Duplo, a business-to-business payment platform that makes it easier for African businesses of all sizes to pay each other, has raised $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.
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. 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 can also automate payments to vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers, with instant payments enabling them to transact in larger quantities.
For finance teams, Duplo’s end-to-end 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 seamlessly with all major accounting and ERP platforms such as 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 percent and reduce payment-related costs by up to 85 percent. 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.
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 administrative 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 percent of businesses still have to wait more than 24 hours to receive payments from business customers and partners. 34 percent take up to 7 days to receive payments, 17 percent take up to 30 days and 3 percent take more than 30 days to receive business payments. This presents a significant 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.
According to Yele Oyekola, CEO and co-founder of Duplo, “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”.
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 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.”