Nigerian B2B payment startup, Duplo, closes a $4.3 million seed round

August 31, 2022
3 min read
Yele Oyekola, Duplo CEO and Tunde Akinnuwa, Duplo CPO.

The news

  • Nigerian fintech startup, Duplo, has announced the close of its $4.3 million seed round.
  • The announcement comes barely six months after it closed a $1.3 million pre-seed.
  • Investors in the round include Liquid2 Ventures, Oui Capital, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Basecamp Fund, Commerce Ventures, and Y Combinator.

In May 2022, Y Combinator reached out to the founders in its network to warn them of the possible consequences of the global venture capital slowdown. The accelerator had warned that investors were likely to slow down their investment activities. 

While that has held true in most parts of the world, African startups have not felt the impact as much as the rest of the world, continuing to raise money seemingly at will.

One such startup is Nigerian founded, Duplo which is announcing the close of its seed round with participation from the likes of Y Combinator, Commerce Ventures, Soma Capital, Basecamp Fund, Tribe Capital, Liquid2 Ventures, and existing investor Oui Capital.

According to Yele Oyekola, the startup’s Co-Founder and CEO, 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.”

Interestingly, the startup, which Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa founded, also raised a pre-seed round in February 2022, following its launch in 2021. Oyekola shared that the motivation for raising these rounds so close together was the massive opportunity they had discovered while building the product.

“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.”

Before Duplo, Oyekola was a product lead at Carbon, another Nigerian fintech startup, where he led the development of the company’s buy now, pay later product. He also previously worked as an economic policy officer for the United Nations.

Although his experience has mainly been in the financial industry, he attributes his motivation for starting Duplo to watching his grandmother — a distributor for FMCG company Nestlé — struggle with the business’ finances due to the absence of a reliable payment method. 

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According to a recent report on the state of B2B payments conducted by Duplo, 41.2% of businesses have to wait up to a day to receive payments, 39.5% wait for a week, 14.8% wait for a month, and 4.4% wait more than a month before receiving their payments.

Unsurprisingly, less than three per cent of the respondents did not report any issues with existing payment options for their businesses. These are the issues that Duplo plans to address, and Oyekola shared that the startup intends to make B2B payments as seamless as consumer payments currently are.

Initially beginning with the FMCG sector, Duplo now wants to turn its attention to industries like construction, medical services, pharmaceuticals, and health in the next few months. Long term, the business plans to serve every sector while introducing new services, including buy now, pay later and international remittance.

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Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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