Jason Njoku

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jason Njoku
Born Jason Chukwuma Njoku
(1980-12-11) 11 December 1980 (age 37)
Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Founding iROKOtv
Website https://jason.com.ng

Jason Chukwuma Njoku (born 11 December 1980) is a Nigerian entrepreneur, film magnate and African start-up investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv, one of the early video-on-demand movie platforms for Nigerian movies (also known as Nollywood)

A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, iROKOtv is 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, and has described himself as 'solidly working class – a council estate kid if ever there was one'.[2] His mother raised him and his four brothers and sisters 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 – 15. After he returned from Nigeria, he attended college to complete his A Levels, before securing a place at The University of Manchester where he read Chemistry. He graduated in 2004 with a 2:1 and launched Brash Magazine, a student publication which ran for two years, before it closed in 2005[3]

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,[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] He worked from a two-bedroom apartment in Festac, Lagos,[7] and struck a deal with YouTube in Germany to be the official channel partner for Nollywood company.[2]

In 2010, Njoku and Gotter launched NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel, which was profitable within two months of launch.[8] 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, early investors in Facebook, who were interested in expanding their reach in emerging markets.[9]

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.[10] 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[11] and have used the investment to build an extensive film catalogue of 5,000 movies,[12] launch offices in Lagos, New York and London and invest in improving the company's technology resource.

In 2015, Njoku decided to focus the company's attention on an Android mobile app,[13][14] 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'.[15] On 29 August 2013, Njoku was named as the CNBC All Africa Business Awards Young Leader of the Year for West Africa.[16] He has also been named as one of Fast Company's Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19] In 2015, Jason Njoku in a blog post officially announced they're letting go of four startups considered failed businesses:[20] 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, Lagos, on 18 August 2012, in front of friends, colleagues and Nollywood celebrities.[21][22] They welcomed their first son, Jason Obinna Njoku, on 30 July 2013[23] and a second child, Nwakaego Annabel Njoku, was born on 24 August 2015.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC African Dream – Jason Njoku
  2. ^ a b Forbes Africa – Jason Njoku: South London’s Mr Nollywood
  3. ^ BBC – Making a fortune by distributing Nigerian films online
  4. ^ Tech Loy – "Moving Back In With My Mum Was Kind Of Humiliating" – Jason Njoku
  5. ^ Akilah Net – iROKOtv’s Millionaire Founder on Starting a Company, Staying the Course, and Sailing Past Failure
  6. ^ "Iroko's Jason Njoku Is Creating The Next Netflix in Nigeria". Fast Company. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "Has Nollywood streaming lost its appeal? – Ventures Africa". VenturesAfrica.com. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Reuters – Nigerian films get boost from UK-based online startup iROKOtv
  11. ^ Dow Jones Venture Wire – Africa's Answer to Netflix, iROKO Raises $8M to Scale
  12. ^ IT Web Africa – Interview: iROKO CEO Jason Njoku
  13. ^ Jason.com.ng – .Com. Goodbye
  14. ^ "App-Only iROKOtv is live – TechCabal". TechCabal.com. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  15. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong (11 July 2012). "Ten Young African Millionaires To Watch". Forbes. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  16. ^ Human IPO – iROKOtv CEO wins CNBC award
  17. ^ "Most Creative People in Business 1000: The Complete List". Fast Company. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  18. ^ Pando Daily – Pando Daily – Nigerian movie mogul raises $2 million more for local angel investing
  19. ^ Shu, Catherine (26 May 2015). "Nigeria's Hotels.ng Grabs $1.2M To Expand Listings Across Africa – TechCrunch". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  20. ^ "Jason Njoku pulls the plug on 4 more SPARK-invested startups". Techpoint.ng. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Wedding Photos: Mr and Mrs Jason Njoku". LindaIkeji.Blogspot.co.uk. August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  23. ^ Bella Naija – It’s a Boy for Tech Media Mogul Jason Njoku & Nollywood Actress Mary Remmy | Meet Baby Jason Obinna
  24. ^ "Jason Njoku of IrokoTV & Wife Mary Remmy Welcome Baby No. 2!". BellaNaija.com. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 

External links[edit]