HumanIPO: What are the key focuses of the company at the moment?
Gogo: Sproxil’s initial focus and success was becoming entrenched in the battle against counterfeit drugs in developing countries.
We did this by creating and implementing an easy, inexpensive way to leverage text-messaging (SMS) technology to verify the medications consumers purchase are genuine.
While this continues to be a major area of concentration, we’re now also focused on growing in new industries by expanding consumer protection from counterfeiters and product thieves to many more products consumers use every day.
Because our solution works with virtually any tangible product, we’re finding success in a wide array of industries – from beauty, personal care and automotive to home goods, electrical cables and agriculture just to name a few.
Which self-developed solution do you deem the most revolutionary in the company?
Our solution is the patent-pending Mobile Product Authentication™ (MPA™) technology that provides a simple, inexpensive way to identify counterfeit or stolen products.
The strength of this invention is that it uses two established solutions that are in abundance even in developing countries: cell phones and scratch cards.
Here’s how it works in pharmaceutical application: Before purchasing medication, consumers scratch a special security label, revealing a one-time use code, and then text the code to a secure number provided on the package.
As part of the MPA technology, the text message is processed to determine the drug’s genuineness. Within seconds, the end user is notified, via text, of the result.
Alternatively, consumers can call a consumer support desk to get results in their local language, receive assistance during the verification process, or report any suspicious products.
Do you see Africa as a future leader in the tech space?
Yes, I believe Africa will fuel the reverse innovation trend, where well-built services will have an inherent cost advantage due to affordable highly-skilled labour in growing African tech hub cities like Nairobi and Accra.
The key enabling innovation for this trend is cloud computing, where African tech entrepreneurs no longer need to source tens of thousands of dollars for expensive server hardware, with banks of backup generators and small pipe internet backbones that don't suit enterprise applications.
The cloud is a game changer for Africa.
What are the future plans of Sproxil?
We’ve been aggressively expanding into new industries as the market evolves and we will continue with further expansion plans, both in new industries, as well as in new geographic marketplaces.
Which African country would you put in the leading spot when it comes to technology?
South Africa, but Kenya has growing momentum at the moment with the recent opening of an IBM Innovation Center in Nairobi.
The Center will stimulate innovation, offering strong resources to develop new technologies and prepare them for commercialization faster.
Do you think startups are the future of the African tech scene and what role do they play as agents of change?
Yes, while seed level funding is still limited for African startups, there is growing momentum for African startups playing on the global scene.
For example, ClaimSync at HealthXL accelerator in Dublin, is pitching global investors and competing with startups from Australia, Europe, USA.
ClaimSync is a Ghanaian startup with an innovative platform for hospitals and insurers to manage the electronic medical claims process.