Press

Sproxil Launches Tanzanian Country Office In Partnership With UKAID, The Human Development Innovation Fund, and The Tanzanian Private Sector Forum

Global Anti-Counterfeiting & Consumer Engagement Company Formally Commences Operations In Fifth African Country.

CEO Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation gives a statement to members of the press, flanked by the country director, Sproxil Tanzania (L), and regional director, Sproxil Africa (R)

CEO Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation gives a statement to members of the press, flanked by the country director, Sproxil Tanzania (L), and regional director, Sproxil Africa (R)

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (October 27, 2017) – Sproxil, a global leader in mobile-based brand protection and consumer engagement technology, has opened a country office in Tanzania. The launch event was  held on the 26th of October to formally present its award-winning suite of solutions to corporate entities, regulatory bodies, and the government, as well as facilitate discussions on a cohesive approach to fighting counterfeiting. 


In addition to introducing Sproxil’s solutions to corporate Tanzania, the event served as a platform for fostering understanding and mapping out areas of collaboration between all stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting and consumer engagement space. To represent the regulatory bodies, there were presentations from the Tanzanian Board of Standards, and the Tanzanian Food & Drug Administration. There was also a panel of representatives from law enforcement, as well as strategically chosen directors of Tanzanian private companies to represent the interests of their respective sectors. 


Speaking on the significance of the launch to society in general, Chinedum Chijioke, Managing Director, Sproxil Africa, said “fake, illegal or substandard products are a danger to the health of the public, financial and reputational health of well-meaning brands, and also negatively impact the economy.  When this happens, the low-income earners in the society are most vulnerable, which is why it is the duty of both the private & public sector to empower them through the adoption of easy to use, effective solutions like Sproxil Defender.” 


Speaking of UKAID's motivation for partnering with Sproxil, David McGinty, the team leader for HDIF Tanzania, said: "Sproxil’s consumer interaction technology is a good example of innovative, scalable, information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), that we believe have the potential to achieve sustainable societal impact."
Although illegal and counterfeit pharmaceutical inputs were the focus of the workshop, Sproxil’s verification service can be used by brands from any sector.  With a mobile phone, Tanzanian consumers will now be able to verify the authenticity of their goods in seconds, by sending the unique codes on the products to Sproxil’s designated verification system.  Since the launch of this service in 2010, Sproxil has fielded over 50 million direct consumer interactions for brands globally, the highest number recorded.


About Sproxil
Sproxil® uses mobile technology and a proprietary fraud detection platform to launch secure, data-driven consumer engagement programs globally. Sproxil’s multi-award winning solutions are deployed by multinational manufacturers and brands across multiple industries to prevent supply chain fraud, amplify brand awareness, and optimize marketing expenditure. With teams of experts in Africa, Asia and America, Sproxil has executed projects across five continents and can offer services in over 100 countries worldwide. Sproxil is the only consumer loyalty and brand protection expert with both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certification. For more information and a full list of Sproxil's product suite, please visit www.sproxil.com.

About  UKAID
Established in 1997, the Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty through the UKaid program. DFID tackles the global challenges of our time including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity, and conflict. Our work is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and the UK too. We work in countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, many of which are fragile or at risk from fragile neighbors. We also have regional programmes in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and development relationships with three aid dependent Overseas Territories – St Helena, the Pitcairn Islands, and Montserrat. In addition to working directly in countries, DFID also gives UK Aid through multi-country global programmes and core contributions to multilaterals.


About HDIF
HDIF aims to identify and support innovations that have the potential to create social impact in education, health and, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across Tanzania. With a focus on market-driven solutions, HDIF catalyzes the development, testing and scaling of innovative models of service delivery, information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), and product solutions in health, education, and WASH. With a mission to catalyze social impact through innovation in education, health and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) by supporting innovators through a challenge fund and expert assistance; the three main components of the programme are Inspiring, Catalyzing, and Transforming.


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Contact

Ashok Maurya
Country Manager, Sproxil Tanzania
ashok.maurya@sproxil.com
 

SPROXIL LANCE AU MALI SES ACTIVITIES EN PARTENARIAT AVEC L'USAID ET L'ICRISAT

L’Anti-contrefaçon mondiale et l’Engagement des entreprises consommateurs commencent officiellement leurs opérations (activités) au Mali.

