iROKOtv’s Jason Njoku, Bastian Gotter and Nollywood superstar Mary Remmy-Njoku have launched SPARK - a $1m-backed company to support and develop aspiring Nigerian tech and Internet entrepreneurs.
Based in Lagos and launched just a few weeks ago, the new company has attracted attention from around the world, having featured in US-based black entertainment website BET as well as BBC World radio. It has been praised as a pioneer in revolutionizing the start-up ecosystem for young, talented Nigerians looking to make their mark in the country’s emerging tech sector.
Since its launch on 8 May, the company has received hundreds of emails from entrepreneurs looking to join the SPARK network, as well as interest from investors around the world looking to collaborate with the new company.
Jason Njoku says: “Myself, Bastian and Mary meet so many young, talented tech entrepreneurs who fall at the first hurdle because the culture for funding start-ups doesn’t exist in Nigeria at the moment. Lagos is the gateway to the tech scene in Africa. It is currently worth about $200million. In 3-5 years time, it will be $1billion. We, SPARK, plan to be behind Nigeria’s first wave of dotcom millionaires”.
Bastian Gotter says: “The reaction to SPARK has been fantastic and it proves that now is the time to be investing in the tech market. Following on from our success with iROKOtv, we feel that there is no-one in a better position than us to drive forward the tech start-up sector in Nigeria and this is why we’ve launched SPARK.”
So far, SPARK has funded 13 companies, all internet based, supplying services such as dating, property letting, hotel booking and other service that more and more Nigerians are going online for. The 13 companies include Hotels.ng, Christians.ng, Bus.com.ng, Giddimint.com.ng, Borro.com.ng, Insured.ng, ToLet.com.ng, Foto.com.ng, blink.com.ng, Healthy.com.ng and Drinks.ng
Mary Remmy-Njoku says: “Three years ago, no-one thought to come online to watch Nollywood movies and now, it is an every day occurrence for millions of people around the world and in Nigeria. People log in to www.irokotv.com and they have instant access to Mercy Johnson, Majid Michel, Mama G….. whoever is their favourite star. They have iROKOtv as their first port of call for their Nollywood movies.
“The same is going to happen for these SPARK companies; people who are interested in fashion will go online to Giddimint to buy a cool t-shirt, to Hotels.Ng to book a hotel room or to Drinks.ng to order good priced drinks for a wedding or big occasion. Our SPARK companies will become an everyday part of Nigerian lives in the next few years”.