Duplo, a Nigeria B2B payment digitization startup, has raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding, and announced it will take part in accelerator Y Combinator’s winter batch, according to published reports.
Founded last year by Tunde Akinnuwa and Yele Oyekola, Duplo lets B2B companies automate their payment flows, generate or pay invoices and offer credit to their business customers. The platform also incudes a dashboard clients can use to attribute payment flows to certain customers, locations or retailers.
“We are trying to make cash obsolete in Africa where lots of businesses in the distribution space heavily transact in cash for obvious reasons,” Oyekola, the company’s chief executive officer, told TechCrunch recently.
“So, we’re 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,” he said.
Duplo says it plans to use the funding to improve its product while also upgrading its tech to build out sales capacity before venturing into other business sectors. Already active in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) retail, Duplo says it also wants to expand into travel, agriculture, beverages and B2B marketplaces.
“The way we see our value prop is we help businesses automate, embed and launch payment products,” Oyekola said. “So 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.”
Duplo’s drive to make cash “obsolete” comes at a time when paper money is still extremely popular in Africa’s most populous country. As PYMNTS reported last year, circulation of the country’s currency hit record numbers even as officials advocated for cashless transactions.
The amount of naira notes and coins circulating rose 4.6% to 3 trillion naira ($7.3 billion) in October of 2021 compared to September, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed. That same month, the country launched the eNaira, its digital currency.