Nigerian anti-counterfeiting startup Chekkit secures $500k pre-seed funding for expansion.

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Chekkit, a Nigerian anti-counterfeiting startup, has raised a pre-seed funding round of US$500,000 to help it expand its operations in the pharmaceutical and FMCG industries.

Chekkit, which was founded at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, Ghana, has developed a platform that tracks product movement and the parties involved in the transfer of products from warehouse to distributor to final consumer.

Chekkit is a tool for anti-counterfeiting, asset tracking, and customer satisfaction analytics. It produces tamper-proof unique ID labels, either as QR codes or numeric codes, which can be used to track supply chains and consumer feedback on luxury packaged food and beverage products.

Launch Africa, Japan Strategic Capital, Blockchain Founders Fund, and two syndicate groups of angel investors have just finalized a pre-seed investment round of US$500,000 for the startup, which began operations in Afghanistan last year. A grant from the Orange Corners program is also included.

Chekkit has partnered with pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Royal Star Pharma, and Nabros Pharmaceutical to secure over seven million pharmaceutical products and protect over 200,000 consumers. The funding will be used to expand the company’s footprint in this area, as well as in FMCG, where it already works with brands including Indomie, Nivea, and Flourmills of Nigeria.

“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,” said Chekkit chief executive officer (CEO) Dare Odumade.

“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, said investing in Chekkit 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,” she said. 

“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.”