Duplo co-founders Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa
Nigeria’s Duplo, a B2B payments startup digitilizing payment flows for businesses in Africa has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. The latest funding follows seven months after the startup secured pre-seed funding of $1.3 million, bringing the total funding raised by the B2B payments startup to $5.6 million. The seed funding round saw the participation of investors like Oui Capital, Y Combinator, Basecamp Fund, Commerce Ventures, Tribe Capital, Soma Capital, and Liquid2 Ventures.
Duplo is a startup providing African merchants and businesses with solutions to business challenges such as the inefficiencies associated with the manual mode of operation, by enabling these merchants and businesses to collect payments from their clients/customers and partners, while being able to make seamless payments to their suppliers and vendors.
The startup was founded in September 2021 by Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa. The latest investment the startup received will be used to launch new products and expand new business verticals in Nigeria. After its launch, Duplo went live with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) distributors as its first set of customers in January. These distributors can onboard retailers in their network onto Duplo’s platform, and collect payments digitally while being able to access real-time insights into business performance. This has been an important source of growth for the startup, according to CEO Yele Oyekola. “One distributor can cater to over 1,000 retailers and onboard them on Duplo. Those retailers can become Duplo customers as well. And then it becomes easier for us to digitize how payment moves between retailers and distributors,” he explained.
Duplo can also be used by these FMCG distributors to track and reconcile payments, automate payments to vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers, and complete large quantities of transactions.
Apart from FMCG distributors which it started with, Duplo also serves the finance teams of small and large enterprise businesses. For this category, the startup automates invoice generation and processing, receiving and approving bills, collecting and disbursing funds, and completing account reconciliation. Duplo can also be integrated directly into accounting and ERP platforms that Nigerian businesses are familiar with. This way, payments through the startup automatically sync with these platforms while saving these finance teams costs as well as errors associated with manual processing.
According to Duplo, “When we think of payments in the continent or even Nigeria, for example, there’s a lot of focus on merchants collecting payments from the customers. And from the B2B angle, what startups help them with, is just collection and payout. Still, there’s a massive value in assisting them in tracking and reconciling payments in real-time, which is where we play a significant role.” The startup maintains that businesses can reduce the time spent on completing administrative tasks by at least 50 percent and costs by up to 85 percent.
Although it is Nigerian-based, Duplo recently completed a survey of 1,000 businesses across Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, in response to calls for the facilitation of payments to businesses existing outside of Nigeria. The survey was embarked upon to determine the time for receiving payments from business customers and partners globally. Duplo currently facilitates payments from merchants in Nigeria to areas like Europe, the UK, and the US, and settlement time takes between 24 and 48 hours to be completed.
Duplo says the number of businesses on its platform increased by 1,000 percent over the last three months while total payment volume processed in the last five months soared by 4,200 percent.
“We’re also trying to expand into new verticals. Initially, we started with the FMCG industry; now we’ve seen interest in the construction industry, telecoms, and these major mid-sized enterprise businesses, and set up the foundation to scale across the continent hopefully in the next nine to 12 months,” the startup’s CEO said while speaking about the company’s future.
“The Duplo team has built an incredible suite of products that improve how businesses make and receive payments from each other. The growth that the company has experienced since our initial pre-seed investment in 2021 has been nothing short of impressive. It is for this reason that we are excited to back Duplo once more,” Peter Oriaifo, principal at Oui Capital said.