Duplo, a fintech based in Lagos, is seeking to address inefficiencies in the FMCG industry by automating payment processes for B2B businesses, beginning with those in the industry.
Yele Oyekola, a former product lead at Carbon, founded Duplo as a result of his work as an economic policy officer for the United Nations in Africa, where he saw firsthand how individuals and businesses were overly dependant on currency while travelling several nations.
In an interview with TechCrunch, the chief executive officer remarked, “We’re aiming to make cash obsolete in Africa, where a lot of businesses in the distribution area extensively trade in cash for obvious reasons.”
“As a result, we’re concentrating our efforts on distributors, merchants, and aggregators to eliminate the use of cash in this value chain because we all know how expensive cash is and how difficult it is to move with concerns like theft and fraud.”
Distributors can use Duplo to build individual virtual accounts for retailers and agents to make real-time payments or bank transfers, and the platform will automatically reconcile their books.
However, in the FMCG market, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
Because bank transfers are costly for certain businesses and agents, they prefer to do transactions using mobile money agencies.
Duplo is unconcerned about this because shops can still use mobile money agents to make transactions to these identical virtual accounts; reconciliation is then performed.
Every transaction carried out on Duplo’s platform is subject to a 1% fee. Businesses also pay between $100 ($0.20) and $1,000 ($2.00) to open virtual accounts, depending on their size.
There is a no-code solution for B2B enterprises to maximize trade with their business clients, vendors, and suppliers, in addition to products that enable B2B companies to automate their payment flows. The platform also provides a dashboard to attribute payment flows to a certain customer, store, or region, as well as the ability to issue or pay invoices, offer credit to their business customers, and extend credit to their business customers.
“We assist organizations automate, embed, and launch payment products,” says the company. In other words, inflows and outflows, automatic reconciliations for firms, and payments embedded in markets. Then there are companies that want to provide BNPL services to smaller companies,” said Oyekola, who co-founded Duplo with Tunde Akinnuwa in September 2021.
Customers reported cost savings of more than 12% during the three-month pilot phase, according to the firm, which debuted it three months ago.
Duplo has also increased by 60% month over month to service over 20 enterprise companies.
Currently, it has processed more than $380,000; however, according to the CEO, Duplo intends to reach $40 million in annualized TPV by the end of Q2.
Duplo was accepted into Y Combinator in November and is currently a part of the accelerator’s current winter batch.
To accelerate its expansion, the YC-backed startup has raised a $1.3 million pre-seed round led by Oui Capital, an early-stage pan-African venture capital firm.
MyAsia VC, Y Combinator, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, and Mono CEO Abdul Hassan were among the local and foreign investors who took part.
“As a business, there’s just a ton of potential opportunity that we can get into very quickly,” Oyekola said.
“And, while we’re focusing on the retail market for the next three months, we’re also talking to firms in other industries about how our APIs can help them automate their entire payment process.”