L'hon. Le ministre de l'Agriculture (milieu) présente une plaque au PDG du premier client de Sproxil Mali (à gauche) avec le soutien du PDG de Sproxil (à droite).

Bamako-Mali (le 11 Juillet 2017) – SPROXIL, un leader mondial dont le service est basé sur la protection des marques des produits et la technologique d’engagement des consommateurs a ouvert une Direction Nationale au Mali. Les deux (02) dudit lancement seront tenus les 11 et 12 Juillet afin d’introduire officiellement ses produits aux entités corporatives et au Gouvernement, aussi bien pour faciliter une approche de cohésion dans le combat de la contrefaçon.

L’Exécutive Clef en présence participera également à un atelier sur la prévention de la contrefaçon et les agro-alimentaires illégaux et autres produits. Les panelistes seront composés des représentants des Agro-alimentaires d’entrée et autres entreprises, L’Institut International de la Recherche de la Culture pour les Pays Semi-Arides et Tropicaux (ICRISAT), et L’USAID qui sont  les associés de  SPROXIL pour le lancement de cette initiative (événement).

"Toute personne qui gagne sa vie en faisant passer des marchandises contrefaits, de fausses marques pour des produits originaux est un criminel. Nous avons hâte d’obtenir notre mandat de protection des consommateurs au Mali, autonomisant ainsi lesdits consommateurs afin de confirmer l’authenticité leur achat et fournir aux propriétaires de marque l’opportunité de prendre en main leurs affaires" disait Chinedum Chijioke, le Directeur Général, SPROXIL en Afrique.

En parlant de la motivation de L’USAID pour le partenariat avec SPROXIL, Mamadou Sene "Contrefaire, au-delà de son effet immédiat, est une menace de l’économie pour n’importe quelle nation et nous croyons à la performance (potentiel) de cette solution afin d’atténuer ce danger."

Même si les agro-alimentaires d’entrée illégaux/contrefaits sont la caractéristique de l’atelier, le service de vérification de SPROXIL peut être utilisé par des marques de n’importe quel secteur. Avec un téléphone portable, un consommateur malien sera maintenant capable de vérifier l’authenticité de leurs marchandises en quelques secondes, en envoyant les uniques codes sur les produits au service de désignation de SPROXIL de code court de vérification. Depuis le lancement de ses activités en 2010, SPROXIL a dépassé  cinquante (50) millions d’interactions direct des consommateurs pour les marques, le nombre le plus élevé déjà enregistré.

A PROPOS DE SPROXIL

SPROXIL utilise la technologie mobile la plateforme de détection de fraude propriétaire afin de les sécuriser, L'engagement des consommateurs de données à l'échelle mondiale. Les multiples solutions primées de SPROXIL a été déployées par les multinationaux de fabrications et création de marques à travers les multiples industries afin de prévenir la fraude de la chaîne d’approvisionnement, augmenter la notoriété de la marque  et optimiser les dépenses du marketing. Avec une équipe des experts d’Afrique, d’Asie et d’Amérique, SPROXIL a exécuté des projets dans les cinq (05) continents et a pu offrir ses services à plus de cent (100) pays dans le monde entier. SPROXIL est le seul Protection experte de la marque et la  fidélisation des consommateurs avec à la fois deux certification d’ISO : l’ISO 9001 et l’ISO 27001. Pour plus d’information et pour une liste complète des produits des SPROXIL, merci de visiter le site web : www.sproxil.com

A PROPOS DE L’USAID

L’Agence Internationale des Etats –Unis pour le Développement est l’Agence du Gouvernement des USA qui est le premier responsable pour administrer l’aide aux civils étrangers. L’unité décentralisée de l’USAID des missions des champs  résidants est dessiné diriger le Gouvernement des USA (USG), les programmes des pays à faible revenu pour une croissance considérable. L’USAID adopté sa mission à travers ce discours : ^^S’associé pour mettre fin à l’extrême pauvreté afin de promouvoir le résilient, les sociétés démocratiques tout en avançant (rehaussant) la sécurité et la  prospérité des Etats-Unis.^^ Du financement au l’assistance technique, l’USAID fournit aux pays en voie de développement des ressources nécessaires pour améliorer la qualité de vie de leurs citoyens.


