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Born and raised in Deptford, Southeast London, Jason’s upbringing was marked by the support of his single mother. His childhood was shaped by the resilience of his mother, who worked tirelessly in the National Health Service to provide for Jason and his three sisters and brother. Despite facing financial constraints, Jason’s pursuit of education remained unwavering. Jason’s educational journey took him from London to a village in Nigeria, where he spent three formative years from the age of 12 to 15. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, he completed his A-Levels and secured a place at The University of Manchester, where he studied Chemistry, graduating in 2005 with a 2:1.
Entrepreneurial JourneyHis foray into entrepreneurship began with the launch of Brash Magazine, a student publication that ran for three years before closing in 2008. However, several failed ventures followed, including a blog network, a T-shirt business, and a web design company, leading Jason back to his mother’s house in Deptford. It was within those familiar walls that the spark of iROKOtv ignited. Recognizing the lack of a Nollywood online distribution business, Jason took the plunge. He flew to Lagos, armed with the financial support of his best friend, Bastian Gotter, also a University of Manchester graduate. Working from a two-bedroom apartment in Festac Town, Lagos, Jason secured a deal with YouTube in Germany to become the official channel partner for Nollywood content.
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The launch of NollywoodLove, a YouTube channel, in 2010 marked a turning point. Within two months, it became profitable, catching the attention of US-based venture capital fund Tiger Global, thanks to an article by Sarah Lacy from Tech Crunch. The Series A investment of $3 million from Tiger Global in 2010 paved the way for the birth of iROKOtv on December 1, 2011. Since then, Jason and Bastian Gotter have raised an additional $22 million from international VCs, transforming iROKOtv into a global force with viewers from 178 countries.
Challenges and SetbacksNjoku’s journey into entrepreneurship wasn’t a smooth ride. IROKOtv marked his 11th attempt at starting a business. This self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur found himself at the drawing board again after a series of failed enterprises. Yet, amidst these setbacks, the idea of creating a new distribution platform for Nollywood movies dawned on him. In 2015, recognizing the challenges posed by Africa’s broadband infrastructure, Jason Njoku shifted the company’s focus to an Android mobile app. Despite challenges, including letting go of some startups considered failed businesses, Jason Njoku’s commitment to innovation and investment in technology has been unshaken.
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Final ThoughtsJason Njoku’s journey is not just about building a successful business; it’s a narrative of resilience, vision, and the unending belief that setbacks are stepping stones to success. From failed enterprises to founding a global video-on-demand service, Jason’s story is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.
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