With the entrance of ORide, the budding motorcycle-hailing market in Lagos got intense but it appears the current players in the ride-hailing are not the only target for the company the popular Opera web browser makers — Opera Software AS.
About two months ago, Opera entered the bike e-hailing market in Lagos with another approach. Unlike the other players in the e-hailing market that allow riders to hail a ride with or without a mobile app, you need the OPay app — Opera’s payment platform– to book a ride on ORide.
“ORide, product from OPay & Opera…”
The above is the opening phrase of OPay on Play Store.
From the surface, Opera is coming for the likes of MAX Okada and Gokada. The endgame for Opera is obviously payment and not e-hailing as it seems.
Ride-hailing is one of the features on the OPay mobile app. It just seems like the right product to launch the payment platform for brand visibility. Even the sign on ORide riders’ helmet is OPay’s logo and not that of ORide.
From the OPay app, one can initiative transactions like fund transfer (to a bank account and telephone), pay for utility bills and mobile airtime recharge. Also, you can place bets on one of the major sport betting platforms in Nigeria from within the payment app.
Beyond the above, OFood is one of the prominent features of the app which allows you to order food from restaurants in Lagos. It’s obvious that OPay’s endgame is to become an online payment platform that allows almost every form of payment.
Opera is allowing people to make money on OPay as agents. The agents get commissions on transactions from users. Even if one isn’t using ORide, this doesn’t stop you from getting the OPay app to cater to handle your food order, game betting or financial services.
It’s not clear at the moment whether the payment platform will be allowing merchants to accept payment with the app soon. But as it is, the major market is payment and its competitors are Paga, Kudi among others and not majorly the likes of Gokada.
Asides from the competition in the mobile payment market, OPay’s entrance is likely to increase the number of people that will be having access to financial services in the country.
Interestingly, Opera had first launched OPay in Kenya about two years ago as a web payment platform that runs directly on the Opera Mini browser.
Incentives for customer acquisition
In June, Opera pegged all rides on ORide within Lagos at ₦100. Riders are presently paying ₦200 for rides less than ₦2000.
This proves that Opera has the proverbial war chest to take on the market. In 2018, the company raised a $60 million private funding. This was before raising over a hundred million dollars through an initial public offering.
There are questions about the sustainability of Opera’s use of incentives to acquire customers but it appears Opera has a deep pocket to keep it running for a while.
Nigerian startups raised $17.6m in Q1 2019, 8.5% higher than they did in Q1 2018. Find out more in the latest quarterly edition of the Nigerian Startup Funding Report here.