CONTACT
SPROXIL MALI
abdoul.diallo@sproxil.com

+223 91 91 91 96


 

Sproxil Surpasses 50 Million Consumer Engagement Mark

New Product From Tech Company Helps Consumers and Major Corporations Combat Counterfeiting While Building Brand Equity and Rewarding Loyal Customers

Boston­, MA (15 February 2017) – Sproxil®, a brand engagement specialist for emerging markets, has exceeded 50 million consumer engagements, providing tens of millions of loyal consumers with automatic protection from counterfeit products while securely receiving rewards. Sproxil uses mobile technology to combat counterfeiting and increase brand equity with innovative, consumer-focused product protection and targeted marketing solutions.

In the last year, Sproxil launched Sproxil Champion, a mobile loyalty program that offers consumers convenient, point-of-sale rewards and built-in fraud protection while helping brands set themselves apart from the competition. The tool, which helps consumers avoid knock-offs and make smarter, data-driven decisions, gained almost immediate traction, accelerating the company’s rate of transactions. Since its launch, Sproxil, with its brand partners, has distributed more than USD 2.5 million in prizes—ranging from a few cents of prepaid cell phone credit to a Mercedes Benz—to loyal consumers who purchase authentic products.

"We have leveraged our success in the pharmaceutical industry to develop new offerings that appeal to all brands across a variety of industries, from clothing to automotive, selling packaged goods in emerging markets," said Sproxil Founder and CEO Ashifi Gogo. "Our milestone validates the demand for new ways to engage with consumers directly on their mobile phone at the point of sale, while protecting them from counterfeit and diverted products. Sproxil Champion delivers precisely that."

Large multinational brands in the fast-moving consumer packaged goods industries face complex messaging constraints as they expand to emerging markets. While traditional barriers such as language and cultural differences exist, new threats of counterfeiting and negative brand impact are rapidly emerging as market expansion risks. Cross-border counterfeit and pirated product trade is projected to grow to USD 991 billion in 2022 from USD 461 billion in 2013.

Sproxil Champion's built-in anti-counterfeiting protection enables brands to gather critical crowdsourced supply chain intelligence while maintaining a covert anti-counterfeit program. "As a result of signing on to our Sproxil Champion program, multinational brands have grown sales, regained market share, rewarded tens of millions of their customers and collected opt-in consumer profile data that has driven their future marketing strategy," said Ashwin Dhumal, Sproxil’s Regional Sales Director based in Mumbai, India.

"Sproxil has achieved impressive scale in a short period with service in more than eight countries, covering products ranging from life-saving antibiotics to fast-moving consumer products," said Justus Kilian of Acumen, one of Sproxil’s key investors who helped get the Champion program off the ground. "Our investment in Sproxil has already yielded some of our largest impact numbers, and we look forward to future milestones and strong growth."

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About Sproxil

Sproxil® uses mobile technology and a proprietary fraud detection platform to launch secure, data-driven consumer engagement programs globally. Sproxil’s solutions are deployed by multinational manufacturers and brands across multiple industries to prevent supply chain fraud, amplify brand awareness, and optimize marketing spend. With teams of experts in Africa, Asia and America, Sproxil has executed projects across five continents and has the ability to offer services in over 100 countries worldwide. They have earned numerous awards and honors, including the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award and named the most innovative healthcare company in the world by Fast Company Magazine, ranking #7 overall. 

Sproxil is the only consumer loyalty and brand protection expert with both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certification. For more information and a full list of Sproxil’s product suite, please visit www.sproxil.com

About Acumen

Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $106 million in 96 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies. Learn more at www.acumen.org and on Twitter @Acumen.

