Cheki Kenya and Uganda acquired by Autochek from ROAM Africa

AUTOCHEK, a Nigerian automotive technology company has announced the acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda from Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) that operates and grows the leading marketplaces in Sub-Saharan for an undisclosed amount

Cheki was launched in 2010, as an online car classified for importers, dealers, and private sellers in Nigeria. The startup, headquartered in Lagos, as per ROAM’S website, expanded operations to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. However, these markets are quite inactive which gives Autochek the chance to fully acquire all of Cheki’s main operations.

Cheki Kenya has built a network of hundreds of dealers which has 700,000 unique users and over 12,000 vehicles listed monthly on its platform. The company also claims to have grown 80% plus year-on-year in the last two years.

With credit penetration in Kenya, it grows significantly 27.5% higher than the West African market which stands at 5% making it a valuable asset for Autochek’s plan for regional expansion and also a pan-African player.

Autochek Founder and CEO Etop Ikpe said “Cheki Kenya has always been sort of the crown jewel.” He also said “At the time, when we completed the Nigeria and Ghana acquisition, it wasn’t a conscious effort to make this happen, but it’s great that it happened.”

Building on Cheki’s 10years of experience, Autochek is set to introduce additional technology solutions that will integrate the auto ecosystem as well as increasing market adoption for auto loan financing. Also as part of the agreement, ROAM Africa will also transfer ownership and operational control to Autocheck as said by the Founder.

Speaking on the acquisition, he said, “The acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda is an important milestone for us, and we are excited to be working with ROAM Africa once again, building on their achievements over the past years. ROAM Africa has an unrivalled track record of operating and scaling some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most innovative classified marketplaces and we look forward to leveraging on this solid business foundation.”

ROAM CEO Clemens Weitz said in a statement, “Across the world, we see a new evolution of digital automotive platforms, requiring deep specialization. Specifically in Africa, we believe that Autochek is the one player with the best team and expertise to truly create a game-changing

consumer experience. For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a very good transaction, It unleashes even more focus on our strategic playbook for our other businesses.”

“For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a perfect transaction, it unleashes more focus on the strategic playbook for our core businesses. We have a clear strategy that will further strengthen our leading marketplaces and invest in innovative product solutions. The opportunity is now bigger than ever since the pandemic has vastly accelerated digitisation across the continent. In the last two years, our businesses recorded unprecedented growth. Thus, our commitment to connect Africans to opportunities remains strong.”

Arguably, South Africa is the most important car financing market on the continent. Other automotive companies have some form of presence in the market and for Autochek, the plan is to expand there too.

Why the expansion to South Africa?

South Africa has the highest car financing penetration on the continent. Yet despite the seeming competition, Ikpe believes opportunities exist for the company to provide services tailored to the market different from what other companies have.

Autochek combines technology underpinned by data analytics to deepen auto finance penetration across the continent. With a presence in Nigeria and Ghana, the company’s 360-degree automotive solution also provides a strong network of after-sales services that preserve and ease vehicle ownership experience across Africa.

Autochek’s expansion to East Africa is coming at a time when automotive tech companies like Moove, Planet42, and FlexClub are receiving attention from investors as the need for flexible vehicle financing keeps growing across the continent.