Identifying Counterfeit Goods
Ghana-born entrepreneur Ashifi Gogo, moved to the United States in 2001 as a student and founded Sproxil in 2009 to tackle the problem of counterfeit medication in Africa. Sproxil’s mobile authentication technology, called “Defender,” helps consumers detect counterfeit medicines. Africa accounted for 42% of all cases of fake or substandard medication reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and 2017. Now Sproxil is using its technology to spot fakes in other industries — from agriculture to beverages. The approach is simple: manufacturers package goods with a scratch-off label that conceals a unique code. Consumers can scan that code, free of charge, on Sproxil’s app, which tells them immediately whether the product is authentic or not. Since its launch, Sproxil has worked with more than 300 brands and companies, including Bacardi, Diageo and GlaxoSmithKline, to identify 2.5 billion items as authentic. The company, which operates in 5 African countries as well as India and Pakistan, has raised $4 million in investment. Sproxil plans to focus on Africa’s counterfeit liquor market next.
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