iROKO Secures $19 Million in Funding


LAGOS: The African VOD and internet TV startup iROKO has closed deals worth $19 million for content development and capital funding.

French media giant CANAL+, together with existing investor Kinnevik, are investing, in addition to iROKO’s own cash flow, to give the leading African outfit the platform to scale its operations and expand aggressively across the continent.

iROKO will put the investment toward local content financing and production, as well as its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. The plan is to produce at least 300 hours of original content in 2016, with the expectation of doubling that by 2018.

Jacques du Puy, the president of CANAL+ Overseas, joins the iROKO board.

Jason Njoku, CEO and co-founder of iROKO, said: “With millions more Africans poised to come online via mobile in the coming years, our mission is to lead viewers to content they’ll love. This is something the vast majority of the continent struggles with today. We hope to bridge that divide, and this additional investment supports such a plan. For us, there is no version of reality where the marriage between Africa’s most powerful communication tool [mobile] and the most prolific and loved entertainment provider [Nollywood] won’t be a joyous union.”

Njoku continued: “The challenges surrounding mobile TV in Africa are mighty, but not insurmountable. It’s human to be entertained and connect over community and we are obsessed with creating Africa’s largest community around local content. We have always been crazily bold in our ambitions to bring the content closer to viewers and build a truly frictionless and inclusive entertainment experience. Today’s news improves those odds.”

Fabrice Faux, CFO of CANAL+ Overseas, commented: “We congratulate Jason and all the iROKO team and investors for their outstanding achievement so far and we are proud to partner for the scale-up in French-speaking Africa, with clear ambitions and the means to reach them.”