Autochek, the automotive technology company that aims to build solutions for the African market, has raised $3.4 million in a pre-seed funding round, co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures with inclusion from Golden Palm Investments, Lateral Capital, Kepple Africa Ventures, MSA Capital and a number of local angel/seed investors. The start-up will use the investment to grow its Nigeria and Ghana markets and will see further investment in technology and growing its teams.
The pre-seed investment announced today follows Autochek’s acquisition of the Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana brands in September 2020. Combining technology and data to power every process of the automotive transactional ecosystem for millions of people, Autochek will transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for all automotive needs. This will include everything from sourcing and financing transactions to after sales support and warranties.
Through the acquisition of Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana, Autochek already has more than 20,000 unique vehicles listed on its platform, and more than 12,000 dealers and private sellers, as well as a range of corporate partners and customers. Leveraging its extensive on-the-ground network of dealers and an experienced leadership team, the new platform and mobile app has been designed to address the pain points of buying, selling and repairing cars in Africa such as access to finance (for both consumers and dealers), maintenance and insurance, and bring greater value to car dealerships by enabling and enhancing automotive commerce across the continent. Autochek will also facilitate cheaper and more effective transactions for dealers and corporate partners, leveraging its industry relationships to buy and sell vehicles on behalf of the customer for the best price and ensuring value for money.
Via the Autochek mobile app (Android app now available. iOS app coming soon), car owners and potential owners will have access to loans, auctions, trade-ins and maintenance. Automotive dealers will have access to real time car auctions, fleet management, marketing support and standardised reports on car conditions and market value, as well as inventory management, CRM for lead management and garage management systems for car workshops. Financial institutions like banks and fintechs will also have access to a credit management dashboard that will make it easier for them to access customers. By focussing on the demands of both customers and dealers, Autochek is building an ecosystem of solutions specifically designed to deliver an unrivalled customer experience for the African automotive market.
Etop Ikpe, Founder and CEO of Autochek, said, “This early stage investment allows us to get started with the work of developing technology products and services that will transform automotive trade on the continent, whereby we significantly improve transactions and after care support for car owners, dealers and other stakeholders across the African automotive industry.
“Building on the solid work that the Cheki Nigeria and Ghana teams have done over the last ten years, we are already dispersed across multiple locations and applying the technology built and developed by our Autochek auto-tech experts, we are well positioned to scale quickly, as demand for reliable and well priced cars on the continent grow. With this pre-seed round and our seasoned strategic investors on board, we are working to transform the automotive sector on the continent”
Andreata Muforo, partner at TLcom said, “Autochek is radically improving customer experience and dealer economics in an industry that creates value and jobs across the continent and we are excited to be part of that journey. The founding team has a clear plan for what they want to achieve and we look forward to working with them as they execute on their vision.”
Walter Baddoo, Managing Partner at 4DX Ventures said, “We are proud to enter this partnership with Autochek as the company embarks on its mission to transform Africa’s automotive industry. By providing access to a new range of products and services, the company will dramatically enhance the automotive transacting experience for dealers and the ownership experience for consumers across the continent. Autochek is helping to unlock massive opportunities in Africa’s auto sector and we are pleased to be supporting that mission”.
Africa is widely regarded as the final frontier for the global automotive industry, with high growth prospects over the next decade. Despite the impact of COVID-19, car sales are expected to grow across the continent, with a corresponding rise in demand for support services. However, a range of existing challenges, including limited access to finance and an opaque and fragmented marketplace means car owners and dealers do not always enjoy the best experience.