The Nigerian startup ecosystem is growing amid a recession which has led to the shutdown of several businesses and loss of many jobs, with startup founders investing in new startups showing promise. In a $45,000 investment, Mark Essien’s Hotels.ng and Spark co-founded by Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter have teamed up to help ogaVenue the Lagos-based online events venue booking platform, to increase inventory and for further expansion to more states across Nigeria. The investment is also aimed at building out the product, engineering and business development team.
“We are incredibly excited to join the Spark family as it houses some of the most successful startups in Nigeria and arguably as helped to grow the most successful founders in Nigeria. We’re also thrilled to have attracted the attention of, and investment from Hotels.ng, a pioneering travel business we have long since admired and followed,” said Andrew Airelobhegbe, ogaVenue CEO. “With them on board, we are certain that together, we will radically change the face of events and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa.”
Launched in 2014, ogaVenue is exploiting the opportunities in the Nigerian events industry which is estimated to be worth $20 billion, with 25% of each event cost spent on venue rental. An average Nigerian middle class family/company spends over $15,000 per event. Government figures reveal that in Lagos State alone, over 20,000 events are held each month and over $300,000,000 was spent annually in organizing some form of social event. Even in times of economic troubles, Nigerians do not stop partying. However, apart from ogaVenue being a good business to invest in, it is led by a trusted founder.
“For us, the ogaVenue deal was a no brainer. Andrew is probably the smartest young entrepreneur in the Eco-system, and he has built a business that’s showing amazing numbers and traction,” says Mark Essien, Hotels.ng founder and CEO. “Seeing how closely his business is related to ours, it was obvious that getting involved in this deal would be to both of our advantages – there are clear synergies that can be leveraged on to accelerate growth in both the hotel and the event segments”.
Bastian Gotter, Spark co-founder who also co-founded IrokoTV with Jason Njoku adds: “The OgaVenue venue team combined their strong technical backgrounds with a high sense of commerciality and quickly established industry leadership in the venue booking space. We believe this investment is complementary to our earlier investments in Hotels.ng and are very happy to partner with them in supporting OgaVenue with capital and advice. We hope OgaVenue will continue to expand its industry leadership and win big”.