The battle for Africa's auto space

CONFIRMED: Cars45 ex-CEO Re-emerges With Autochek After Acquiring Cheki

By  |  September 14, 2020

Not much sense has been made of the apparent chaos that has circled Cars45 in the past two weeks. But the latest related development is that the former Cars45 CEO, Etop Ikpe, who left the startup under a cloud, has made quite the comeback.

Ikpe has reappeared with a new company, Autochek, which he recently founded, and the newly-launched startup has completed the acquisition of automotive marketplaces, Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana.

Before the acquisition, Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana were part of ROAM Africa’s portfolio of online marketplaces. Both will run under the new platform, Autochek, which “will relaunch by the end of 2020.”

Per a press release seen by WT, Autochek will take ownership of and retain Cheki’s teams in Nigeria and Ghana. However, ROAM Africa will keep Cheki Kenya as part of its portfolio.

Autochek is being sold as an “automotive technology company that aims to build digital solutions that will enhance and enable a seamless and safe automotive commerce experience across Africa, starting with Nigeria and Ghana.” 

The new company plans to use technology to transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers. This it hopes to achieve by creating a single marketplace for consumers’ automotive needs, from sourcing and financing to after-sales support and warranties.

Speaking on the acquisition, Ikpe, who is now CEO of Autochek, stated thus, “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.”

By virtue of the above, it doesn’t take much to see that Ikpe’s new venture is probably out to compete with platforms like Cars45; a company he co-founded with Mohammed Iyamu and Sujay Tyle in 2016 — both of whom also left the startup recently, under curious circumstances.

As a matter of fact, Iyamu was among the 11 executives who had resigned from Cars45 and were unceremoniously featured in a now-infamous mugshot-style disclaimer from Cars45. The company had told WT that it deemed it fit to inform its customers of the exited executive because it needed to keep its hands clean.

However, rumours had it that Cars45 was reacting with spite after losing some of its top executives to poaching from Ikpe, who had revealed to WT that he had resigned from Cars45 in July and was chasing something new.

Well, it turns out that “something new” is Autochek, and Ikpe seems poised to take on his former company. By completing the swift acquisition of two of ROAM Africa’s ten-year-old online marketplaces, Ikpe has underlined his intentions with a portfolio that seems solid.

Again, rumours have attributed the Cars45 split to disagreements over equity and disputes on buyout agreements. But so far, there’s only been loud silence from the folks at Cars45, it’s parent company, Frontier Cars Group (FCG), Ikpe himself, and the other individuals involved in the matter.

Featured Image Courtesy: Entrepreneur

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