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Duplo Digitizes Payment Flows for African B2B Enterprises, Gets $4.3M in Seed Funding – Technology Flow

Sending and receiving payments in the $1.5 trillion B2B payments market in sub-Saharan Africa is a process where merchants typically use manual invoices and inefficient processes that burden merchants and strain their businesses.

Duplo, a B2B payments startup that solves these problems by enabling African enterprises to collect payments from their clients and partners and make payments to their suppliers and vendors, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. The news comes seven months after Duplo announced its $1.3 million pre-seed investment; In total, the YC-backed startup has received $5.6 million since its launch last September by Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnua.

The Nigerian startup went live this January with FMCG distributors as its first customers. FMCG distributors can onboard retailers in their network on the Duplo platform, collect payments digitally and access real-time insights on business performance. This distributor-retailer channel has been a source of viral growth for the startup, co-founder and CEO Yale Oyekola told Technology Flow on a call. “A distributor can serve over 1,000 retailers and onboard them on Duplo. Those retailers can also be Duplo customers. And then it will be easier for us to digitize how payment is done between retailers and distributors,” he added.

FMCG distributors can track and reconcile payments while automating payments to vendors, manufacturers and suppliers, enabling instant payments for large volumes of transactions.

Meanwhile, Duplo now serves the finance teams of midsize and enterprise businesses without relying heavily on a specific market. For finance teams, the B2B payments startup automates invoice generation and processing, receiving and approving bills, collecting and disbursing funds, and completing account reconciliation. Beyond that, Duplo integrates directly with popular accounting and ERP platforms in Nigerian businesses such as SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, QuickBooks and Sage, so payment through Duplo automatically syncs with these platforms in real-time, saving finance teams time and cost. Errors and fraud.

“When we think about payments on the continent or in Nigeria, for example, there is a lot of focus on merchants who collect payments from customers. And from a B2B perspective, what startups can help them with is just collection and payment. However, there is huge value in helping them track and reconcile payments in real-time, which is where we play an important role. According to Duplo, businesses can reduce time spent on administrative tasks such as account reconciliation by up to 50% and payment-related costs by up to 85%.

While Duplo handles payments for B2B payments in Nigeria, it has recently received requests from its users to facilitate payments to businesses outside the country over the past two months. As a result, the Nigerian startup surveyed 1,000 business owners across Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria to better understand their wait times to receive payments from business customers and partners around the world. About 44% said they had to wait 24 hours; 34% agreed it could take up to a week, while 17% said they had been waiting a month and 3% said 30 days was the minimum wait time.

Duplo which currently facilitates payments from merchants in Nigeria to other regions such as US, UK and Europe; Oyekola said the settlement time would be 24 to 48 hours. The company claims that such product upgrades have seen Duplo increase the number of businesses on its platform by 1,000% in the last three months, and total payment volume (TPV) processed by 4,200% in the last five months.

There is room for further growth, Oyekola stressed. While Duplo has a strong accounts receivable department that allows businesses to collect money through cash invoices and virtual accounts, it needs to improve account deliverables where businesses can schedule payments, set invoices, and generally improve the platform for different use cases.

“We are also trying to expand into new verticals,” the chief executive noted. “Initially, we started with the FMCG industry; Now we have seen interest in the construction industry, telecoms and these core mid-sized business businesses and have laid the foundation to scale across the continent hopefully in the next nine to 12 months.

The seed funding raised to help the company launch new products and expand into new business verticals in Nigeria includes participation from investors such as Liquid 2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund and Y Combinator and existing investor Oui Capital. .

“The Duplo team has built an incredible suite of products that improve the way businesses pay and receive each other,” said Peter Oriafo, Principal at Oui Capital. The company’s growth since our initial pre-seed investment in 2021 has been nothing short of impressive. It is for this reason that we are delighted to once again support Duplo.

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