Failing 10 times in business, Jason Njoku beat the odds to create ‘Africa’s own Netflix’

October 13, 2019 at 11:00 am | Diaspora Connect, Success Story

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

October 13, 2019 at 11:00 am | Diaspora Connect, Success Story

Jason Njoku. Pic Credit: africaentrepreneur.com

Jason Njoku has established himself in the African digital content market by bringing Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) to a global audience.

In the process, he has raised over $40m in investment from international VCs, including Tiger Global, Kinnevik, RISE Capital and Canal+.

The tech millionaire is the founder and CEO of iROKOTV, a mobile entertainment and internet TV platform that’s particularly popular for its impressive catalogue of African ‘Nollywood’ movies.

“I built the business from scratch – just me, a computer and three screens in a small room in east London (UK),” he said.

After failed attempts at previous businesses in the UK, Jason returned to Nigeria in 2010 to build relations with local movie producers and acquired content rights for his new startup, iROKOTV.

Jason Njoku, CEO and founder of iROKO TV. Pic Credit:techgistafrica.com

According to Smallstarter, Jason’s business would not have been possible without the £90,000 ($114,000) contribution of his friend and business partner, Sebastian.

The business has since grown and attracted up to $40 million in investment funding from foreign investors, particularly, venture capital investors.

Described by Forbes Magazine as “the Netflix of Africa”, iROKOTV raised $19 million in additional funding to expand its business into Francophone countries in Africa in January 2016.

Since its launch in 2010, it has amassed the world’s largest online Nollywood content catalogue. It is one of Africa’s largest internet TV providers, with a dedicated mobile app, IROKOtv, as well as, ROK TV channels on Sky in the UK and DStv across Africa.

It also produces its own original TV series and movies. For a company producing startling content in the linear TV market, Jason gives the credit to his wife, Mary Njoku, who spearheaded his remarkable achievement.

Pic Credit:lindaikejisblog.com

In 2013, Njoku was crowned as the CNBC Africa West Africa Young Business Leader and in 2014, he was recognized as one of Fast Company’s Top 1000 Most Creative People in Business.

Jason is a graduate of chemistry from the University of Manchester. He is adding value and boosting the Nigerian tech ecosystem in a number of ways, one of them being SPARK.

SPARK is an initiative that invests in innovative technology within the African continent. It is currently supporting some start-ups, including Hotels.ng, Drinks.ng, Foto, ToLet.com.ng, Ogavenue, Paystack and Medsaf.

“I ‘failed’ at entrepreneurship 10 times before iROKO. I had no Hollywood, rose-tinted view of what entrepreneurship was or should be. When I was failing, I assumed that once you “made it” then everything else would be easy. That you could sit back a bit, take a breath and enjoy what you have. Now I know this isn’t the case.”

“Starting a business, and getting some traction, is tough. Brutal. No doubt about that. But scaling and building, and seeing off incumbents, while juggling a team, investors, all the while trying to grow, it’s tougher still”, he told Africa Business Insight.

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