Chekkit, today, announces the close of their first institutional investment, a $500,000 pre-seed round with participation from Launch Africa, Japan Strategic capital, Blockchain Founders Fund, and two syndicate groups of angel investors participated in the round. A grant from Orange Corners program completed the round.
Founded in 2018, Chekkit Technologies is a Nigeria-based software company providing product authentication and distribution tracking solutions to FMCGs and Pharmaceuticals. Their solution helps to prevent consumers from buying or using counterfeit products.
Counterfeit products are "often very similar, or even fairly identical to the originals, with almost certainly lower quality but much cheaper, which makes them very understandably more attractive for consumers that have no means to purchase the real deal – the first generation goods". As expected in the poverty capital of the world, Nigeria, there is an alarming rate of counterfeit products, especially pharmaceuticals. A post by Trademark and Patent Attorney at Inventa, Inês Tavares says "World Health Association reported that 70% of all drugs present in Nigeria were second generation goods."
Over the past few years, Chekkit has helped protect consumers and producers in both Nigeria and Afghanistan from the dangers of counterfeit products by providing the consumers with a means to identify original products. In doing that, they have secured over 7 million pharmaceutical products, protected over 200,000 consumers, and expanded their partnership with the Afghan government for the verification and tracking of over 200 million products in the Middle-Eastern country. They achieved all this working with pharmaceutical companies like Merck, Royal Star Pharma, and Nabros Pharmaceutical.
They have also worked with consumer goods brands like Indomie, Nivea, and Flourmills of Nigeria Plc helping them get closer to their consumers by using Chekkit's point-of-sale consumer engagement solution. According to Chekkit, these brands have been able to optimize their promotions, loyalty programs, and also collect valuable insights directly from their consumers using smart intuitive surveys.
In terms of working with the government and non-profit organisations, they deployed a COVID-19 engagement solution in partnership with the African Union and the AfricaCDC, and we are constantly working with regulatory and standardisation bodies like NAFDAC, GS1, and the FCCPC to ensure that the products used are safe and of the best standards for consumption.
Speaking on why they chose Chekkit as a viable investment, Biola Alabi (co-leader of one of the angel syndicate groups) has this to say;
"Investing in Chekkit Technologies was a no brainer, they are tackling the scourge of fake drugs in Nigeria and across emerging markets globally, one of the biggest challenges still facing the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems in Africa is fake and substandard drugs, weak regulatory environments and lack of consumer education. Fake and substandard drugs are responsible for thousands of deaths annually across Africa.
Chekkit is already working with governments to strengthen and heighten pharmacovigilance, patient education and advocacy. The application/platform is saving lives by simultaneously detecting and notifying consumers, manufacturers and policy makers from the minute fake or substandard drugs are detected. I’m excited that the company is building and using blockchain to build out its solution. Chekkit with an experienced team, local and global traction, are poised to save more lives and I’m proud to be an investor and lead a team of other investors to build".
According to a statement from the startup, Biola Alabi will be joining Chekkit's advisory board. She is "bringing in years of experience in media and communications as well as industry-related know-how as she currently serves as a non-executive director at Unilever Nigeria Plc".
The funds raised are aimed at product development—strengthening their existing anti-counterfeiting and consumer engagement solution as well as building out a robust supply chain tracking and infrastructural optimisation technologies. In terms of impact, "the funds raised will enable us to directly protect up to 100 million lives across the globe. To achieve this, we'll be expanding our team of innovators with like-minded and innovative individuals to join us on this noble quest", reads a statement from the company.
In conclusion, Dare Odumade, CEO of Chekkit says;
"We are super-pumped about the future as we develop unique technological products to protect the lives of millions and also directly improve the act of doing business for several brands by learning about consumers in the largely informal African markets.
We will be launching the first consumer intelligence software-as-a-service for consumer brands to create end-to-end loyalty campaigns, aggregate engagement data and distribute rewards in-house and with their marketing agencies for the first time ever, enabling consumers to directly interact with brands through QR and USSD shortcodes printed directly on the product package."