade in business. Few Africa-focused startups not named Jumia or backed by the Rocket Group have shown a similar appetite for such rapid and aggressive loss-fueled growth.
The bike hailing market is nascent and operates in a regulatory grey area in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city. For years the state government has maintained traffic laws that banned commercial motorbikes from operating on over 500 roads. There are also safety and bike capacity requirements.
However, the enforcement of these laws has been weak and allowed ORide and its competitors to emerge and continue to operate in the city. While these startups have met the safety and motorbike requirements, the road restriction laws remain, making them vulnerable to government action.
In July, we reported that the government was proposing a licence for bike-hailing startups that would address the regulatory gaps. The licence would cost ₦25 million (about $70,000) annually for 1,000 bikes, and a further ₦30,000 for every bike after the 1,000 mark. A license like this, replicated nationwide in multiple cities, could prove damaging for these startups.
Yet it’s not just the government action that affects these startups: road transport unions want them to fall in line and observe union practices. Since May, two of Nigeria’s biggest transport unions, the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), have harassed bikers affiliated with these startups and demanded they buy tickets to operate in different parts of Lagos.
The government’s bike-hailing licence is expected to put an end to this harassment and ticket purchases. But months after the proposed license came to light, the government is yet to finalise. OPay’s Country Manager, Iniabasi Akpan, told TechCabal that conversations are still ongoing “with the Lagos State Government and the Road Transport Unions concerning the proposed license and ticketing fees, respectively.”
Meanwhile, ORide’s traction in recent months has been an important driver for OPay’s financial inclusion quest. TechCabal previously reported that the service’s uptake has grown particularly in rural locations and this has helped drive app usage in those areas. This puts the spotlight on another important issue: transaction volume.
How Much Is OPay Processing in Transactions?
Mirroring the growth of ORide, OPay claims its transaction volume has jumped since June. While announcing its funding round in July, the company disclosed that it processed $5 million worth of transactions daily. But according to Ridwan Olalere, the Director of Operations at ORide, that figure has doubled to over $10 million daily. Olalere, who was formerly OPay’s Head of Payments made the disclosure in August.
To begin with, Olalere’s sum translates to roughly ₦1.32 trillion ($3.65 billion) annually. In perspective, Flutterwave, the business to business fintech company, says it has processed over ₦900 billion ($2.5 billion) after 100 million transactions since 2016; while Paga has processed ₦1.5 trillion ($4.16 billion) since 2012. For OPay, a consumer-facing app with negligible enterprise element to its business to have surpassed Flutterwave’s transaction volume in just one year would be a remarkable achievement indeed.
Meanwhile, three days after Olalere shared his figure, Frode Jacobsen, Opera’s Chief Financial Officer, revealed that OPay’s daily transaction volume was around $7 million. Jacobsen made the revelation during Opera’s Q2 2019 earnings call. We contacted both an Opera spokesperson and Olalere for comments but they did not respond.
Fact-checking these figures is challenging because OPay is a private company and is not obligated to disclose its financials. So we checked public sources. Both the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) and a top source at one of Nigeria leading banks referred us to NIBSS data on mobile inter-scheme transactions. The NIBSS mobile inter-scheme transaction tracks all transactions done on mobile devices and its most recent data calls OPay’s reported figures into question.
Graphs from the NIBSS show that mobile transactions have grown at an incredible rate this year compared to previous years.
Overall transaction volumes have nearly tripled so far in 2019 compared to 2017, while transaction values have equally grown. In particular, between April and June, the value of transactions is almost twice the figures recorded for the same period last year. In 2018, total mobile transactions value for the first six months stood at N140.6 billion ($388.2 million), but for the same period in 2019, this figure has grown to N229 billion ($632.2 million).
Although mobile transactions are growing, the value is still too small to accommodate the $7 million (or the $10 million) figure OPay claims it processes daily. In perspective, that figure translates to $210 million (or $300 million) monthly. This is more than a third of the value of all transactions processed by NIBSS so far this year.
However, it’s worth noting the NIBSS transactions does not necessarily capture in-app or other forms of transactions on OPay, and as such their transaction numbers could be coming from elsewhere.
According to a highly placed source at an OPay partner financial institution, the company is not actually doing these numbers.
OPay and Opera senior executives declined to comment when presented with both NIBBS data and their partner’s comments.
OEverything? Not Quite
OPay’s slew of rapidly launched services are impressive and contributing to the perception of the platform as an increasingly unstoppable juggernaut. It is important to note however that these services are being launched through a range of intricate partnerships and acquisitions that combine both OPay and Opera’s finances and operational capacity. According to Nueman, both companies continue to promote each other’s products.
For example, OList, a classifieds listing platform in Nigeria with 50,000 authorized advertisers, is owned by Opera; but it works in partnership with OPay. Meanwhile, in the case of OKash, Opera acquired the service from OPay in December 2018 for $9.5 million, but the service is still being promoted in Nigeria on the OPay app.
“OKash’s business (in Kenya, Nigeria, and everywhere) relies heavily on mobile processors,” Nueman said, “Opay is also helping OKash disburse and collect loans.”
Opera says both companies will continue to try out different services and see which one sticks. So any belief that OPay, by itself, has a long-term goal to enter all markets (“OEverything”) is an exaggeration at best. The company’s Country Manager, Iniabasi Akpan said the vision is to drive financial inclusion in the country especially for the informal economy.
OPay’s path to fintech domination will find it facing significant adversaries. One of those is MTN, Nigeria’s dominant telco for nearly two decades, which makes ₦1.04 trillion ($2.9 billion) in annual revenue and recently acquired a superagent fintech license to provide agent banking across the country. It is also vying for a Payment Service Banking (PSB) licence which would allow it to offer banking services in rural areas: the main target of financial inclusion schemes. In addition, OPay has competition in multiple directions. In the finance sector, it has to compete with banks, telecoms and other fintech startups. In mobility, the field is crowded by Gokada, MAX, EasyMobility, alongside bikes affiliated with road transport unions like the NURTW and RTEAN. On the food delivery front, it competes with services like Jumia Food and smaller food delivery services that operate within restricted locations.
