Nigerian startup iROKO today announced the closing of multiple content development and capital deals to the total value of US$19 million.
Disrupt Africa reported in June iROKO shut down its desktop service for African users, focusing on a mobile-only experience. In November the startup announced a shift to content distribution and licensing, as it struggled for profitability with its original video on demand (VoD) model – an announcement followed swiftly by the news that iROKO had signed a multi-million Euro deal with France’s Canal+ Group to create and launch the first Francophone SVOD service aimed at bringing affordable, popular mobile TV content to French-speaking Africa.
Today’s announcement sees CANAL+ invest in iROKO, alongside existing investor Kinnevik AB, to enable the company to scale its operations and expand “aggressively” across the African continent.
In specific, iROKO said it will channel the funds into local content financing and production, as well as its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York. The startup aims to produce 300 hours of original video content in 2016, with the expectation of doubling that by 2018.
“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,” said Jason Njoku, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of iROKO.
“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,” said Fabrice Faux, chief finance officer (CFO) of Canal+ Overseas.
The announcement also sees Jacques du Puy, president of Canal+ Overseas, join the iROKO board.