OPay – Opera’s Mobile Money Business/ Fintech venture;
OFood – Opera’s on-demand Food Delivery service;
ORide – Opera’s bike-hailing service;
And now this….
From a Mini Mobile Browser to fast becoming a Major Stakeholder in the Digital Community and Startup Sector, there’s no stopping for Opera as it literally lives up to its name of incorporating many parts into its work of developments.
The O’ Factor
Clearly there’s an O Factor in more spaces than we ever thought it would get to and its spreading rapidly throughout too. ORide launched in Lagos in May 2019 which is notorious for its high volumes of traffic gridlocks. Although it was not the first bike hailing app service to have launched, it set out on a different path. Discounts! Promos! Discounts! Promos!
One of its earliest tweets read:
And so, for the month of June, trips cost N100 to any destination within Lagos (for trips not amounting to more than N3000).
This would be one of its many avalanches of ‘awoofs’ to come as the ride-hailing service would continue in this stead for the months of July and August as a strategy to get people hooked. In July, trips cost N200 to any destination within lagos (lesser than N2000).
For August 1st to 11th there was a 40% off discount for trips less than N1000 and still including a promo on your first five trips for just N200 when you sign up.
ORide would pride themselves in their never-ending promos in a response to a twitter user’s concern about the app not available on iOs in June and reiterate that the only time the promos would not be applicable is when payment is not made via the OPay wallet.
So, Why Aba?
The first question on most people’s minds is: Why Aba? And why Tricycles?
Aba has a population of over 2 million people as at (2017) and is known to be a very industrial city and a commercial nerve in the southeast. Home to the largest Market in West Africa – Ariaria International Market nicknamed the “China of Africa”. So, this already seems like a wise business decision.
Moreso, major public modes of commuting include Buses and Keke Napep (Tricycles). Commercial motorcycles are almost non-existent within the metropolis of Aba and as such not a major mode of transportation due to security concerns. A few exceptions where they may be allowed to operate would be some inner roads. A strike for ORide.
Tricycles on the other hand are a really affordable means of getting around in Aba. Rides reportedly go for N50 on an average and you can charter a tricycle for N300 or less.
For instance a popular end-to-end route which is Ogbor Hill to Ngwa Road (distance of 4.2km via Asa Road/East St) which can be roughly be explained as UNILAG to Mushin (distance of 4.8km via Ikorodu Rd) is reported to go for about N50 or N70 if there’s traffic or a surge but doesn’t really fluctuate that much like Lagos.
You can also reportedly get a tricycle ride for N50 from Opobo Rd to Ovom Rd (distance of 6.7km via Opobo Rd); say UNILAG to Surulere. With a stop in between at Emelogu for N20. So, prices aren’t rigid and are very negotiable.
OTrike is saying ANYWHERE for N20!
A model that works?
OPay seems to be working with a practical model that matches existing transport systems and infrastructure. Putting square in square holes. It’s sustainability with these models however raises concern for many as there’s an argument that for startups, focus is necessary to scale before diversifying. In a real sense of things however, OPay seems to be its core focus while the other ventures are set up to drive merchants to mobility. Perhaps, this is also facilitated by its recently raised $50 million in funding. To access these other services, you still have to go through the OPay payment channel. Whether it’s ORide or OFood and presumably now OTrike.
Unlike cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Owerri, Aba is new to app based ride-hailing services, so this is something that hasn’t been done in the industrial city and would be nice to see how this goes!
Reports are that OTrike will also be expanding to Kano and probably 7 or more cities.