Duplo, Nigeria’s B2B payments startup, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. This is coming just seven months after it announced its $1.3 million pre-seed investment. This brings its total raise to $5.6 million.
The funding round saw participation from Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund, Y Combinator, and current investor Oui Capital. The company has indicated that it will use the money to expand into new business sectors in Nigeria as well as introduce new products.
Speaking about the raise, CEO and co-founder of Duplo, Yele Oyekola, said:
“We have seen a lot of innovation in consumer payments in Africa in recent years but business-to-business payments have largely stayed the same. We strongly believe that there is a great opportunity to catalyse growth and maximise business opportunities across the continent by removing the bottlenecks that hinder the seamless flow of money between businesses and we are excited to have raised funding from this exciting group of investors to deliver this much-needed transformation.”
The company’s founders were part of Y Combinator’s cohort in May. Speaking on the potential effects of the waning venture capital flow into the economy, the founders explained that they have successfully built a good team that is solving a significant problem in the ecosystem.
“I think we’re solving a very big problem, in a very big market, and with a very good team. We didn’t find difficulties in raising money, and I think a lot of founders, once you’re solving a very important problem with a good team and some growth, I think investors will still back you regardless of the downturn that is happening globally”, Oyekola said.
Commenting on the raise, the Principal at Oui Capital, Peter Oriaifo, said:
“The Duplo team has built an incredible suite of products that improve how businesses make and receive payments from each other, and 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.”
Launched in September 2021 by Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa, Duplo’s end-to-end system helps businesses to automate their back-office processes. The functions it enables include creating and processing invoices, accepting and approving bills, collecting and disbursing cash, and finishing account reconciliation for finance teams.
It is compatible with every major accounting and ERP platform. These include Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, QuickBooks, and Sage. And, payments processed through Duplo are instantly synchronized with these systems.
Duplo raised a pre-seed investment in February 2022. According to Oyekola, the rapid raises have been inspired by the huge possibilities they had discovered while developing the solution:
“When we raised our pre-seed round, the idea was to build the initial product and understand the market, but the opportunity was endless, and that’s why we went back out to raise a seed round to help us scale faster within Nigeria. For us, it’s just trying to double down on our approach, capture as much market value as possible, and help educate the market.”Yele Oyekola, Duplo’s Co-Founder and CEO
Since going live in January 2022, Duplo has seen great traction with FMCG distributors and finance teams of midsize and enterprise businesses, helping them to digitise and simplify the way money moves between them and their business partners.
Yele Oyekola said:
“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,” he added.
B2B payments in the ecosystem
According to a recent report on the state of B2B payments conducted by Duplo, 41.2% of businesses have to wait up to a day to receive payments, 39.5% wait for a week, 14.8% wait for a month, and 4.4% wait more than a month before receiving their payments, Techpoint reports.
Unsurprisingly, less than three per cent of the respondents did not report any issues with existing payment options for their businesses. These are the issues that Duplo plans to address, and Oyekola shared that the startup intends to make B2B payments as seamless as consumer payments currently are.
Initially beginning with the FMCG sector, Duplo now wants to turn its attention to industries like construction, medical services, pharmaceuticals, and health in the next few months. Long term, the business plans to serve every sector while introducing new services, including buy now, pay later and international remittance.
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