Mark Essien is the founder of Hotels.ng which is arguably number one booking site in Nigeria and one of the fullest directories in the continent. Born in Ikot Ekpene on December 18, 1980, here are five facts about the innovator you need to know.
1. He started hotels.ng with 48 thousand naira
Perhaps you have a business idea and are bemoaning your lack of a war chest account balance. Well, bemoan no more as Mark Essien didn’t start his company with a fortune. He started with just 300 dollars in the era of 160 naira per dollar. That is less than 50 thousand naira to start a company that now boasts of more than 50 thousand dollars per month in revenue.
Mark had started this site when he was pursuing his master’s in Germany, in 2012. All it was then was just a hotel listing site. His model was the established Asian and South American travel and tourism sites, India and Brazil been his key points “as both countries bore similarities to Nigeria at that growth phase. It was a site that might stand or might not. It was a venture that was a little more than just a pastime for a scholar in a foreign country, or as he put it “a well-researched hypothesis”. The traffic Hotels.ng generated was so impressive, Mark Essien returned to Calabar to run it.
The start-up turned out to become a darling for investors. Not long after his return, Jason Njoku of Iroko TV fame under his Spark.ng invested 75 thousand dollars in the startup. This afforded Essien with the fund to get a car and move to Lagos to further enrich his site with information as against the hopping into buses and trekking to cover hotels in Calabar. In 2015, Spark.ng invested a further 150 thousand dollars. Hotels.ng attraction was not just within the shores of Nigeria for EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund in conjunction with the investing avenue of eBay founder Omidyar Network funded Hotels.ng up to the tune of 1.2 million dollars.
Hotels.ng biggest investment came from home where Dangote Investment Group (DIG) injected 10 million dollars into the venture.
2. Hotels.ng wasn’t Mark Essien’s first venture
While we know him as the founder of Hotels.ng, that wasn’t the company the company that brought fame and fortune to him, that wasn’t his first entrepreneurial venture. While in the university, Mark Essien had always nursed an affinity for programming. Not only did Essien master programming (on his own), he built a software. The software Gnumm is a file sharing file which he eventually sold to Snoopstar.com the German media company he later joined and swelled his capacity in programming and coding.
Essien also had a stint with a language learning start-up called IngoLingo.
3. Mark Essien is worth 8 million dollars
This is according to wealthresult.com based on their calculations of the site generating 40 thousand dollars per month. This figure at best is an indication of Mark Essien’s worth. Hotels.ng is not his only venture. He has expanded to Hotels. Africa and Fly.Africa. This calculation didn’t take into cognition these sites and other Mark Essien assets nor did they take note of the profits that go to the investors.
While you are here, see Seun Osewa Facts
If all these are taken into consideration, Mark Essien would still be a millionaire in dollars. Give or take few millions.
4. He was once a night watchman
It was never a field of roses for Mark Essien. While he spent his first eighteen years in his home state of Akwa Ibom State, Mark Essien left for Germany for his degree and postgraduate studies. Unlike the impression of most Nigerians who study abroad, the young man didn’t have a bottomless pocket to fund his education at the Beuth University in Berlin where he obtained a degree in Hardware Robotics and in Freie University, also in Berlin, where he had his master’s degree in Computer Science.
In an interview with Premiumtimes, Mark Essien recounts six phases of his life. They include the employee phase, the student phase, the freelancer phase, the App developer phase, the master’s student phase and then this phase as a CEO and founder of Hotels.ng. His employee first wasn’t at Mobil Oil. He was once a night watchman. Not an ordinary watchman in a store or warehouse. No, he was a watchman for a paralyzed man in Germany.
While this job stands out, it wasn’t the only odd job Mark did in Europe. He also had a stint at a cinema as a ticket tearer.
5. Wedding Bells
Tall, rich and handsome are some of the most popular adjectives some Nigerian girls readily throw at the table whenever the conversation is centered on the issue of marriage and the dream man. Mark Essien ticks all these boxes. He is, however, taken. He got married to Jennifer Naiaretti, a lead developer in April 2017, in what was a closed wedding for just a handful of family and friends. Considering that Mark Essien was a bachelor for nearly 37 years, you have one person to blame for missing out—you.