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Contact

Sproxil
Atim Ukoh
atim.ukoh@sproxil.com
+1 209 877 7694

Acumen
Carolyn Bielfeldt, Associate Director of Communications
cbielfeldt@acumen.org
+1 646 747 3968

 

Sproxil Selected By Entrepreneurs, Investors and Industry Experts as Boston’s “Smartest” Start-Up

Contact:Amanda Griffith Bumble PR 617-851-8335 (direct) amanda@bumblepr.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPROXIL, INC. WINS BOSTON IBM SMARTCAMP EVENT

Company Selected By Entrepreneurs, Investors and Industry Experts as City’s “Smartest” Start-Up

Somerville, MA, June 3, 2010 — Sproxil, Inc. today announced that it has won IBM’s SmartCamp Boston, held on June 3, 2010. IBM’s SmartCamps bring together five start-ups with 25 world-class entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts for a single day to work to build a Smarter Planet. The objective of the program is help companies build an ‘investor ready’ commercial proposition to secure funding, with winners eligible for a three-month IBM mentorship program.

Sproxil’s Mobile Product AuthenticationTM (MPA) solution enables consumers to text message an item-unique code for a rapid response that confirms a brand’s genuineness. For example, in Nigeria, consumers purchase medications with a scratch card attached to the package.  They then scratch and text the unique numbers on the scratch card to a shortcode to instantly receive an SMS reply confirming the genuineness or fakeness of the product. To date, the company has coded more than 800,000 packages of Glucophage, used to treat diabetes.

“IBM’s SmartCamp provided a unique opportunity for Sproxil to gain valuable feedback from some of the industry’s greatest minds about our vision of using technology to help solve the world’s counterfeit pharmaceuticals problem,” said Ashifi Gogo, CEO of Sproxil, Inc. “Winning Boston’s event validates our  offering as an easy, simple-to-use solution that holds great promise for other industries as well. We look forward to continuing these strategic discussions in Dublin this November.”

Sproxil competed alongside myriad companies during this exclusive event, including the four other innovative start-up finalists – Sendsor, SkyMeter, Proxpro, and GIS Cloud – to take top honors in Boston. IBM SmartCamp events will also be held in Tel Aviv, London, Silicon Valley and Paris, with one winner from each city selected to travel to Dublin, Ireland this Fall to compete for the title of “The World’s Smartest Startup.”

About Sproxil

Sproxil, Inc., a privately backed organization, provides world-class brand protection for emerging markets through software and services that work anywhere there are mobile phones. Simple, easy to use and with no consumer capital investment, Sproxil offers a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting strategy for cash-based societies. Delivering automatic protection, simple labels and robust back-end analytics with its Mobile Product AuthenticationTM (MPA) solution, Sproxil enables consumers to text message an item-unique code for a rapid response that confirms a brand’s genuineness. Our solution also helps companies connect directly to their consumers through customized text message responses – such as disease management tips – and ads that specifically target those demographics with known buying behaviors. Learn more at www.sproxil.com.

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Sproxil Selected By Entrepreneurs, Investors and Industry Experts as Boston’s “Smartest” Start-Up

Contact:Amanda Griffith Bumble PR 617-851-8335 (direct) amanda@bumblepr.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPROXIL, INC. WINS BOSTON IBM SMARTCAMP EVENT

Company Selected By Entrepreneurs, Investors and Industry Experts as City’s “Smartest” Start-Up

Somerville, MA, June 3, 2010 — Sproxil, Inc. today announced that it has won IBM’s SmartCamp Boston, held on June 3, 2010. IBM’s SmartCamps bring together five start-ups with 25 world-class entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts for a single day to work to build a Smarter Planet. The objective of the program is help companies build an ‘investor ready’ commercial proposition to secure funding, with winners eligible for a three-month IBM mentorship program.

Sproxil’s Mobile Product AuthenticationTM (MPA) solution enables consumers to text message an item-unique code for a rapid response that confirms a brand’s genuineness. For example, in Nigeria, consumers purchase medications with a scratch card attached to the package.  They then scratch and text the unique numbers on the scratch card to a shortcode to instantly receive an SMS reply confirming the genuineness or fakeness of the product. To date, the company has coded more than 800,000 packages of Glucophage, used to treat diabetes.

“IBM’s SmartCamp provided a unique opportunity for Sproxil to gain valuable feedback from some of the industry’s greatest minds about our vision of using technology to help solve the world’s counterfeit pharmaceuticals problem,” said Ashifi Gogo, CEO of Sproxil, Inc. “Winning Boston’s event validates our  offering as an easy, simple-to-use solution that holds great promise for other industries as well. We look forward to continuing these strategic discussions in Dublin this November.”

