Nigerian payments company, Opay, has been announced as one of the top 250 fintechs in the world, making it the only fintech company from Africa to make that hallowed Top 250 list. The SoftBank-backed fintech company which only recently confirmed its unicorn status following a $400m raise made the list for the second consecutive year, listed in the Payments Processing and Network subsector.
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According to CB Insights, the 250 companies were selected from a pool of over 17,000 companies around the globe. While some of these companies applied for themselves, others were nominated.
The 2021 Fintech 250 cohort has raised approximately $73.8 billion in aggregate funding across nearly 1,200 deals since 2016. This includes startups at different investment stages of development, from early-stage companies to well-funded unicorns.
Previous year, Africa had three startups in the list; Nigeria’s Opay and Palmpay, and South Africa’s Yoco. Meanwhile, 118 of the 250 companies selected (47%) are unicorns, all valued at $1 billion or above as of their latest funding round.
The fintechs were chosen based on several factors like data submitted by the companies, company business models and momentum in the market, and Mosaic scores, a CB Insights proprietary algorithm that measures the overall health and growth potential of private companies.
In 2019, Opay, which has currently raised a total of $570 million in funding, launched its Nigerian operations in the country’s commercial capital, Lagos. From there it quickly spread its services to other parts of the country with a determination to eventually become a SuperApp.
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But competing in the Nigerian market hasn’t been easy as the company which developed a strategy of playing in different markets to drive adoption of its fintech solution, suddenly found itself struggling to keep up.
The fintech has since risen above these challenges to position itself as one of the leading fintech solutions in Africa and indeed, the world. In December 2019, it launched a USSD service for mobile transactions to allow users bank without data, thus becoming a frontrunner in the race to bank the unbanked.
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