Jason Njoku and his partner knew they were on to something when they started iROKOtv, a Web portal for viewing Nollywood and Gallywood movies. The company has since expanded into music streaming as well, providing an official space on the Web for viewing and subscribing in an industry still plagued by piracy and other production issues cutting into its bottom line.
The Nigeria-based movie platform for African films is making more advances, recently announcing a funding round of $8 million—led by existing investor Tiger Global— with further participation from Sweden-based company Kinnevik. A new investor has also joined this round, U.S.-based Rise Capital.
At a total of $21 million raised by the company, this latest feat makes iROKOtv, deemed by Forbes as the “Netflix of Africa,” one of the most well-funded Web companies in Africa today.
According to a statement, iROKOtv is the “leading Video-on-Demand (VOD) platform for African content and following the announcement of the $8Mn investment, the company will continue to focus its attention on growing traffic, content curation and building a platform-agnostic distribution system for its 1Mn monthly users.”
The new funds will be used for building and transitioning the company’s audience from a primarily diaspora base to an African base, as well as transitioning from a largely ad-supported model to one focused more on subscription service. Today, 50% of iROKOtv’s audience is located in the U.K. and U.S. alone, but with African consumers using the Web more and more each day, demand for homegrown multi-platform video content is increasing. There will also be a renewed focus on monetizing iROKOtv’s catalogue through its SVOD service, iROKOtv PLUS, as well as through its distribution partnerships with global airlines and TV networks, according to the statement.
“The $8 million raised by Tiger Global, Kinnevik and Rise Capital will further fuel our expansion and help us to realise our long term goal of becoming one of Africa’s preeminent media companies,” says Njoku. “We started life three years ago as a Nollywood content aggregator on a YouTube channel and today we find ourselves with a VC-backed dedicated VOD platform, watched in 178 countries around the world, with one million unique visitors a month. These metrics were achieved with hard work from a great international team and today’s news allows us to continue in the same vein and accelerate our growth.”
Kudos to the team at iROKO!