Business, Nigeria, Top News

Jason Njoku: according to Forbes, he belongs to the list of the most promising 10 African young people!

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He is only 33 years old but according to Forbes, Jason Njoku belongs to the list of the most promising ten young millionaires of African continent.

Africa Top Success already drew the career path of this small genius.

The Nigerian Jason Njoku is one the African greatest success on the Internet. Chemist by training, graduate in Manchester University, he is the founder of iRokoTV, the most important distributor of Nigerian movies in the world. He offers an on-line subscription service for new Nigerian and Ghanaian movies for a monthly 5-dollar subscription. His site already counted more than 500 000 subscribers, and the happy founder was able to receive about 12 million dollars from private investors.

Njoku founded several on-line companies before launching Iroko Partners. He is also present in music with iROKING (for Nigerian music).

Iroko is the main partner of YouTube in Africa. It sums up more than 200 views via its channels Nollywood Love and Aruba love.

He also wants to become a key player for African cinema. “Before, the distribution of Nigerian movies was done by DVD. We thus imagined another way for producers to make money: the on-line distribution. Nollywood (“N” for Nigeria) is the generic naming to indicate Nigerian cinema which represents the world third biggest film industry, in quantity behind Bollywood (India) and Hollywood. We cannot buy all movies produced by Nollywood but we can try to look for the best and to see if our customers are going to appreciate them”

50 movies are weekly produced in Nigeria. The cost of these movies varies between $25.000 (approximately 18.000€) and $70.000 (approximately 55.000€)

Jason Njoku declared about his success: “Undoubtedly, Iroko Partners finally made Nigerian movie industry accessible to African Diaspora. Better, since we arrived and have started paying to distribute to on-line movies, producers are more than ever capable of monetizing their contents and of receiving a salary for their work rather than of seeing their income diluted in an illegal and often chaotic system of distribution.”

He employs today 81 people in Lagos, London and New York.  On its site, the company is moreover described as the one that «grows faster in Nigeria».

“On paper, I am a millionaire, very well, but (…) it is not cash in bank. We have not yet prospered, we are still not profitable, we still have long way to go”.

He manages Spark that he defines himself as “a company that creates companies”.

He was married with Mary and has a young son.

His story was not simple: he was born in England in a family of Nigerian immigrants. He was abandoned by his father soon after his birth and was brought up by a single mother who could hardly make ends meet in the popular district of East London. He succeeded in registering in faculty and making brilliant studies.

After his chemistry diploma of Manchester University, Jason Njoku tried to create his company: “I spent five good years of my life trying everything unsuccessfully”

He still remembers the time when he used to slep on the sofa of his friends. His best friend and room-mate of university, Bastien Gotter believed in him and invested in the Iroko project, his savings garthered in a few years as trader in oil.

“I trusted him as a friend. Then, I like when Diaspora people return to their country of origin to create company, they tend to feel well the local market”.

Jason Njoku decided to discover Nigeria, his country of origin where he made only some stays during his childhood and set out to conquer film producers. “It was necessary to win the trust of each”

He launched a channel on YouTube, “Nollywoodlove”, in December 2010 before developing IrokoTV platform. Investment funds followed among which, the one of American Tiger Global that placed 8 million dollars there.

His big lesson: “Tenacity is an important quality: being capable of accepting failure during five years and of continuing to be excited, enthusiastic and always in the race”.

No doubt about the continuation and it is just the beginning …

 

Original text by: Nicolas Coutain
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