Victor Emaye is a determined Nigerian doing everything in his power to ensure that Nigerians do not struggle daily to access high-quality healthcare services, just as they struggle to make ends meet.
Through his innovation, Chekker, a digital platform where medical tests can be scheduled for and done in the comfort of a user’s home, he is helping Nigerians avoid the ugly experience of waiting in hospital queues to have themselves checked medically.
Victor, who holds a B.Sc. in Economics from Adekunle Ajasin University, believes that the inspiration for the idea came from the observation that few individuals preferred to go to the hospital to receive medical attention. He said he had found that not enough people were being served by healthcare delivery with his first platform, Medipal, a healthcare technology firm that provides cloud medical office software to expand and improve hospital management.
“We discovered that the number of people that don’t even come to the hospital were more than those coming to the hospital, and then we thought about how to improve access to healthcare from the home. That led us to pivot to Chekker.”
Victor Emaye, Co-founder and CEO of Chekker
Victor also experienced the accessibility issue firsthand when his mother had a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke. Since the public hospitals at the time were striking, he had to transport her to several hospitals. At that point, they learned about the problem of healthcare accessibility, and Chekker was created.
“Along the line, my mom had a stroke, and for someone on the medical line, I felt helpless because we had to rush her to various hospitals because it was the time when public hospitals were on strike. So we moved her to Abeokuta from Lagos where she was diagnosed with stroke due to Diabetes and hypertension.
The doctor told us to go do a test, and then we could not do one in the whole of Abeokuta, so we had to bring her back to Lagos. When we eventually wanted to do a scan, we found out so many people on the waiting list, in fact, a particular man had been there for many hours, but because I was a medical person, I made a few calls, and after 3 hours we did the test”, he said.
We spoke to Victor Emaye of Chekker on this episode of Founders Spotlight, and he shared his stories, inspirations, product offering, and plans to help many Nigerians and Africans access healthcare from the comfort of their homes.
How does Chekker operate
Undoubtedly, health indicators in Nigeria are some of the worst in Africa. The country has one of the fastest-growing populations globally. With 5.5 live births per woman and a population growth rate of 3.2 per cent annually, It is estimated to reach 440 million people by 2050.
Major problems confronting the medical system in Nigeria include easy access to medical services like drugs, one-on-one with medical personnel and sometimes even access to medical facilities, which can be useful for diagnostic reasons.
It is for this reason Victor, with his co-founders, is making the lives of many Nigerians easy with Chekker. On its operations, this is what he says:
Chekker is where you can order a test, someone comes to you, takes your sample and you have your result delivered to you within 72 hours.
He adds, “We don’t deliver kits. We collect the sample. We work with a network of health workers, just like Uber, we are the Uber of healthcare. We signup health workers ( nurses, scientists) called phlebotomists who collect samples and are well-trained. We also have our kits and equipment.
We have these workers across different locations in Lagos, almost everywhere, working with hospitals and health facilities and helping to collect these samples in their free time. So they already have methods of collecting these samples before, and so we plug into that.
When the samples are collected, they are delivered to our sample collation centres that are located in parts of the city, and the lab comes to do the pick-ups. When the result is out, our doctors interpret them for the patients instead of going through the hassles of getting their results interpreted. Our doctors even help with post-test free consultations, services and medications which help patients get a complete package of health services“
Victor also says the platform has other partners that can help deliver medications needed by patients, like pharmacists. With a recent partnership with the Association of Community Pharmacists in Nigeria (ACPN), he claims Chekker is offering pharmaceutical services to Nigerians.
Adoption rate for Chekker so far?
For Victor, the adoption rate has been monumental from the very beginning, with so many people acknowledging its solutions.
“It’s been amazing from day one, we didn’t have to wait as we started getting referrals after an intro video that we made went viral. We started from WhatsApp, and then the link redirected people to the Whatsapp landing page. So when we saw the reception we were getting, we had to launch the app.”
He adds that since its launch in 2021, the company has continually learnt new ways to do what it does currently. “Starting from Whatsapp, it was mainly customers that knew us, but 6 months after, doctors, pharmacies, and medical companies started using them, he said.
