Jason Njoku is a serial entrepreneur, film magnate, and African start-up investor. He is the CEO and co-founder of iROKO Partners, an online distribution company that focuses on the Nigeria Entertainment Industry.
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Jason Njoku Biography
Jason Njoku was born on the 11th of December, 1980 in Deptford, South-East London and raised by a single parent, his mother who was a full time employee at National Health Service.
He started his education in London before moving to a village in Nigeria at the age of 12. Jason then moved back to London at the age of 15 and completed his A’levels. He has a degree in chemistry from University of Manchester.
Jason is married to Mary Remmy Njoku, a Nigerian movie star and producer. They are blessed with three children; Nwakaego Annabel Njoku, Nnenna Njoku, and Jason Obinna Njoku.
Entrepreneurial Journey of Jason Njoku
Jason tried out a couple of businesses which failed after graduating from the University. He then moved back to his mother’s apartment in Deptford at the age of 30. This is to say that failure should never stop us from trying again, you never know which will work. It was at this period that the idea of starting the Netflix of Africa struck him. He saw an opportunity in online distribution of Nigerian movies and came down to Lagos, Nigeria to understudy the industry. This idea was funded by his friend Bastain who became his business partner.
Jason Njoku and Bastain Gotter first started a YouTube channel that streamed African movies for Africans. This platform became profitable in a couple of months and they subsequently purchased online access of Nollywood movies and worked tirelessly to make their business work.
Ever since Jason launched iROKOtv, the company has grown and birthed new businesses including the successful production house, ROK Studios.
Expansion of iROKO Partners
At the early stage, iROKO Partners caught the attention of Tiger Global company, US-based venture capital from an article published on Tech Crunch. The company secured an initial investment of $3million from Tiger Global which they used to launch its streaming platform, iROKOtv in 2011.
iROKOtv offered majority of its content for free and later monetized through subscription service called iROKOtv Plus. As the business grew, they secured an additional $22million investment fund from some international venture capitals. The funds helped iROKO Partners to improve their technology resources, increase their film catalogue and expand across Lagos, London, and New York.
iROKO’s online distribution also launched a free Nigerian music service platform, iROKING in 2011 where selected African music can be streamed.
Over the years, the company has grown and diversified its distribution model from streaming content to the linear TV market. Iroko Partners launched its first TV channels, iROKO Play, and iROKO Plus on Star Times in 2015.
Subsidiaries of Iroko Partners
Provides opportunities for African filmmakers, musicians and young talent to produce, distribute and monetize short film content on global networks such as iTunes, Goggle play and YouTube.
Develops, produces and finances Nigerian films and TV series. The company has produced numerous TV Series including Festac Town, Aso Ebi, Cougars, and Husbands of Lagos. They launched ROK channels on Sky (channel 344) and DSTV (channel 168) in 2016. Early this year, the company launched other channels, ROK 2 and ROK 3 on DSTV and GoTV.
It is the content distribution and licensing division of Iroko Partners. The company partnered with international platform such as StarTimes, Zulu to license Iroko’s extensive library of Nollywood films and TV series.
100% Nigerian Afrobeats music and Lifestyle channel. iROKO partnered with CANAL+ International to bring Nigerian music to French Speaking African countries.
Other Business Interest of Jason Njoku
After recording success in Nigerian Entertainment Industry, Jason co-founded SPARK, an investment company with Bastain Gotter and Mary Remmy Njoku in 2013. The company invests, supports, and develops aspiring Nigerian tech and internet entrepreneurs. SPARK approach to investment is not the typical approach used by Venture Capitalist, they provide legal, marketing, technical and administrative assistance to their funded companies. They have invested in many tech start-up, some of which have packed bus while some are waxing stronger and stronger. The company’s portfolio includes Drinks.ng, Hotels.ng, Tolet.com.ng, OgaVenue, Paystack, and many others.
He has also invested in Blackbet NG, an online sports betting brand.
Jason Njoku’s Recognition and Awards
- Forbes’ Ten Young Africa Millionaires to Watch 2012
- Entrepreneur of the Year (Technology) at the Future Awards 2012
- Young Leader of the Year for West Africa at CNBC All Africa Business Awards 2013
- 1000 Most Creative People in Business 2014
- Outstanding Industry Achievement at West Africa Mobile Awards 2016
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