Digital automotive commerce company Autochek has acquired Morocco’s KIFAL Auto for an undisclosed amount, marking the entry of the vehicle marketplace into North Africa.
The deal comes barely a year after Autochek bought Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda from Ringier One Africa Media. Prior to the September 2021 transaction, Autochek had bought Cheki’s subsidiaries in Ghana and Nigeria, and partnered with the CFAO Group to launch the network in Ivory Coast. After KIFAL Auto’s acquisition, Autochek is now present in six countries across East, West and North Africa.
Like Autochek, KIFAL Auto links car buyers and sellers, and also, through partnerships, offers several other services including financing and insurance.
“From my first interaction with Nizar and his team at KIFAL Auto, I was so impressed by their passion for delivering effective solutions and their commitment to innovation. They have built an excellent platform and we are thrilled to have them onboard at Autochek to support the work we are doing to improve the automotive finance value proposition in Africa. There are so many parallels in our individual stories and I look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial relationship for years to come,” said Autochek co-founder and CEO, Etop Ikpe, in a statement.
(L-R) Autochek CEO and co-founder Etop Ikpe and KIFAL Auto founder Nizar Abdallaoui Maane. lmage Credits: Autochek
KIFAL, which was founded in 2019 by Nizar Abdalaoui Maane, is among the leading auto marketplaces in Morocco, one of the largest markets for used and new cars in Africa. Following the latest deal, Maane and the KIFAL auto team join Autochek to lead the company’s expansion efforts in North Africa.
“I have long been an admirer of the work Autochek has done to enable improved experiences across Africa’s automotive value chain. There is so much we can learn from each other, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience and expertise to deliver more game changing innovation in Morocco and beyond. In our Industry and especially in an African context, it makes a lot of sense to continue growing with a large player. Morocco is a gateway into North Africa and I am confident that we can unlock new value and drive further transformation across the board,” said Maane.
Autochek says it has 1,500 dealers as partners across its markets, and has partnerships with more than 70 financing partners including Access Bank, Ecobank, UBA, Bank of Africa and NCBA Bank.
Cars listed on the site go through various stages of inspection, and are rated according to their status and performance. Ekpe said in a past TechCrunch interview that, “The assessments and some algorithmic checks on Autochek’s system help to give a sense of the status and condition of the car, determining whether it is in a state to be financed … because they (banks) do not want a situation where they finance a car and the next day, the engine knocks.”
Autochek said loans are approved in about 48 hours. The company earns by charging a fee to dealers listing on its platforms, in addition to a loan facilitation commission from banks.
Autochek, which in October last year raised $13.1 million in a seed round, is backed by a number of investors including pan-African VC firms TLcom Capital, 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, ASK Capital and, Mobility 54 Investment SAS, the venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group.