In recent times, we have seen various tech-startups emerge. Each, uniquely changing the status quo as far as innovation is concerned and disrupting the traditional way of doing business. One of these game-changers is hotels.ng – Nigeria’s largest hotel booking website. Founded by Mark Essien in 2013 in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, hotels.ng has grown to become a hotels booking agency listing over 7,138 hotels from 320 cities in Nigeria.
A Curious Creative’s Journey Into The Tech World
Mark Essien founded hotels.ng in 2013. Prior to this, he had already begun his journey into the tech world by studying Computer Engineering at Beuth University in Berlin, Germany and obtaining an MSc in Computer Science at Freie University, also in Germany. After graduating, he went further to hone his skills by learning Computer Programming while working night shifts as a caregiver.
Within three months of learning, he had a develop his skills up to the extent of creating a file-sharing software which was later acquired by a large company and shut down shortly afterward. By doing proper research and attentively studying the market like any young creative itching to fill a need, Mark created hotels.ng on his return to Nigeria during a school break.
He gradually transformed the hotels.ng into something bigger than just a site for hotel listings and soon it began to gather the attention of fundraisers including Jason Njoku of Iroko TV. Jason Njoku took interest in the website after he came across a few press articles published by Mark. For Jason, hotels.ng seemed a good choice to invest in considering the fact that he was beginning a startup fund (spark.ng) and in search of good internet businesses to invest in at that time.
This led to a first investment of $75,000 in hotels.ng and shortly afterward another investment of $150,000. These investments and others from big brands like ebay, Pan-African fund and lately from Dangote Investment Group resulted in increased traction and more hostel listings for hotels.ng. The Dangote Investment Group invested a whopping amount of $10 million in hotels.ng thus valuing the company at over N3 billion naira.
A Few Facts About Hotels.ng
- Mark Essien started hotels.ng with only $300 but presently boasts of over $50,000 in annual revenue.
- hotels.ng has up to 49 working staff in its headquarters at Yaba Lagos.
- In August 2017, Mark Essien partnered with the Ministry of Science and Technology to train 500 youths in Software Development.
- In a Forbes article published in 2015, it was reported that hotels.ng was already profitable barely two years after it started operations.
- hotels.ng encourages internship programs which have played a major role in its growth.