Opay is fast-tracking its plans to venture into the e-commerce market due to the decline in the ride haling business caused by the global pandemic
Opay launched into the Nigerian market in May 2019 with ORide, its motorbike ride-hailing service. Since the entrance of ORide, there has been a significant impact on the transportation sector of the country. The ORide service also allows users to make various bill payments such as electricity bills and airtime purchases. Little wonder the business became popular in just a few months of its arrival.
It did not take so much time for ORide to expand into other states, having had its foot in Lagos since its arrival. Asides expanding, OPay also added new verticals to its services and they include
- OList – for classified ads
- OFood – a food delivery service
- OCar – a ride-hailing business
- OKash – for getting loans
- OWealth – for making investments
- OBus – a bus hailing service
So far, the company has been able to raise two funding rounds. The first was $50 million led by Sequoia China, IDG Capital and Source Code Capital. The second was $120 million which was backed by investors including Softbank Asia, Meituan-Dianping Gaorong and Source code capital.
THE TURN AROUND FOR OPAY
Tables turned for Opay in February 2020 when the Lagos state government placed a ban on bikes in major parts of the state. With Lagos being OPay’s major market, this decision literally crippled the activities of ORide.
Just when the company was adjusting to this new change, the Federal government declared a lockdown in Lagos and a few other states due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. This lockdown has also affected ORide and other ride-hailing businesses like Uber and Bolt. Although the company made plans to pivot ORide into a delivery service, the progress hasn’t been impressive.
It was earlier reported that OPay is seeking partnership with GIG logistics to use about 1000 of its bikes for its new logistics business. Surprisingly, recent reports have it that OPay is selling off its bikes at N180, 000. Could this mean that the company’s logistics deal with GIG is no longer holding?
Other services of OPay such as OFood, OKash and also its sports betting payment have also been affected by the compulsory stay at home.
A breath of relief in all of these is that sources have confirmed ORide is very much active in Ibadan and is fast becoming the city’s favorite.
OPAY VENTURES INTO E-COMMERCE
Opay has introduced a new vertical into its business in the e-commerce sector to deal with the trying times. It is referred to as OMall and just like every other of the services, it can be accessed from the OPay app.
OMall is an online marketplace that allows traders to put up their wares and make sales. The service is similar to the popular e-commerce company, Jumia.
A staff confirmed to Techcrunch that
There is also the OExpress which can be said to be a key factor in the success of OMall, just the way Jumia also has the Jumia logistics. A staff confirmed to Techcrunch that OPay has opened a Facebook page for OExpress.
With this new move by OPay, the e-commerce market is about to experience another major competitor. Apart from OPay, Flutterwave also announced recently that the company was delving into e-commerce. Anyway, looking at the history of the company, one can bet that it will attract people with discounts and other freebies.
THE EFFECT ON THE STAFF OF OPAY
An inside source of the company confirmed again to Techcrunch that Opay initially fired most of its staff. The source further confirmed that the company has been recalling some of its staff and offering them slashed pay.
Also, some of the high-ranking staff of the company have left for other places. Some of these staff are:
Olalere Ridwan was the Senior Director of Operations and his Linkedln profile showed that he left OPay in February.
Moriam Durosinmi Etti left the company for Bulb Africa in January. She initially left Flutterwave for Opay sometime last year.
Chukwudi Enyi was the Senior Marketing Manager at Opay until January 2020. He left for Fairmoney to become the head of its Marketing team.
As it is, the effect of the coronavirus seems to keep eating deep into the heart of every business.
In 2020, only the flexible and tech conscious brand will survive the storm. Let’s home OPay is one of those.