Sproxil competed alongside myriad companies during this exclusive event, including the four other innovative start-up finalists – Sendsor, SkyMeter, Proxpro, and GIS Cloud – to take top honors in Boston. IBM SmartCamp events will also be held in Tel Aviv, London, Silicon Valley and Paris, with one winner from each city selected to travel to Dublin, Ireland this Fall to compete for the title of “The World’s Smartest Startup.”

About Sproxil

Sproxil, Inc., a privately backed organization, provides world-class brand protection for emerging markets through software and services that work anywhere there are mobile phones. Simple, easy to use and with no consumer capital investment, Sproxil offers a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting strategy for cash-based societies. Delivering automatic protection, simple labels and robust back-end analytics with its Mobile Product AuthenticationTM (MPA) solution, Sproxil enables consumers to text message an item-unique code for a rapid response that confirms a brand’s genuineness. Our solution also helps companies connect directly to their consumers through customized text message responses – such as disease management tips – and ads that specifically target those demographics with known buying behaviors. Learn more at www.sproxil.com.

#   #   #

Sproxil CEO featured in exclusive interview on The World's Technology Podcast

Clark Boyd, of The World's Technology Podcast, recently interviewed Sproxil CEO and co-founder Ashifi Gogo about his new counterfeit-fighting technology. Gogo describes the basic premise of Sproxil, which basically combines scratch-off labels and SMS technology on cell phones to validate medicines sold in the developing world. Gogo stated that the technology was originally intended to be used on the organic industry, but by the time his method was ready for introduction, organics were already an established market. So the company went in another direction, re-tooling the technology so that it could be used to fight counterfeit medicines instead, which pose a $75B problem around the globe. Sproxil is currently trialing the technology in Nigeria, where up to 33% of medicines sold are fake. Gogo explains that there are checks done at ports and borders in West Africa, but there is no "crowdsourced" approach to identify substandard medicines. As many readers already know, Sproxil works with legitimate manufacturers by providing them with one-time use scratch off labels (like lottery tickets), which are applied to product packaging at the source of manufacture or location of importation. The customer then scratches the label to reveal a hidden item-unique code, and sends the item code via text message (paid for by the product manufacturer) to the Sproxil database, ti which Sproxil immediately replies with an authenticating "yes" or "no".

Launching the service in Nigeria has gained the interest of many big-name manufacturers. Present funding has come from grants such as the Clinton Initiative, Nokia, as well as several business and social enterprise organizations that reward good ideas. Right now, there are one million sachets out on a diabetes medication across the country of Nigeria, and according to pharmacies, customers are beginning to purchase only the packages with the Sproxil label. Piloting the product on this medication, which diabetics rely on daily, is particularly appropriate.

Gogo also discusses the probability of Sproxil's future involvement in other markets struggling with counterfeiting, such as the textiles and education markets, and he asserts that there is "a very general need for authentication in West Africa," and according to a number of other articles, around the world. Sproxil also plans to reach the software market through creative entertainment like the music and movie industries.

Sproxil is the only testable initiative for consumer-based, anti-counterfeit technology right now, partly because  of its for-profit approach. There are four potential revenue streams that have been identified:

1) Authentication, where companies pay to protect their brand

2) Advisory, or supply-chain consulting

3) Analytics, or data-mining

4) Advertising

Sproxil is already receiving some revenue for its authentication and advisory services. It has not yet expanded to include analytics and advertising in its offerings. Click here listen to this exclusive interview on The World's Tech Podcast.

Sproxil CEO featured in exclusive interview on The World's Technology Podcast

Clark Boyd, of The World's Technology Podcast, recently interviewed Sproxil CEO and co-founder Ashifi Gogo about his new counterfeit-fighting technology. Gogo describes the basic premise of Sproxil, which basically combines scratch-off labels and SMS technology on cell phones to validate medicines sold in the developing world. Gogo stated that the technology was originally intended to be used on the organic industry, but by the time his method was ready for introduction, organics were already an established market. So the company went in another direction, re-tooling the technology so that it could be used to fight counterfeit medicines instead, which pose a $75B problem around the globe. Sproxil is currently trialing the technology in Nigeria, where up to 33% of medicines sold are fake. Gogo explains that there are checks done at ports and borders in West Africa, but there is no "crowdsourced" approach to identify substandard medicines. As many readers already know, Sproxil works with legitimate manufacturers by providing them with one-time use scratch off labels (like lottery tickets), which are applied to product packaging at the source of manufacture or location of importation. The customer then scratches the label to reveal a hidden item-unique code, and sends the item code via text message (paid for by the product manufacturer) to the Sproxil database, ti which Sproxil immediately replies with an authenticating "yes" or "no".

