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

Jason Njoku
Njoku in 2020
Jason Chukwuma Njoku

(1980-12-11) 11 December 1980 (age 43)
London, United Kingdom
Known forFounder of iROKOtv
(m. 2012)

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, Southeast 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 licenses 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 totaling $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][21] He has also been named as one of Fast Company's Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] In 2015, Jason Njoku in a blog post officially announced they're letting go of four startups considered failed businesses:[25] 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

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

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. ^ Okwumbu-Imafidon, Ruth (30 April 2022). "After failing many times, Jason Njoku finally built a multimillion-dollar company". Nairametrics. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  22. ^ "Most Creative People in Business 1000: The Complete List". Fast Company. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  23. ^ Pando Daily – Pando Daily – Nigerian movie mogul raises $2 million more for local angel investing Archived 28 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Shu, Catherine (26 May 2015). "Nigeria's Hotels.ng Grabs $1.2M To Expand Listings Across Africa – TechCrunch". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Jason Njoku pulls the plug on 4 more SPARK-invested startups". Techpoint.ng. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  26. ^ 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)
  27. ^ "Wedding Photos: Mr and Mrs Jason Njoku". LindaIkeji.Blogspot.co.uk. August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  28. ^ Bella Naija – It’s a Boy for Tech Media Mogul Jason Njoku & Nollywood Actress Mary Remmy | Meet Baby Jason Obinna
  29. ^ "Jason Njoku of IrokoTV & Wife Mary Remmy Welcome Baby No. 2!". BellaNaija.com. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  30. ^ "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