In order to secure its dominance, it needs to win the battle on multiple fronts while growing thin-margin, money burning business segments. OPay is winning on optics, with its superior fundraising and rapid entry and growth into multiple fronts giving competitors a lot to think about. Actually winning and building a profitable, or even sustainable business will require much more than optics and well-hyped numbers.
Opera founded startup OPay raises $50M for mobile finance in Nigeria
OPay, an Africa-focused mobile payments startup founded by Norwegian browser company Opera, has raised $50 million in funding.
Lead investors include Sequoia China, IDG Capital and Source Code Capital. Opera also joined the round in the payments venture it created.
OPay will use the capital (which wasn’t given a stage designation) primarily to grow its digital finance business in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.
OPay will also support Opera’s growing commercial network in Nigeria, which includes motorcycle ride-hail app ORide and OFood delivery service.
Opera founded OPay in 2018 on the popularity of its internet search engine. Opera’s web-browser has ranked No. 2 in usage in Africa, after Chrome, the last four years.
On the payments side, OPay in Nigeria has scaled to 40,000 active agents and $5 million in daily transaction volume.
The $50 million investment in OPay is more than just another big round in Africa. It has significance for the continent’s tech ecosystem on multiple levels.
To start, OPay’s raise tracks greater influence in African tech from China — whose engagement with African startups has been light compared to China’s deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. OPay founder Opera was acquired in 2016 for $600 million by a consortium of Chinese investors, led by current Opera CEO Yahui Zhou.
The majority of the investment for OPay’s raise comes from Chinese funds and sources, including Source Code Capital, Sequoia China and GSR Ventures. There’s not a lot of statistical data on the value of Chinese VC investment in Africa, but a large portion of $50 million to a fintech venture stands out.
OPay’s VC haul also has significance vis-à-vis digital-finance in Nigeria. In tandem with other trends, it could support the shift of Nigeria surpassing Kenya as Africa’s digital payments leader. For years Kenya has outpaced Nigeria in P2P digital payments volumes and digital financial inclusion, largely due to the rapid adoption of mobile-money products, such as Safaricom’s M-Pesa.
Some of this is due in part to Nigeria’s Central Bank limiting the ability of non-banks (including telcos) to offer mobile payment services. The CBN eased many of those restrictions earlier this year. This opens the door for mobile operators like MTN, with the largest phone network in Nigeria, to offer mobile-money products. In addition to fintech regulatory improvements, there’s been a gradual increase in VC flowing to Nigerian payment ventures.
The country’s leading digital payment company, Paga, raised $10 million in 2018 to further expand its customer base that now tallies 13 million. OPay’s $50 million-backed commitment to grow mobile money in Nigeria should provide another big boost to digital-finance adoption across the country’s 190 million people.
And not to be overlooked is how OPay’s capital raise moves Opera toward becoming a multi-service commercial internet platform in Africa. Part of the $50 million investment includes diversifying country and product offerings. “Geographic expansion of OPay and other services is a key part of our plans,” Opera CEO Yahui Zhou told TechCrunch via email.
This could place OPay and its Opera-supported suite of products on a competitive footing with other ride-hail, food delivery and payments startups across the continent. It also could mean competition between Opera and Africa’s largest multi-service internet company, e-commerce unicorn Jumia.
About O Pay
OPay is a one-stop mobile-based platform for payment, transportation, food & grocery delivery, and other important services in your everyday life. Millions of users rely on OPay everyday to send and receive money, pay bills, and order food and groceries.
Why Opay do it
Over 60% of people in Africa remain unbanked and can’t access the most basic financial services to invest in their education and businesses, which limits their full potential. Nobody should be denied access to participate in the world economy because of their circumstances or background.
With a passionate team, sophisticated mobile platform, and a fast-growing community of users, OPay is making financial services more efficient for millions of users and it starts with the ability to pay and have access to the right opportunities at the right time.
Meet OPay’s Parents: Opera Group
The parent company of OPay, Opera Group, also owns Opera AS Norway—developer of Opera web browser, Opera News and Opera Ads. To properly understand OPay, it is necessary to examine the vision of Opera Group, especially in Africa.
Tidbit: Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund—a Chinese consortium—acquired Opera AS Norway from Opera Software ASA (now Otello) in 2016 for $600 million. The Consortium included Beijing Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360—a leading Chinese internet company that owns a web browser, antivirus, mobile app store and search engine.
Opera ventured into Africa with the launch of its Opera Mini mobile browser in 2006. And as of August 2019, it has the largest market share of mobile browser in Nigeria with 48.29%, and second-largest in Africa.
Opera’s vision for an open, connected world through technology propels it to build products that eliminate the barriers for people to go online. The company boasts of facilitating the process of bringing half of Africa’s internet population online. Out of the 464,923,169 internet users in Africa, Opera says up to 120 million people use its browsers and mobile applications.
In 2017, Opera earmarked $100 million (~ ₦36 billion) to invest in Africa’s internet ecosystem. This has led to the launch of some value-added services, including web and mobile payment (OPay) in Kenya and Nigeria, Opera News standalone app, and Opera Ads.
Opera, in simple terms, is positioning itself to be the internet for the next generation of Africans that will be online, just as Facebook and Google are pivotal platforms to the present generation of digital natives. It is good to note that Opera is managed by Chinese because its interplay fits into the love affair between Africa and China.
What do you think about the Opay, Oride and OTrike app? Share feedback or experiences below.