Launching the service in Nigeria has gained the interest of many big-name manufacturers. Present funding has come from grants such as the Clinton Initiative, Nokia, as well as several business and social enterprise organizations that reward good ideas. Right now, there are one million sachets out on a diabetes medication across the country of Nigeria, and according to pharmacies, customers are beginning to purchase only the packages with the Sproxil label. Piloting the product on this medication, which diabetics rely on daily, is particularly appropriate.

Gogo also discusses the probability of Sproxil's future involvement in other markets struggling with counterfeiting, such as the textiles and education markets, and he asserts that there is "a very general need for authentication in West Africa," and according to a number of other articles, around the world. Sproxil also plans to reach the software market through creative entertainment like the music and movie industries.

Sproxil is the only testable initiative for consumer-based, anti-counterfeit technology right now, partly because  of its for-profit approach. There are four potential revenue streams that have been identified:

1) Authentication, where companies pay to protect their brand

2) Advisory, or supply-chain consulting

3) Analytics, or data-mining

4) Advertising

Sproxil is already receiving some revenue for its authentication and advisory services. It has not yet expanded to include analytics and advertising in its offerings. Click here listen to this exclusive interview on The World's Tech Podcast.

Partnership for Safe Meds commends NAFDAC for adopting SMS technology

In the most recent Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) newsletter update, we note that the article features NAFDAC's use of our MPATM technology in their new, free-to-consumer Mobile Authentication Service (MAS).

"NAFDAC's use of SMS is a wonderful example of how technology can be used to protect patients and thwart illicit drug channels," said PSM's Vice President Bryan Liang, MD, PhD, JD. "In fact, SMS is one of the recommendations we relayed to the U.S. FDA last month-it's also an excellent method by which to reach healthcare providers and affected patients about drug recalls and counterfeit warnings."

We are excited to see such validation from a key advocate for safe drugs worldwide.

Partnership for Safe Meds commends NAFDAC for adopting SMS technology

In the most recent Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) newsletter update, we note that the article features NAFDAC's use of our MPATM technology in their new, free-to-consumer Mobile Authentication Service (MAS).

"NAFDAC's use of SMS is a wonderful example of how technology can be used to protect patients and thwart illicit drug channels," said PSM's Vice President Bryan Liang, MD, PhD, JD. "In fact, SMS is one of the recommendations we relayed to the U.S. FDA last month-it's also an excellent method by which to reach healthcare providers and affected patients about drug recalls and counterfeit warnings."

We are excited to see such validation from a key advocate for safe drugs worldwide.

Experts weigh in on Sproxil's technology

Reuters recently asked experts in the mobile phone industry to weigh in on Sproxil's technology. This follow-up piece on the original article gives readers some interesting feedback on our MPATM technology that powers NAFDAC's Mobile Authentication Service (MAS). The three experts, Derek Kerton (The Kerton Group), Cindy Krum (Rank Mobile) and Jacob Sharony (Mobius Consulting), provide technology consultancy services to some of the world's largest companies, including Sony, Paypal, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom and Northrop Grumman.

Comments from the experts include:

The best apps might not be 3D games on the iPhone, but rather simple SMS programs that make a real difference. -- Derek Kerton, The Kerton Group

“I think this technology is great, and it sounds like it can be easily adapted to verify lots of products – both high-dollar and more mainstream.” -- Cindy Krum, Rank Mobile

Cindy also notes the need for more consumer awareness on the risk of taking a fake drug:

“To see success the project will have to be embraced and evangelized off-line in mass media. People will only use this technology if they understand the risks and trust the results”

The experts had a few points that we would like to address. Here is the response we sent:

Thank you to the experts for their comments. We are excited that there is growing interest in our technology and services. I’d like to address some of the questions/concerns raised so that readers may be able to discuss our solutions in more detail.

