The recent state of business-to-business (B2B) payments in Africa report that sampled the opinions of 1,000 business owners from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt revealed that 44% of business still still have to wait more than 24 hours to receive payments from business customers and partners.
According to the report which was compiled by Duplo, 34% of African businesses take up to seven days to receive payments, another 17% take up to 30 days and 3% 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.
To tackle these challenges, Duplo, a B2B payment platform that enables 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.
Earlier in February, the Nigerian fintech, Duplo raised $1.3 million pre-seed fund to digitise payment flows for B2B companies. The round was led by early-stage pan-African VC firm Oui Capital. With this latest funding, Duplo has raised a total of $5.6 million since its launch.
The latest funding had the particpation of several investors including Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, Tribe Capital, Commerce Ventures, Basecamp Fund, and Y Combinator. Oui Capital also re-invested after participating in the previous round.
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."
Launched 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.
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."
Duplo was among the 13 African companies that participated in the Y Combinator Winter 2022 batch.