Autochek, the newly established automotive technology startup has taken the market by surprise by acquiring the platforms of established firms like Cheki.com in both Nigeria, and in Ghana. Autocheck which was recently founded by former Cars45 chief executive officer (CEO) Etop Ikpe announced the acquisition of automotive marketplaces Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana, previously part of ROAM Africa’s portfolio of leading online marketplaces. With these acquisitions, Autochek aims to build digital solutions that will enhance and enable a seamless and safe automotive commerce experience across Africa, starting with Nigeria and Ghana.
It plans to use technology to transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for consumers’ automotive needs, from sourcing and financing to after sales support and warranties. ROAM Africa, Cheki’s parent company, has transferred ownership and operational control to Autochek, and all Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana outlets will now be rebranded as Autochek. The new platform will relaunch by the end of 2020. Leading cars marketplace Cheki Kenya remains fully owned and operated by ROAM Africa.
“We are really excited by this new opportunity to drive the African automotive space forward. Our aim is to create a one-stop shop for consumers’ automotive needs, embedding technology at every stage of the process, thereby making the journey of car ownership easier for everyone. The Cheki brand is well established in Nigeria and Ghana, and we look forward to building on the solid work that the Cheki team has done over the last ten years in reinventing how car purchases are made. Our goal is to continue the great work, as well as expand operations into other African territories from 2021 onwards,” Ikpe said.
Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa, said his company believed Autochek would carry on the “incredible results” Cheki has achieved in Nigeria and Ghana over the last decade in developing a specialist car marketplace. “Etop and his team have an outstanding record of success in the African automotive market and we are excited to be handing over these assets to them, ensuring continuity of service as we migrate the platforms over. We are also pleased that the Autochek team is committed to working collaboratively with the existing Cheki team and long-term partners. We look forward to seeing all the success they will achieve together,” he said.
Disrupt Africa quizzed Ikpe on the reasons behind his departure from Cars45, which raised US$5 million in funding from the Berlin-based Frontier Car Group (FCG) in 2017 and expanded into Ghana and Kenya last year. He said the Autochek idea was one that he had been thinking about for some time. “This just felt like the right time to bring that dream to life. The team at Cars45 remains close to my heart and I will always appreciate everyone past and present at Cars45 and FCG for all the great things we did together. Autochek will focus on developing technology solutions that will help dealerships, auto workshops and financial institutions to service their consumers better and we hope to do business with Cars45 in the nearest future,” he said.
“Leaving Cars45 was not an easy decision, but sometimes in life you have to make tough decisions. Life is about journeys and as one journey has ended, I have begun another journey which I am very passionate about. My passion for the industry transcends brands and I am focused on using the opportunities I have to create employment opportunities and wealth for participants in the automotive industry. The automotive sector holds a lot of untapped potential to create employment and wealth for Africans. I believe we are a catalyst to the market and we sit in an area that enables us to work with every single participant in the industry.”