We set out to design a service that 2 billion people in low-to-medium income countries could easily use. The service has to be as secure as first-world options, and not require a large marketing campaign to retrain 2 billion people. With this in mind, we went with SMS on the mobile phone.

We offer a service not an app – there is no download or install process required. Text messaging is already pre-installed as a GSM standard on the vast majority of GSM phones made in the last decade, including the older second-hand phones often seen in developing nations.

Relatively lower income levels in developing nations means that offering an app to download and install is not scalable – it requires a data plan, which comes with an extra charge to the user. Using barcodes (1D and 2D) could work for those users who have cameraphones with autofocus and mobile internet data plans to upload the scanned barcodes for authentication. Sadly, data plans are not common among the masses outside the developed world. These are some of the reasons that led us to design our solution around a toll-free text message number. Consumers don’t have to worry about costs any longer, and legitimate brand owners are willing to foot the bill.

In our technology design phase, we also looked at a “chip and pin” model, where two codes are entered and jointly authenticated. This could work in countries that have good electronic trade systems, such as South Africa and in some parts of India and China. However, in the cash-based societies where drug counterfeiting is a major problem, one rarely gets a receipt for purchases. Thus, there is no easy way to reliably generate a receipt with a PIN.

We focused on what is already working in these cash-based societies. The prepaid cell phone market has tripled in five years (2001 to 2006). This multi-million dollar market is growing at 80%-90% annually in Asia and Latin America – and that was in 2006, I believe it’s even more exciting now. I contend that the popularity of prepaid phones hinges on the successful prepaid airtime voucher model where consumers buy a voucher with cash (often by the street or in traffic), scratch off a panel, send a code and get airtime to make a phone call. This method has been wildly successful in cash-based societies, and we’re leveraging the success to help solve a grave problem – counterfeit medication – in these same societies. Consumers already know how to scratch and send codes, and hackers have been largely unsuccessful at making fake prepaid voucher cards. The GSM technology we leverage is a great example of “good enough” security – not overly complicated, yet secure enough to power 4 billion phones worldwide.

Awareness on counterfeits is growing. There are now some good online resources for advocacy – the Partnership for Safe Medicines comes to mind. As local enforcement efforts are increased over time, we’ve seen consumers get savvier. We invite foundations and social media houses to help raise awareness on drug quality issues, so that folks at the so-called bottom of the pyramid don’t get fake drugs in exchange for their hard-earned cash.

Prepaid stats available here

Experts weigh in on Sproxil's technology

Reuters recently asked experts in the mobile phone industry to weigh in on Sproxil's technology. This follow-up piece on the original article gives readers some interesting feedback on our MPATM technology that powers NAFDAC's Mobile Authentication Service (MAS). The three experts, Derek Kerton (The Kerton Group), Cindy Krum (Rank Mobile) and Jacob Sharony (Mobius Consulting), provide technology consultancy services to some of the world's largest companies, including Sony, Paypal, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom and Northrop Grumman.

Comments from the experts include:

The best apps might not be 3D games on the iPhone, but rather simple SMS programs that make a real difference. -- Derek Kerton, The Kerton Group

“I think this technology is great, and it sounds like it can be easily adapted to verify lots of products – both high-dollar and more mainstream.” -- Cindy Krum, Rank Mobile

Cindy also notes the need for more consumer awareness on the risk of taking a fake drug:

“To see success the project will have to be embraced and evangelized off-line in mass media. People will only use this technology if they understand the risks and trust the results”

The experts had a few points that we would like to address. Here is the response we sent:

Thank you to the experts for their comments. We are excited that there is growing interest in our technology and services. I’d like to address some of the questions/concerns raised so that readers may be able to discuss our solutions in more detail.

We set out to design a service that 2 billion people in low-to-medium income countries could easily use. The service has to be as secure as first-world options, and not require a large marketing campaign to retrain 2 billion people. With this in mind, we went with SMS on the mobile phone.

We offer a service not an app – there is no download or install process required. Text messaging is already pre-installed as a GSM standard on the vast majority of GSM phones made in the last decade, including the older second-hand phones often seen in developing nations.

