Jason Njoku

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Jason Chukwuma Njoku
African Innovator Jason Njoku.jpg
Jason interviewed by Topnaija.com
Born (1980-12-11) December 11, 1980 (age 38)
London, United Kingdom
NationalityNigerian
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forfounding IrokoTV
Title
Board member of
Spouse(s)Mary Remmy Njoku
Children2
Websitehttps://jason.com.ng

Editor: Marthia Keorapetse

Jason Njoku is a Nigerian-British social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of IrokoTV, a web-based platform that provides free and paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. Njoku is also the CEO and founder of iROKO Partners, an online Nigerian entertainment media distribution company that offers online media products; director of e-commerce website, Drinks.ng; and advisor at Hotels.ng.[1]

History

Jason Njoku was born on 11 December, 1980 in Deptford, South-East of London. He and his siblings, four brothers and a sister, were raised by a single mother who worked in the National Health Service (NHS).[2] Njoku attended school in London till the age of 12 and moved back to Nigeria, where he attended school for 3 years. After being in Nigeria till the age of 15, he returned to London and completed his Bsc, Chemistry at the University of Manchester.[3]

Between 2005 to 2010, Njoku attempted to start up a total of 11 enterprises which were all unsuccessful.[4] These included a magazine publication called 'Brash magazine' which he started after graduating from University and it lasted for two years; a blog network; a T-shirt business; and a web design company. After a series of failed business attempts, Njoku was forced to move back to his mother's house in London.

It is there where he was inspired to come up with an online Nollywood streaming and distribution platform. The idea was birthed after he encountered some difficulties finding Nollywood films online for his mother. Njoku saw a gap in the market and then researched the industry. With the help of his university friend Bastian Gotter, in 2010, Njoku and Gotter Launched NollywoodLove, a YouTube Channel where people were able to stream licensed Nollywood movies for free. The YouTube channel soon became popular and profitable within two months of launch,[5] enjoying international press coverage from CNBC, CNN and Techcrunch, which led to major investment opportunities.[6] In 2011, they began licensing and developing their own content and distribution and created a web platform that is now known as Irokotv. In January, 2017, Gotter announced his exit from iROKOTV in order to focus on investing and building startups in Africa.[7]

In August 2013, along with Bastian Gotter and Mary Remmy Njoku, Njoku launched Spark, an investment vehicle for Lagos-based Internet start-ups. He managed to raise over $2 million for the organisation.[8] The company initially invested in 11 companies, including Drinks.ng, an e-commerce specialising in alcholic and soft drinks; ToLet.com.ng, a real-estate and property online letting agency; and Hotels.ng, an online travel agency specialising in hotel bookings in Nigeria. Hotels.ng has subsequently raised $1.2 million in VC investment from EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund and Omidyar Network.[9]

In a 2015 blog post, Njoku announced that four of the startups were considered failed businesses. These included 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).[10]

Personal life

Njoku married Nollywood film star and producer Mary Remmy Njoku on 18 August 2012 in Festac, Lagos. They have two children, Jason Obinna Njoku (born 20 July, 2013) and Nwakaego Annabel Njoku (born 24 August, 2015).[11]

Investments

Bastian Gotter was the first investor of Irokotv. In 2010 he invested a total of $150,000 into the YouTube channel, which attracted a series of investors such as US-Based Venture Capital, Tiger Global Management, in which they secured $3 million by the end of 2011.[12]

By 2014, through subsequent financing from Tiger as well as Kinnevik and Rise Capital $21 million was raised.[13]

Njoku managed to raise over $2 million for Spark, an investment vehicle for Lagos-based start-ups.[14]

Achievements

Njoku's contribution to the African film industry has earned him great recognition. In 2012, Njoku was cited by Forbes Africa as one of the "Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch".[15] In 2013, Njoku was crowned as CNBC Africa West's young business leader and in 2014, he was recognized as one of Fast Company’s Top 1000 most creative people in business.[16]

References