Jason Njoku: THE IDEA BEHIND IROKO TV
We all know about Iroko tv an online movie platform for Nollywood movies well today we’re going to be meeting the brain box behind Iroko tv Jason Chukuwma Njoku.
Jason Chukwuma Njoku a British-born Nigerian Entrepreneur was born on the 11th of December 1980, he is also a film magnate and African start-up investor. He is the Co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv. 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.
After a number of failed enterprises between 2005-2010, which included a blog network, a T-shirt business and a web design company, Jason moved back home into his mum’s house in Deptford. It was here that he came up with the idea of starting a Nollywood distribution business, he thought of the fact that the west had Hulu and Netflix but Africa had no online movie platform and he thought of creating something that would work for Africa. He studied the Industry from afar, then moved 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. He worked from a two bedroom apartment in Festac, Lagos, Nigeria and struck a deal with YouTube in Germany to be the official Channel partner for Nollywood company.
In 2010, Njoku and Gotter launched NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel, which was profitable within two months of launch.That same year, thanks to a prominent 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.
Series A investment of $3m was secured from Tiger Global in 2010 and that was how iROKOtv was launched on the 1st of December 2011 as a stand-alone video-on-demand movie platform. The site drew in viewers from 178 countries around the world. Njoku and Gotter have since gone on to raise an additional $22M from international VCs, with inclusion from Investment AB Kinnevik and RISE Capital and have used the investment to build an extensive film catalogue of 5,000 movies, launched offices in Lagos, New York and London and invest in improving the company’s technology resource.
In July 2012, he was cited by Forbes Africa as one of the ‘Ten Young African Millionaires to Watch’. On 29 August 2013, Njoku was named as the CNBC All Africa Business Awards Young Leader of the Year for West Africa. He has also been named as one of Fast Company’s Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business.
In August 2013, himself and his business partners Bastian Gotter and Mary Remmy Njoku, Njoku launched a $2m investment Vehicle for Lagos-based Internet start-ups called Spark. The company initially invested in 11 companies, including a Drinks distribution company called Drinks.ng, a real-estate/ property online letting agency called ToLet.com.ng, and a Hotel room booking site, called Hotels.ng, which has gone on to raise $1.2m in VC investment from EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund and Omidyar Network. In 2015, Njoku decided to focus the company’s attention on an Android mobile app, rather than a streaming platform in order to combat broadband infrastructure problems that Africa poses.
He is happily married to a Nollywood film star and producer Mary Remmy Njoku ,They presently have two kids, Jason Obinna Njoku and Nwakaego Annabel Njoku.
Jason Njoku didn’t just start up with irokotv and then became very successful, he already had about 15 failed businesses but he didn’t give up he kept on trying. Moral lesson do not ever see yourself as a failure even if things don’t work out but see yourself as a vulnerable human that can make a mistake anytime but has room to adjust, get better, pick your remnants up and start over. Be Inspired.
Article by: Ekowa Abosede Oghoghomena