Duplo, a Lagos-based fintech backed by Y Combinator, has raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding to address inefficiencies in the movement of goods from manufacturers and suppliers to retailers, typically involving the collection of cash via a network of agents.
The startup, founded in September last year by Yele Oyekola and Tunde Akinnuwa, aims to achieve this by digitizing payment flows for B2B companies in order to reduce fraud in manual reconciliation processes on the distributors’ end, beginning with those in the industry.
The pre-seed round was led by early-stage pan-African venture capital firm Oui Capital, with participation from local and international investors including MyAsia VC, Y Combinator, Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, and Mono CEO, Abdul Hassan.
Duplo is expected to spend the majority of this investment on improving its product, technology, and sales, as well as expanding into sectors other than FMCG retail, such as travel, farming, B2B marketplaces, and alcohol and beverages.
Duplo was accepted into Y Combinator and is currently a part of the accelerator’s winter batch.
As an economic policy officer for the UN in Africa, Yele Oyekola, the startup’s Chief Executive Officer, has seen how people and businesses rely heavily on cash.
“We are attempting to render cash obsolete in Africa, where many businesses in the distribution space rely heavily on cash for obvious reasons.” We are focusing on distributors, merchants, and aggregators to eliminate the use of cash in this value chain because everyone knows how expensive cash is and how difficult it is to deal with theft and fraud issues.”
“Our value proposition is that we help businesses automate, embed, and launch payment products,” he added. Basically, inflows and outflows, automatic reconciliations for businesses, and payment embedding payments into marketplace.