The process of sending and receiving payments in a $1.5 trillion B2B payments market in sub-Saharan Africa is one where merchants often use manual invoices and inefficient processes that burden merchants and make them struggle with their business.
duplicate, a B2B payments startup that solves these problems by enabling African companies to collect payments from their customers and partners and make payments to their suppliers and suppliers, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. The news comes just seven months after Duplo announced its $1.3 million pre-seed investment; in total, the YC-backed startup has since received $5.6 million Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa launched it last September.
The Nigerian startup went live in 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 into business performance. Co-founder and CEO Yele Oyekola told gotechbusiness.com on an appeal that this distributor-retailer channel has been a source of viral growth for the startup. “One distributor can serve more than 1,000 retailers and bring them on board on Duplo. Those retailers can also become Duplo customers. And then it will be easier for us to digitize how payments are made between retailers and distributors,” he added.
FMCG distributors can also track and reconcile payments, while automating payments to suppliers, manufacturers and suppliers, with instant payments allowing them to trade in larger quantities.
Meanwhile, Duplo now serves finance teams of medium and large companies in order not to be too dependent on a particular market. For finance teams, the B2B payments startup automates invoice generation and processing, receiving and approving invoices, collecting and disbursing funds, and completing account reconciliation. In addition, Duplo integrates directly with accounting and ERP platforms popular with Nigerian companies, such as SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, QuickBooks and Sage, so that the payment made through Duplo is automatically synchronized with these platforms in real time, saving the finance teams time and money. save costs and errors and fraud.
“When we think of payments in the continent or even Nigeria, for example, there is a lot of focus on merchants collecting payments from customers. And from the B2B angle, where startups help them with, is only collection and payout. Still, helping them track and reconcile payments in real time is hugely valuable, and we play an important role in that.” According to Duplo, companies can reduce the time spent on administrative tasks, such as reconciling accounts, by up to 50% and reduce payment-related costs by up to 85%.
While Duplo handles payments for B2B payments within Nigeria, in recent months it has received requests from some of its customers to facilitate payments to companies abroad. As a result, the Nigerian startup interrogated 1,000 business owners in Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria to better understand their wait times to receive payments from corporate customers and partners worldwide. About 44% said they had to wait more than 24 hours; 34% acknowledged it takes up to a week, while 17% said to wait a month and 3% cited 30 days as the minimum wait.
Duplo said it currently facilitates payments from merchants in Nigeria to other regions such as the US, UK and Europe; Oyekola said the settlement time ranges from 24 to 48 hours. Due to such product upgrades, Duplo has increased the number of businesses on its platform by 1,000% in the past three months, while the total payment volume (TPV) processed in the past five months has grown by 4,200%, the company claims.
There is room for more growth, emphasizes Oyekola. While Duplo has a robust accounts receivable arm that allows businesses to collect money through cash invoices and virtual accounts, it should improve account outcomes where businesses can schedule payments, set up invoices, and generally improve the platform for various usage scenarios.
“We are also trying to expand into new industries,” noted the CEO. “Initially we started with the FMCG industry; now we have seen interest in the construction industry, telecom and these large mid-sized companies, and have laid the groundwork to hopefully scale across the continent 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, included participation from investors such as Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund and Y Combinator and existing investor Oui Capital.
“The Duplo team has built an incredible line of products that improve the way businesses make and receive payments from each other,” said Peter Oriaifo, president of Oui Capital. The growth the company has experienced since our first pre-seed investment in 2021 is nothing short of impressive. It is for this reason that we are delighted to support Duplo again.”