Chekker is also partnering with some organizations, doing some free campaigns and enlightening people about the need to have themselves checked.
“Over the last 9 months, we have done about 2000 tests, although it could have been more, these things depend on the financing, because the more financing, the more the reach we are able to cover.
Chekker has gotten orders from other parts of the country that it didn’t fulfil because we are not there. We have plans to expand though in the next year because we are asset-light. We do not any assets to launch. So expanding is not really an issue, we need the financing.”
We are currently doing our pre-seed round of $500,000 to expand and increase our reach, run marketing, build more software and do more research. We are building something really massive and we need all the funding that it requires.
For him, if Chekker gets the needed funding today, it will expand into the major cities in Nigeria like Abuja and Port Harcourt and cover over 20 million Lagosians.
Why the switch from Economics to Health
As earlier mentioned, Victor Emaye is an Economics graduate, so it’s a little surprising that he has found himself in the health service sector helping to solve a major challenge. When asked what inspired the switch from finance to health, he says he faced a life-threatening situation in school.
“I was ill and went to the health centre, and as usual, found a lot of people waiting. So when it got to my turn, they couldn’t find my file, and for hours I waited. So I left and went to a nearby pharmacy, where I was given a prescription without a proper diagnosis. This made the case severe, and I later found myself in a hospital bed.
From there onwards, I made a vow to solve these challenges in the healthcare sector. Since then, I have developed an interest in the sector and have done business in the sector, spending over 5 years now. I also launched my first startup during my service year, and anyone who doesn’t know my background in economics calls me a doctor.”
Chekker is co-founded by Victor Emaye, Ifedamola Adefisoye, Jesupelumi Adenihun, and for Victor, the relationship, resource sharing and work ethics between them have been awesome so far.
“We are a very solid team. My background in economics makes me a business guy, so I develop the business model. Jesupelumi is a medical doctor, so she brings in the medical experience while Ife brings in the engineering and tech experience into all that we do. We work very seamlessly.“
Challenges faced and surmounted as a founder
Challenges they say either make or mar you, for Victor, he and his team have been able to surmount many so far and are not relenting any time soon in bringing healthcare services to Nigerians. For him, every day comes with its challenges.
“It’s been a lot of work, having to manage the team, interact with investors, and get the stakeholders involved and aware of what you doing. It’s very challenging when every day you are experiencing hurdles but the interesting thing is you have what it takes to deliver value. So we are always solving challenges and getting through hurdles, every day comes with its own challenges”, he says
“There is just so much. Managing the tech team, product and marketing team, content team, and the recruitment process is quite difficult, as you need to get the right people and manage them. Also, managing the customers is a lot. But the joy is that there are testimonies. So having to hear testimonies, like I was able to treat this ailment fast because of Chekker, makes the whole stress worth it”
What Inspires him
Just like heroes go about saving the day and people, they also need to stay inspired to do what they do. And for Victor Emaye, helping people live healthy lives keeps him going.
“Helping people keep living healthy lives keeps me going. Whatever I’m gonna build tomorrow would also be to help people. Hearing testimonies of people that have used Chekker inspires me. Just like God’s mandate to the world, my mandate is helping people, and every time I can do that, I’m fulfilled.”
What he does for fun
Victor Emaye is a workaholic and claims he worked for fun at some point in his life, although that’s taking a turn now. Now, fun is watching movies, cooking and catching up with friends.
Founders that inspire him
Victor has been inspired by many founders, especially people he has had the opportunity to work with. He says;
“Lanre Ogunbge, and the entire team of Identitypass are people that inspire me because I directly know them and have worked with them over the years. Also, seeing the formidable and amazing things they have done, inspires me a lot. I would say I have learnt a lot. Femi Iromini and Dapo of Moni Africa also, really inspire me. They always tell me the same thing every time I reach out to them about challenges which means what they are saying is correct.”
What would a successful 2023 look like
With the year approaching the end of the first quarter, many founders would be looking at counting their gains and drawing up strategies to bring in profits with favourable traction.
For Victor, this is the same. According to him, the company is already on track to greatness with its innovations and the many other products it looks forward to introducing.
“We are transforming healthcare already. In 2023, we will reach out to more people andbring more innovation.”