ChektAhora: The Irish diagnostics start-up ready to take over Latin America

14 Nov 2022

ChektAhora CEO and co-founder Blaine Doyle. Image: ChektAhora

Using Mexico as a launch pad, ChektAhora co-founder Blaine Doyle wants to take the at-home health testing business to Brazil and Colombia.

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For most Irish start-up founders, Mexico would seem like an unconventional country of choice to expand one’s business. But not ChektAhora CEO Blaine Doyle, who considers Latin America to be “the next big frontier for technology and business”.

While start-ups from this country are not averse to going global in unconventional markets, Doyle – a previous winner at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur – chose Mexico City as the base for his diagnostics company ChektAhora.

A molecular biologist turned entrepreneur, Doyle founded ChektAhora with CCO Rodrigo Cervantes in 2018. The Irish company provides at-home testing, treatments and vaccination services primarily in the Latin American market.

Doyle told that ChektAhora, which he describes as a “full-stack healthcare company”, was the first to do confidential at-home laboratory testing in the region.

Post-Covid boom

ChektAhora initially focused on women’s health and direct-to-patient vaccinations against human papillomavirus (HPV) to combat a growing issue in the region and prevent cervical cancer.

The start-up has since responded to demand in other areas of at-home testing – ranging from fertility to oncology. It also extended its services to at-home Covid-19 testing during the pandemic.

“We provide people access to high-quality molecular testing connected to an integrated web of healthcare solutions,” Doyle said. “This means patients get their much-needed test results and then downstream solutions to return to their healthy selves.”

Starting and running a business half the world away from Ireland has not been a piece of cake for Doyle. But the company has been experiencing a post-Covid boom in demand for testing.

“Mexico being not the usual place for an Irish start-up brought its initial hurdles but, having navigated the regulatory environment and our laboratory infrastructure established, our focus has been scaling out of Covid-19 testing and building new business units to support growth,” he said.

“Post-Covid-19, we have been experiencing an amazing flux of growth that really shows how the market as matured in respect to both e-commerce and healthcare. We are really excited in what we are building because it directly impacts people’s health.”

Looking southwards

Although ChektAhora currently only serves the Mexican market, it plans to use the country as a launch pad for Brazil and Colombia, which collectively have a population of more than 260m.

Just last month, the company announced it raised €2.5m in funding from the founder of Northern Irish testing company Randox, SOSV and Amplifica Capital.

Doyle said the team now aims to raise up to €15m next year to support its planned international expansion and become “the biggest preventative medicine provider in Latin America”.

He believes that while the investment scene is “still maturing”, the next five years will see some of the region’s best start-ups rise to the top.

“Latin America has had a fintech revolution, which laid down essential infrastructure for the digital transformation that Covid-19 brought,” Doyle said.

“This has meant that the huge investments made by some of the world’s largest venture funds ensured this region has become a frontier for new start-ups and technology.”

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic