Modernizing B2B Payments in Africa: Why we invested in Duplo
Small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critically important to the global economy. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, an estimated 44 million SMEs, most of which are micro in size provide an estimated 80% of jobs in the region, and are responsible for approximately 40% of the region’s GDP — that’s over $680 billion as of 2020. A heavy reliance on cash however, has curtailed SMEs’ growth — given how difficult cash is to move, the accompanying issues around fraud and theft, and the lack of data with which to access financing.
Duplo helps solve this problem, by working with SMEs to provide them with flexible payment terms, transaction automation, account reconciliation, and instant payments; allowing SMEs to focus on growing their core businesses. This comes at a time when B2B marketplaces are growing considerably across the continent, and accordingly, so too have the complexities around their payments operations through out the supply chain — where they may have once built out a dedicated payments operations function, businesses are choosing to integrate Duplo.
This is why we are excited to be backing Duplo’s incredibly talented team, led by co-founders Yele Oyekola (CEO) , Tunde Akinnuwa (COO), and Emeka Okuwagwu (CTO). Yele has a wealth of experience in both product and lending, having served as lead product manager at Carbon where he helped build and scale their buy-now-pay-later product, Zero. Tunde brings in-depth knowledge of payments facilitation, marketplaces, and lending from his time as head of consumer financial services at JumiaPay Nigeria. Emeka has over ten years of experience building scalable enterprise-level payments infrastructure, having held the role of engineering manager at ARCA Payments Company Ltd. immediately prior to founding Duplo. We believe this is the right team to drive the modernization of B2B payments in Africa. Oui Capital is pleased to lead Duplo’s pre-seed round with participation from MyAsiaVC, as well as local and international angel investors. Duplo is hiring! Check out their open roles here.