Nigerian startup Duplo, which works to digitise payment flows for B2B companies, has raised a US$1.3 million pre-seed round as it also confirms its participation in the W22 batch of the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator accelerator.
Founded by Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa in September 2021, Duplo allows B2B companies to automate payment inflows, reconcile at scale, and create a streamlined experience for business customers.
Businesses are able to perform all their payment operation needs on Duplo and also offer financial services to their customers, with the startup describing itself as a “financial operating system for B2B companies”.
The US$1.3 million pre-seed round was led by early-stage pan-African VC firm Oui Capital, and also features the likes of MyAsia VC, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, and Mono CEO Abdul Hassan. Y Combinator is also an investor after Duplo was confirmed as a participant in its latest programme, alongside a host of other African startups.
Duplo will use the funding to improve its product, develop its tech and build out its sales capacity, as well as move into other sectors. Active for now in the FMCG retail space, the startup is also targeting the travel, agriculture, B2B marketplaces, and alcohol and beverage spaces.
“We are trying to make cash obsolete in Africa where lots of businesses in the distribution space heavily transact in cash for obvious reasons. We are focused on distributors, merchants and aggregators to stop the use of cash in this value chain because everyone knows how expensive cash is and how difficult it is to move with issues around theft and fraud,” Oyekola said.
“Our value proposition is we help businesses automate, embed and launch payment products. Basically, inflows or outflows, automatic reconciliations for businesses and embedding payments into marketplaces. And then we also have businesses that want to provide BNPL services to smaller businesses.”
Peter Oriaifo, principal at Oui Capital, said he was excited to support the Duplo team as it worked to build a scalable B2B payments platform for the African market.
“We believe that with the proliferation of commerce in Africa, there’s an emerging need for solutions such as Duplo’s that help abstract away complexities around payments,” he said.