Chekkit, a Nigerian startup working against counterfeiting, has raised US$500,000 in its pre-seed funding round.
The funds, according to the startup, would be tailored towards its push to expand its operations within the pharmaceutical and FMCG industries.
Funds were raised from investors like Launch Africa, Japan Strategic Capital, Blockchain Founders Funds, and a syndicate of angel investors. The company also received a grant from Netherlands’ Orange Corners programme.
Chekkit was founded in 2018 by Dare Odunmade and Oluwatosin Adelowo. It was formed at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, Ghana.
The startup has a system that tracks product movement as well as the parties involved in the transfer of products from warehouse to distributor, till the product gets to the final consumer.
Chekkit is an anti-counterfeiting, asset tracking and consumer feedback analytics tool, that uses Blockchain technology.
The startup produces tamper-proof labels, either as QR or numeric codes. These codes can be placed on packaged medicines, food and beverage products, making it easy for the products to be tracked.
In 2020, Chekkit signed an MoU with the Afghan Ministry of Health for a 3-month pilot project to track and verify 80,000 pharmaceutical products. This feat came after Chekkit finished as the first runner up in a Blockchain pitch competition at the AfricArena Summit in November 2019.
So far, Chekkit has worked with pharmaceutical companies like Merck, Royal Star Pharma and Nabros Pharmaceutical to track over seven million pharmaceutical products, resulting in the protection of over 200,000 consumers.
Speaking on the fundraise, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Dare Odumade said:
“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.”
Biola Alabi, co-leader of one of the angel syndicate groups, also commented on the fundraise. She said:
“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 is saving lives by simultaneously detecting and notifying consumers, manufactures 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, is poised to save more lives and I’m proud to be an investor and lead a team of other investors to build.”
Chekkit already works with Nigerian brands including Indomie, Nivea and Flourmills of Nigeria.