Duplo, a business-to-business payment platform that makes it easier for African businesses of all sizes to pay each other, has announced that it has closed a $4.3 million in seed funding to launch new products and expand into new business verticals in Nigeria. The seed funding round included Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund, and Y Combinator. Oui Capital also re-invested after participating in the previous round.
What is the market offering of Duplo?
Since going live in January 2022, Duplo has seen great traction with fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) distributors and finance teams of midsize and enterprise businesses, helping them to digitise the way money moves between them and their business partners. FMCG distributors can onboard retailers in their network on the Duplo platform, making it easier for them to collect payments digitally and access real-time insights into business performance.
They also automate payments to vendors, manufacturers and suppliers, with instant payments enabling them to transact in larger quantities. For finance teams, Duplo’s solution automates the back office processes of generating and processing invoices, receiving and approving bills, collecting and disbursing funds, and completing account reconciliation.
Duplo works with all major accounting and ERP platforms like Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, QuickBooks and Sage, and payments processed through Duplo are automatically synced with these platforms in real-time. With Duplo, businesses can cut time spent on admin tasks such as account reconciliation by up to 50% and reduce payment-related costs by up to 85%.
In the last 3 months, the company has increased the number of businesses on its platform by 1000%. Total Payment Volume has also increased by 4200% in the last 5 months.
What is the payments landscape on the continent?
According to the World Bank, B2B payments in Sub-Saharan Africa represents a $1.5 trillion market. However, the process of making and receiving payment remains largely manual, which makes it expensive and highly inefficient for businesses. Invoices are also not standardised and they are typically issued and received manually, which increases the burden on business owners, taking more time and effort that can be invested into their businesses.
A recent report from Duplo which included the surveyed opinions of more than 1,000 business owners from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt also highlighted that 44% of businesses still have to wait over 24 hours to receive payments from clients and partners.
Additionally, the study found that 34% take up to 7 days to receive payments, 17% take up to 30 days and 3% take over 30 days to receive business payments. This presents a big challenge for businesses who are often unable to maximise sales and growth opportunities available to them due to cash flow restrictions induced by complex payment processes.
What were the executives’ thoughts on the funding?
Yele Oyekola, CEO and co-founder of Duplo, said, “We have seen a lot of innovation in consumer payments in Africa in recent years but B2B payments have 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,” Oyekola said.
Peter Oriaifo, Principal at Oui Capital 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 firm has experienced since our pre-seed investment in 2021 has been nothing short of impressive. It is for this reason that we are excited to back Duplo again.”