In a move that makes it among the continent’s most funded companies, Nigerian movie platform for Africa iROKOtv, has received $8 million series D funding led by existing investor Tiger Global, with further participation from Sweden-based Kinnevik and introducing new investor to this round, US-based Rise Capital.
This funding round brings iROKO’s total money raised to $21Mn, and will be used to build and transition the company’s audience from a primarily Diaspora base to an African base, as well as migrating from a largely ad supported model to more subscription service. iROKOtv’s 50% audience is located in the UK and US alone, this is OK but as Africa moves online, there’s a gap for homegrown multi-platform video content. iROKOtv will use this funding to focus on its African audience, monetize its catalogue through its SVOD service, iROKOtv PLUS, as well as through its strategic distribution partnerships with global airlines and TV channels. The firm will also use the cash to grow traffic, curate more content and build a platform-agnostic distribution system for its 1Mn monthly users.
According to Jason Njoku, CEO and co-founder, “The $8Mn 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. 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.”
iROKOtv has been raising money, and if you are wondering, they have been using that cash to acquire content, expand the London-based tech team, develop mobile websites and applications and open offices in London, New York and Johannesburg, alongside the company’s Lagos headquarters. This money has made it the owner of the world’s largest online catalogue of African content, with over 5,000 movies.
US-based Rise capital will join the firm as the new investor while its its managing partner Nazir Yasin will become an active member on iROKOtv’s board. Yasin is not new to iROKOtv as he previously worked with Tiger Global. The funding is a faith in Africa’s growing media businesses according to Mia Brunell Livfors, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kinnevik.
With a $5 month subscription service dubbed iROKOtv PLUS, business is not so bad as the firm says its their largest single source of revenue, beating advertising, but with over 95% of their content accessed freely, the ‘Netflix of Africa’ will use the firms to firmly grip the continent’s movie programming as several players start to launch.
Bastian Gotter, COO and co-founder confirms, “ This additional capital allows us to consolidate our position as VOD market leaders for Africa, invest in tech, content and infrastructure and, importantly, we are now in a position to become profitable by 2015, which is an extraordinary feat for any start-up, let alone an African VOD one like ours.”