Co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv
For a casual observer, the entry of Jason Chukwuma Njoku into entertainment was purely accidental. But that would be true if destiny did not play any role in the affairs of man. For, examples abound all over the world of highly successful people that ended up in destinations different from where they set out to go.
Njoku is one of such success stories. He did not set out to be a player in the entertainment industry. His sentry could rightly be described as accidental. But he has made a huge success of that accident.
Njoku, a British-born Nigerian to whom entrepreneurship has always held an attraction, is not one to be discouraged by failures or setbacks. It is the reason he was undeterred when his attempt at several businesses, which included a blog network, T-shirt production and web design, between 2005 and 2010, failed. He did not mourn his losses, but quickly saw an opportunity in the growing popularity of Nollywood movies in Europe to hatch a business plan that would not go the way of others.
He reckoned that the West have Hulu and Netflix, while Africa had none of such online distribution channels. He therefor came up with the plan to start an online distribution of movies from Nollywood, the second biggest in the world in terms of volume, in Europe and other parts of the world. He took time to study the industry, to ensure the new business was a success story.
With financial assistance from his best friend, Bastian Gotter, a fellow graduate of the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom, he travelled to Lagos to work out the details of his new business, particularly purchase of the online license for Nollywood films.
That year, in 2010, he and Gotter launched NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel, which showed signs of profitability in just two months. An article by Sarah Lacy on NollywoodLove in Tech Crunch caught the attention of Tiger Global, a United States-based venture capital fund, which was keen on expanding its reach in emerging markets.
The two friends secured a three million dollar investment from Tiger Global, which enabled them to launch a separate movie-on-demand platform, iROKOtv, on December 1, 2011. The new site attracted viewers from 178 countries, a development that announced the arrival of iROKOtv on the entertainment scene.
With the unexpected growth in acceptance of the new channel, the partners raised an additional $22 million from international venture capital funds, including Investment AB Kinnevik and RISE Capital, with which they were able to build an impressive catalogue of 5, 000 movies.
Njoku shifted the company’s focus to an Android mobile application, away from a streamlining platform, as a way of avoiding having to deal with broadband problems in Africa.
iROKOtv is a Nigerian enterprise owned by Jason, his wife, Mary Remmy Njoku and his friend and classmate, Gotter