Jason Njoku

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Jason Njoku
Jason Njoku 01.jpg
Njoku in 2020
Born
Jason Chukwuma Njoku

(1980-12-11) 11 December 1980 (age 41)
London, United Kingdom
NationalityBritish Nigerian
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forFounder of iROKOtv
Spouse
(m. 2012)
Websitejason.com.ng

Jason Chukwuma Njoku (born 11 December 1980) is a British-Nigerian businessman. He is the co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv, a video-on-demand service for Nigerian movies.

A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, iROKOtv was Njoku's 11th attempt at starting a business. He came up with the idea of launching a new distribution platform for Nollywood whilst living at home with his mum, aged 30, after a number of failed enterprises.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Jason was born and raised in Deptford, South East London, his mother raised him and his three sisters and brother by herself, whilst working a full-time job in the National Health Service. He attended school in London, then moved to a village in Nigeria from the age of 12 to 15. After he returned to the United Kingdom, he attended college to complete his A-Levels, before securing a place at The University of Manchester where he read Chemistry. He graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 and launched Brash Magazine, a student publication which ran for three years before it closed in 2008.[2][3][4]

Career[edit]

iROKO[edit]

After a number of failed enterprises between 2005 and 2010, which included a blog network, a T-shirt business and a web design company,[5] Njoku moved back home into his mother's house in Deptford. It was there that he came up with the idea of starting a Nollywood online distribution business, "The West had Hulu and Netflix – Africa had nothing", notes Njoku.[6] Having studied the industry from afar, he flew to Lagos, thanks to the financial help of his best friend Bastian Gotter, a fellow University of Manchester graduate, and started purchasing the online licences of Nollywood movies.[7] He worked from a two-bedroom apartment in Festac Town, Lagos,[8] and struck a deal with YouTube in Germany to be the official channel partner for Nollywood company.[9][failed verification]

In 2010, Njoku and his former partner Bastian Gotter[10] launched NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel, which was profitable within two months of launch.[11] That same year, thanks to an article by Sarah Lacy who worked at the time for Tech Crunch, NollywoodLove caught the attention of US-based venture capital fund Tiger Global who were interested in expanding their reach in emerging markets.[12]

Series A investment of $3 million was secured from Tiger Global in 2010 and the company launched a stand-alone video-on-demand movie platform, iROKOtv, on 1 December 2011. The site drew in viewers from 178 countries around the world.[13] Njoku and Gotter have since gone on to raise an additional $22  million from international VCs, with inclusion from Investment AB Kinnevik and RISE Capital[14] and have used the investment to build an extensive film catalog of 5,000 movies,[15] launch offices in Lagos, New York, and London and invest in improving the company's technology resource. Iroko has gone to make other funding investment totalling $40 million [16]

In 2015, Njoku decided to focus the company's attention on an Android mobile app,[17][18] rather than a streaming platform to combat broadband infrastructure problems that Africa poses.

In July 2012, he was cited by Forbes Africa as one of the 'Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch'.[19] On 29 August 2013, Njoku was named as the CNBC All Africa Business Awards Young Leader of the Year for West Africa.[20][failed verification] He has also been named as one of Fast Company's Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business.[21]

Spark[edit]

In August 2013, alongside his business partners Bastian Gotter and Mary Remmy Njoku, Njoku launched a $2 million investment vehicle for Lagos-based Internet start-ups called Spark.[22] The company initially invested in 11 companies, including a drinks distribution company called Drinks.ng, a real-estate and property online letting agency called ToLet.com.ng, and a hotel room booking site, called Hotels.ng, which has gone on to raise $1.2 million in VC investment from EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund and Omidyar Network.[23] In 2015, Jason Njoku in a blog post officially announced they're letting go of four startups considered failed businesses:[24] Bus.com.ng (an online bus ticketing service ), Insured.ng (an insurance comparison platform), Giddimint.com.ng (an online fashion store) and Christians.ng, an online dating platform for Christians.

Personal life[edit]

Jason Njoku married Nollywood film star and producer Mary Remmy Njoku in Festac Town, Lagos, on 18 August 2012.[25][26] They welcomed their first son, Jason Obinna Njoku, on 30 July 2013,[27] a second child, Nwakaego Annabel Njoku, was born on 24 August 2015[28] and a third child, Nnenna Amber Njoku born on 4 August 2017.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC African Dream – Jason Njoku
  2. ^ BBC – Making a fortune by distributing Nigerian films online
  3. ^ "Nigeria's film industry: a potential gold mine?". Africa Renewal. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  4. ^ "JASON NJOKU, A SUCCESS STORY". Techgist Africa | Africa Leading Tech News, Reviews and Tips. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  5. ^ Tech Loy – "Moving Back In With My Mum Was Kind Of Humiliating" – Jason Njoku
  6. ^ Akilah Net – iROKOtv’s Millionaire Founder on Starting a Company, Staying the Course, and Sailing Past Failure
  7. ^ "Iroko's Jason Njoku Is Creating The Next Netflix in Nigeria". Fast Company. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Has Nollywood streaming lost its appeal? – Ventures Africa". VenturesAfrica.com. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  9. ^ Forbes Africa – Jason Njoku: South London’s Mr Nollywood
  10. ^ "IrokoTv Co-Founder Bastian Gotter Leaves Company To Pursue Startup Investments". Forbes. 30 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Iroko Partners: Demand proves insatiable for Nollywood on the net". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  12. ^ Lacy, Sarah (14 May 2011). "You Think Hollywood Is Rough? Welcome to the Chaos, Excitement and Danger of Nollywood – TechCrunch". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  13. ^ Reuters – Nigerian films get boost from UK-based online startup iROKOtv
  14. ^ Dow Jones Venture Wire – Africa's Answer to Netflix, iROKO Raises $8M to Scale
  15. ^ IT Web Africa – Interview: iROKO CEO Jason Njoku
  16. ^ Oluwafemi, Babakole (25 January 2016). "iROKOtv Just Raised $19 Million, Total Funding Now At $40 Million". TechCabal.com.
  17. ^ Jason.com.ng – .Com. Goodbye Archived 21 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "App-Only iROKOtv is live – TechCabal". TechCabal.com. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  19. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong (11 July 2012). "Ten Young African Millionaires To Watch". Forbes. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  20. ^ Human IPO – iROKOtv CEO wins CNBC award
  21. ^ "Most Creative People in Business 1000: The Complete List". Fast Company. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  22. ^ Pando Daily – Pando Daily – Nigerian movie mogul raises $2 million more for local angel investing
  23. ^ Shu, Catherine (26 May 2015). "Nigeria's Hotels.ng Grabs $1.2M To Expand Listings Across Africa – TechCrunch". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Jason Njoku pulls the plug on 4 more SPARK-invested startups". Techpoint.ng. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  25. ^ Twitter, Social media junkie at Techpoint I'm always open to new experiences Follow us on; Facebook, like TechPoint ng on (3 March 2017). "8 things you didn't know about Jason Njoku, founder of iROKOtv". TechPoint.ng. Retrieved 19 July 2017. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  26. ^ "Wedding Photos: Mr and Mrs Jason Njoku". LindaIkeji.Blogspot.co.uk. August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  27. ^ Bella Naija – It’s a Boy for Tech Media Mogul Jason Njoku & Nollywood Actress Mary Remmy | Meet Baby Jason Obinna
  28. ^ "Jason Njoku of IrokoTV & Wife Mary Remmy Welcome Baby No. 2!". BellaNaija.com. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  29. ^ "COVID-19 isn't spiritual – Nollywood actress Maryremmy Njoku". P.M. News. 19 January 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Jason Njoku at Wikimedia Commons