Nigerian FinTech startup, Duplo secures $4.3 million seed fund

Investors in the round include Liquid2 Ventures, Oui Capital, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Basecamp Fund, Commerce Ventures, and Y Combinator.

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Duplo, a B2B payments business in Nigeria, announced on Wednesday to have secured $4.3 million in venture investment. This comes only seven months after the company announced a $1.3 million pre-seed investment. This takes the total amount raised to $5.6 million.

The round included participation from Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund, and Y Combinator, existing investor Oui Capital also participated.

Nearly four months ago, Y Combinator notified the entrepreneurs in its network of the potential effects of the global venture funding slowdown. The accelerator has previously warned that investors were likely to reduce their investment activity.

While this has been true in other areas of the globe, African startups have not suffered the same effect as the rest of the world, apparently raising money at will.

Duplo’s co-founder and CEO, Yele Oyekola, claimed that having a good team solving a big problem meant they could raise capital more easily.

“I think we’re solving a very big problem, in a very big market, and with a very good team. We didn’t find difficulties in raising money, and I think a lot of founders, once you’re solving a very important problem with a good team and some growth, I think investors will still back you regardless of the downturn that is happening globally.”

According to the FinTech startup, a $1.3 million pre-seed investment was raised in February, making the total funds raised to be $5.6 million.

Speaking on the funding round in a statement, Yele Oyekola, said: “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 catalyze growth and maximize 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.

“We’re also trying to expand into new verticals. Initially, we started with the FMCG industry; now we’ve seen interest in the construction industry, telecoms, and these major mid-sized enterprise businesses, and set up the foundation to scale across the continent hopefully in the next nine to 12 months,

He added;

“When we raised our pre-seed round, the idea was to build the initial product and understand the market, but the opportunity was endless, and that’s why we went back out to raise a seed round to help us scale faster within Nigeria. For us, it’s just trying to double down on our approach, capture as much market value as possible, and help educate the market.”

Duplo is a Lagos-based fintech startup that enables businesses in Africa to digitize their receivables and payables, reduce time-to-cash, lower transaction costs, and generate more revenue from their business customers.

Duplo has made it their mission to make B2B payments as simple as P2P payment apps as they are backed by top investors, including Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Basecamp Fund, Soma Capital, YCombintaor, Oui Capital, and others.

Duplo has gained popularity with FMCG distributors and finance teams of midsize and enterprise organizations since its launch in January 2022, assisting them in digitizing and streamlining the way money travels between them and their business partners.

Oyekola previously worked as a product lead at Carbon, another Nigerian finance startup, where he oversaw the development of the company’s purchase now, pay later product. He has previously worked for the United Nations as an economic policy officer.

Despite his background in finance, he credits his inspiration for founding Duplo to his grandmother, who was a Nestlé distributor.

His Grandmother was said to have struggled with the company’s finances owing to the lack of a solid payment option.

According to a recent Duplo analysis which included surveyed opinions of more than 1,000 business owners from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt on the situation of B2B payments, 41.2% of firms must wait up to a day to receive payments, 39.5% must wait a week, 14.8% must wait a month, and 4.4% must wait more than a month before they can receive their payments.

Surprisingly, fewer than 3% of respondents reported no problems with current payment alternatives for their firms. These are the obstacles that Duplo hopes to overcome, and Oyekola said that the startup’s goal is to make B2B payments as smooth as consumer payments are now.

Apart from the FMCG sector, Duplo plans to focus on areas such as construction, medical services, pharmaceuticals, and health. Long term, the company intends to serve every industry while offering new services such as purchase now, pay later, and overseas remittance.

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