Relatively lower income levels in developing nations means that offering an app to download and install is not scalable – it requires a data plan, which comes with an extra charge to the user. Using barcodes (1D and 2D) could work for those users who have cameraphones with autofocus and mobile internet data plans to upload the scanned barcodes for authentication. Sadly, data plans are not common among the masses outside the developed world. These are some of the reasons that led us to design our solution around a toll-free text message number. Consumers don’t have to worry about costs any longer, and legitimate brand owners are willing to foot the bill.

In our technology design phase, we also looked at a “chip and pin” model, where two codes are entered and jointly authenticated. This could work in countries that have good electronic trade systems, such as South Africa and in some parts of India and China. However, in the cash-based societies where drug counterfeiting is a major problem, one rarely gets a receipt for purchases. Thus, there is no easy way to reliably generate a receipt with a PIN.

We focused on what is already working in these cash-based societies. The prepaid cell phone market has tripled in five years (2001 to 2006). This multi-million dollar market is growing at 80%-90% annually in Asia and Latin America – and that was in 2006, I believe it’s even more exciting now. I contend that the popularity of prepaid phones hinges on the successful prepaid airtime voucher model where consumers buy a voucher with cash (often by the street or in traffic), scratch off a panel, send a code and get airtime to make a phone call. This method has been wildly successful in cash-based societies, and we’re leveraging the success to help solve a grave problem – counterfeit medication – in these same societies. Consumers already know how to scratch and send codes, and hackers have been largely unsuccessful at making fake prepaid voucher cards. The GSM technology we leverage is a great example of “good enough” security – not overly complicated, yet secure enough to power 4 billion phones worldwide.

Awareness on counterfeits is growing. There are now some good online resources for advocacy – the Partnership for Safe Medicines comes to mind. As local enforcement efforts are increased over time, we’ve seen consumers get savvier. We invite foundations and social media houses to help raise awareness on drug quality issues, so that folks at the so-called bottom of the pyramid don’t get fake drugs in exchange for their hard-earned cash.

Prepaid stats available here

Reuters: Mobile startup takes on drug counterfeiters

Reuters just featured Sproxil's progress on securing valuable brands and keeping consumers safe from counterfeits. The detailed article comes complete with a Sproxil factbox, video interview with our CFO and Strategist and a Reuters exclusive 5-day entrepreneur journal from our CEO. It's been very exciting for us as we continue to grow steadily. We keep providing extra value to our clients and partners and, with the help of journalists who go the extra mile, expose to the world our solution that is already keeping consumers away from fakes in West Africa.

Thanks for your support.

Reuters: Mobile startup takes on drug counterfeiters

Reuters just featured Sproxil's progress on securing valuable brands and keeping consumers safe from counterfeits. The detailed article comes complete with a Sproxil factbox, video interview with our CFO and Strategist and a Reuters exclusive 5-day entrepreneur journal from our CEO. It's been very exciting for us as we continue to grow steadily. We keep providing extra value to our clients and partners and, with the help of journalists who go the extra mile, expose to the world our solution that is already keeping consumers away from fakes in West Africa.

Thanks for your support.

Recent media coverage

Today has been an extremely busy day at the Sproxil offices. In addition to the piece in the Wall Street Journal we also got coverage by Venture Capital Dispatch and by Reuters. Today Reuters posted a video interview we gave a while back, but they had to take time to properly edit it. Reuters also included an image and link for the video in their daily update email to all their subscribers. We're very excited about the coverage and happy that people outside of the developing world are learning more about the counterfeit problem that we are trying to address. It also seems to have generated interest from some potential business partners, investors and customers too, so we might not be able to post as often as we like for a bit, but don't worry that's a good thing for all of us - especially consumers in the developing world.

Recent media coverage

Today has been an extremely busy day at the Sproxil offices. In addition to the piece in the Wall Street Journal we also got coverage by Venture Capital Dispatch and by Reuters. Today Reuters posted a video interview we gave a while back, but they had to take time to properly edit it. Reuters also included an image and link for the video in their daily update email to all their subscribers. We're very excited about the coverage and happy that people outside of the developing world are learning more about the counterfeit problem that we are trying to address. It also seems to have generated interest from some potential business partners, investors and customers too, so we might not be able to post as often as we like for a bit, but don't worry that's a good thing for all of us - especially consumers in the developing world.