Opay Business and Penetration Model

Opay Business and Penetration Model


In 2018, OPay embarked on its journey as a payment platform in Nigeria under the support of Opera Mini, the country’s second-largest search engine. Since its inception, it has played a pivotal role in ushering in a new era of financial inclusion in Nigeria. Thereby, solidifying its position as the preferred choice for both individuals and businesses over the course of its remarkable five-year journey.

In light of the Nigerian landscape filled with potential expansion opportunities and a few ventures that didn’t reach fruition, the OPay team has demonstrated unwavering determination, consistently propelling forward as a formidable African Fintech destined for greatness.

In this article, we will explore 

  • How Opay achieved this Innovative best; and 
  • How you can imitate a few of their tactics for your own business.

At the end of this, you should have a grasp on the intricacies of OPay’s business and penetration model, shedding light on its pioneering contributions to financial solutions.

What is Opay?

Opay is a fintech company that offers innovative financial services to users, enabling them to perform various transactions and manage their finances using digital platforms.

Established in 2018, Opay is renowned for its comprehensive mobile platform, catering to payments, transfers, loans, savings, and other essential financial services.

The Opay Timelines


  – August: Opera, the developer of the popular Opera browser, launches OPay as a mobile payment platform in Lagos, Nigeria.

  – OPay begins as a payment platform aimed at Africa, focusing on offering convenient digital financial services to the Nigerian population.

  – The platform’s services initially include mobile money transfers, bill payments, and more, catering to users’ financial needs.


  – July: OPay completes a funding round, raising $50 million. Investors include Opera (web browser), Bertelsmann Asia Investment, GSR Ventures, and others.

  – November: OPay secures $120 million in a Series B funding round. Investors include Source Code Capital, IDG Capital Partners, Gaorong Capital, Redpoint China Ventures, Meituan-Dianping, and more.


  – Expansion and Refocus:

    – OPay expands its operations beyond Nigeria, launching its services in Egypt to establish a foothold in the Middle East market.

    – The company initially offers additional services such as bike-hailing (ORide), bus-booking (OBus), and food delivery (OFood) in Nigeria. However, it gradually shifted its focus towards digital payments.


  – August: OPay raises $400 million in a Series C funding round. Investors include Sequoia Capital China, SoftBank Ventures Asia, SoftBank Vision Fund, Longzhu Capital, and more.

  – The company’s suite of services continues to evolve, with a strong emphasis on digital payments, transfers, and seamless financial solutions.


  – May: OPay forms a strategic partnership with Mastercard, extending its reach to consumers and merchants in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, and the UAE.

  – The partnership aims to boost financial inclusion and enable easy engagement with global brands and businesses through a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the OPay eWallet.


    – OPay celebrates its 5th year anniversary in the Nigerian market.

    – The company unveils a new logo featuring a simple letter “O” completed by a small square, symbolizing its commitment to providing exceptional services and staying ahead in the evolving financial landscape.

Opay’s Offerings 

Opay serves as a versatile mobile application that empowers individuals to perform a wide range of financial activities, including:

Cashless Transactions: Opay enables users to make cashless transactions, eliminating the need for physical currency.

Mobile Money Transfers: Users can send and receive money from different banks using Opay’s mobile-based platform.

Loans and Savings: Opay offers financial services such as loans and savings, allowing users to access funds and save for the future.

Debit Card Services: Opay provides a debit card that users can acquire from Opay agent stores, which can be used for transactions at various sites, point-of-sale terminals, and ATMs.

Bill Payments: Users can use Opay to pay for bills such as electricity and cable subscriptions.

Core Features of Opay App:

The Opay mobile application offers a plethora of services, making it a one-stop shop for various financial needs. Users can perform tasks such as:

Mobile Recharge: Purchase airtime for mobile phones and data plans.

Pay TV Subscription: Subscribe to satellite and terrestrial Pay-TV services.

Electricity Bill Payment: Pay electricity bills for supported distribution companies.

Food Delivery: Order food from local restaurants.

Money Transfer: Transfer money to other Opay users or Nigerian bank accounts.

QR Payments: Make payments using QR codes at physical stores.

Quick Loans: Access short-term loans using the OKash service.

Investment: Invest through OWealth at a 10% annual rate.

Betting Account Funding: Fund betting accounts for supported services.

Understanding Opay’s Penetration Model 

Opay’s success comes down to practical and bold sales strategies.

According to OPay’s Country Manager, (Iniabasi Akpan), the company avoided getting stuck in overthinking and instead focused on practical actions and assertive sales techniques. They made sure to simplify their approach, concentrate on growth, and build strong partnerships. This led them to create a network of agents who played a vital role.

In a place like Nigeria, where ATMs can be hard to find, their agent-based system was crucial. All these efforts paid off, and by December 2018, they had earned a remarkable $30 million.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how they did it:

1. The Key Growth Metric

For OPay, the turning point arrived when the team evaluated the contributions of each channel to their pivotal transaction counts—their ultimate growth metric. 

This pivotal insight manifested through their agency business, OPoS, which emerged as the prime contributor in revenue, generating nearly $30M. With unwavering clarity regarding their goal—augmenting transaction counts—their strategy materialized.

According to Mr Akpan, they leveraged the power of Facebook and Google paid campaigns alongside a robust offline sales force. This enabled them to scale up their agent network, paving the way for remarkable growth.

2. The Market Strategy

Success often starts with choosing the right market to focus on first. It’s found that early users who love a product can help spread the word about it. OPay understood this well and started by focusing on the ORide ride-hailing service. This became the starting point for their bigger plan to create a super app for consumers.

OPay did this by using motorcycles (Okada) to connect people and make their services spread quickly. With the success they found in Lgaos, they decided to branch out to Ibadan, which later became their most successful location for ORides.

“Life isn’t only about Lagos,” Mr. Akpan emphasized, highlighting the importance of reaching beyond the city to truly make an impact. He stressed that for Financial Technologies to achieve comprehensive growth, they must venture into the heart of the country where these technologies are most necessary.

3. Innovative Expansion Tactics

OPay loves to experiment and try out new things. They expanded their marketing by introducing many new products alongside their main mobile money service. This smart approach, explained by Prof. Nduibisi Ekekwe, allowed OPay to strengthen its main business while also exploring other areas—an important move that helped it succeed.

OPay also followed a similar idea to Facebook’s “move fast and break things.” This approach focuses on growing quickly, learning from mistakes, and expanding faster. OPay’s similar approach shows their commitment to focusing on services that people use a lot, as mentioned by their CFO Frode Jacobsen.

In addition, OPay became a leader in the market by carefully expanding to new areas and learning from successful companies like Jumia and MTN.

Opay vs. Industry Benchmarks: What you can learn?

Opay’s penetration model was centered around the idea that if you want to expand, you need to find a clear direction. It emphasized using the knowledge and resources available to build a straightforward strategy rather than a complex long-term plan. The key was to concentrate on short-term goals for scaling while being pragmatic and open to taking calculated risks. 

The model involved putting the plan into action, allocating necessary resources, monitoring the progress, and consistently making adjustments to keep moving forward. If you’d like to take your business to the next level, stay informed about the latest fintech innovations and Opay’s continued journey by subscribing to our newsletter. Join us in reshaping Nigeria’s financial landscape.

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