Nigeria

Nigeria sits symbolically in the middle of the KINGS group of economies because it holds the key to how fast Africa will rise in the twenty-first century. Nigeria is one of the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey) countries identified by Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs (who also created the term BRICS, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as the next global economic giants. After rebasing its gross domestic product (GDP), Nigeria recently overtook South Africa as the largest economy in Africa and followed that with its first democratic alternation of power.

Nigeria's start-up ecosystem is dominated by e-commerce ventures and is recognized as the e-commerce capital of Africa, with start-ups such as Sim Shagaya's Konga, Jumia (which raised USD150 million to expand into other African markets), Chris and Tope Folayan’s Mall for Africa (which raked in USD17 million in sales in 2014), and Raphael Afaedor's Supermart (specializing in grocery deliveries and more). Jason Njoku built iROKOtv, a successful platform for video-on-demand content from Nigeria's Nollywood, and has attracted huge investments that have enabled him and his business partner, Bastian Gotter, to launch Spark-a company building and incubating other start-ups. Spark is enabling the next generation of start-ups like Hotels.ng, which recently raised USD1.2 million from Omidyar and EchoVC partners after being seeded with USD250,000 by Spark three years ago. Olumide Soyombo and Kazeem Tewogbade built Bluechip Technologies, a business intelligence company, from scratch and are now using the proceeds to seed the next generation of entrepreneurs through their accelerator and seed fund called Leadpath.

Considered Nigeria'sSilicon Valley, the start-up ecosystem built in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos, is home to a number of educational institutions like the University of Lagos, Queen’s College, and Yaba Institute of Technology. CC Hub, IdeaHub, Leadpath, and Passion Incubator are some of the many co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators located in the city. Yaba is also home to many tech companies (Akwagyiram 2015), such as Paga, Jobberman, Easy Taxi, and others. The Lagos Angel Network is rising to the challenge of feeding the ecosystem with capital and has so far invested in two start-ups. Like Kenya, the Nigerian government is constructing an idyllic campus called Technology Village outside the capital, Abuja, 400 miles north of Lagos.

Jason Njoku's iROKOtv is an example of a next-generation company and has been described as the Netflix of Africa (Iwuoha 2016). The company purchases the rights to Nigerian films and distributes them online. Its subscription platforms stream music and movies in 178 countries.

According to Jason, he started the company to satisfy his own desire to be able to find online the Nigerian movies available on DVDs on the streets of Lagos. Having grown up in the UK, he figured that if he could get these movies online as Netflix had done, people would subscribe to watch or buy them. iROKOtv has since built a global audience, especially among Nigerians in the diaspora and other Africans who prefer to access their content via web-enabled devices. Not too long after its launch, the company secured USD8 million from investors to scale up the platform to target a global audience. Major American music and film outlets now use iROKOtv to distribute their digital content in emerging markets.

Interswitch is another next-generation business from Nigeria. It is in line to become Africa’s first public tech unicorn, with announcements to list on both the London and Lagos stock exchanges (Bright 2016).