Nigeria-based startup Autochek is looking to bring its car sales and services platform from Africa to the online community.
Autochek’s platform — which is managed by a developer team in Lagos and Nairobi — in short, is a network for consumers and businesses to buy, sell, and service cars as well as finance car sales.
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According to TechCrunch, the newly-launched company recently closed a $3.4 million pre-seed round co-led by VC firms TLcom Capital and 4DX ventures to help accomplish its main goal as an innovative venture.
Other firms such as Golden Palm Investments, Lateral Capital, MSA Capital, and Kepple Africa Ventures also joined the investment round.
The funding round comes off the heels of its September acquisition of digital car sales marketplace Cheki in Nigeria and Ghana, TechCrunch reports. It also comes after the recent departure of CEO Etop Ikpe from Cars45, a startup he co-founded in 2016.
Ikpe’s latest venture — which is likely to be in direct competition with his previous Nigerian-based company — will demonstrate a new business model that was also built with the help of his early tech experience at e-commerce startups DealDey and Konga.
“It’s different in the type of technology we’re building and that it’s asset light,” Ikpe told TechCrunch. “I don’t have any inventory. I don’t buy cars. I don’t transact any [physical] cars. I don’t own any inspection locations. I don’t own any dealerships.”
According to Ikpe, Autochek’s new model has an overarching objective to build the digital infrastructure for a new online system that will better coordinate sales, servicing, and vehicle records of the car market in Nigeria as well as other parts of Africa.
Additionally, Ikpe describes the market as still very much informal and fragmented but plans to use Autochek to create a more efficient system.
“We’re basically focused on technology solutions to build the rails of [Africa’s] automotive sector to run on,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re focusing on three foundations of the market: transactions and trading, maintenance, and financing.”
According to a report from TechCrunch, Autochek launched with 10 bank partnerships in Nigeria and two in Ghana, to further provide more financing options for consumers.
Moreover, the Nigerian startup also plans to expand to include more auto-related services and enter other African countries such as Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, and the Ivory Coast.
“Acquisitions are going to be a core part of our expansion strategy,” Ikpe said.
Ikpe and Autochek believe that the auto sales and service industry are an underserved market in Africa and the startup’s business plan aims to fix it.
For more information about Autochek, visit its website.