The founder of hotels.ng, Mark Essien, is no doubt a visionary. At the time he founded the hotel booking portal, not many saw the untapped opportunity in the country’s hospitality industry. With the advent of his venture, travellers in and outside Nigeria no longer need to present themselves in person to book a hotel to lodge.
Essien adopted the exact model of Uber, the biggest car-hailing service in the world that owns no car, to establish hotels.ng. Hotels.ng is a booking portal that doesn’t own any hotel.
With hotels.ng, Essien solved the need to provide the most convenient solution to an industry that was rife with the traditional method and difficulty of booking hotels — the walk-in culture.
Essien is one of the very few business leaders in the country who are committed to inspiring people with their success stories. He is a frequent TedX speaker, having delivered talks on leveraging networks to build a business, and how Africa can lead in the global technology space, at TedXEuston and TedXGbagada respectively.
Laudably, the tech enthusiast has since successfully managed hotels.ng to become the biggest hotel booking portal in Nigeria. It is in this light that he is being featured on Nairametrics’ Founders’ profile this week.
Essien’s early life and education
Mark Essien was born on December 18, 1980, to Anthony Paul Essien and Monika Essien. His father, a prominent political figure in Akwa Ibom State, served as a Special Adviser to the state’s governor on Economic Affairs during Nigeria’s Third Republic. His mother, who emigrated from Germany in 1978, is a child education expert who owns a school in Ikot Ekpene.
Essien’s childhood education began at his mother’s school, Monika Kindergarten, followed by secondary education at Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene. He spent the first 18 years of his life in Ikot Ekpene, before moving to Germany, where he studied and obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng) degree in Computer Engineering at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin. He later bagged a Master of Science degree in Computer Science at the Free University of Berlin.
While studying for his mandatory German Language Programme and A-Level examinations, he took up coding and worked part–time as a cinema attendant.
His Career milestones
While in Germany, Essien created a file-sharing software, Gnumm, which was later acquired by Snoopstar, a German company. He worked at Snoopstar for a while and went on to work on his own as a freelance software developer. Essien also created a DirectShow based software-only Mpeg encoder, Standard MPEG, which had clients such as the Walt Disney Company and The United States Armed forces.
After his bachelor’s programme in Germany, Essien became interested in building a technology company that could work in Nigeria. He realised then that the online travel space in Africa could use some innovation. This was when he created the first version of Hotels.ng which had a few hotels on its list at the time.
Going by his business philosophy, – “build a product for an existing market and not a market for your product,” Essien created a dummy hotel booking website, left it for a few months and noted the traffic that it generated.
Having proven the potential viability of what he had built, he founded Hotels.ng in 2013.
Hotels.ng soon caught the attention of Jason Njoku, the founder of Iroko TV, whose Spark.ng made an initial investment of $75,000 in Hotels.ng. A few months later, upon seeing significant promise and progress in Hotels.ng and its model, Spark.ng made another investment of $150,000.
In 2015, the company secured additional funding of $1.2 million from international investors, EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund.
The company has since grown exponentially and has extended its business out of Nigeria. In January 2018, Hotels.ng announced its international hotel booking site, Hotel.africa.
Hotels.ng also launched Fly.africa, its flight booking site, to provide cheap flights to anywhere in the world.
In 2016, Essien’s Hotels.ng co-invested with Njoku to establish OgaVenue, an event booking platform. Essien serves as a Director on the Board of OgaVenue.
In 2015, Essien made the Forbes list of 30 youngest entrepreneurs in Africa. He was also nominated for the Nigeria Future Awards, amongst others.
His Personal life
In 2017, Mark Essien married fellow software developer, Jenni Naiaretti.
Covid-19: WHO approves China’s Sinopharm vaccine
WHO has announced the approval of China’s Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19 vaccination.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the approval of China’s Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19 vaccination. The vaccine is reported to have 79% efficacy against covid.
This was disclosed today in a report by Reuters. The vaccine would also be the second Chinese-made vaccine after Sinovac vaccine and would be the first developed outside Europe and North America to receive WHO accreditation.
“This expands the list of COVID-19 vaccines that COVAX can buy, and gives countries confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval, and to import and administer a vaccine,” WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO added that the easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings.
“Its easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings,” a WHO statement said while also disclosing that the vaccine has been approved for people above the age of 18 to receive two shots.
“On the basis of all available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks,” the statement added.
The vaccine was created by Beijing Biological Products Institute, a subsidiary of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group, with an efficacy of 79% for all age groups.
The WHO however, admitted that few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group.
In case you missed it
The quest for vaccine efficiency got a major boost earlier this week as Nairametrics reported that the United States government announced that it supports the waiver of Intellectual Property Protections on Covid-19 vaccine development, in a bid to boost the fight against the pandemic, and says it will participate in the Okonjo-Iweala-led WTO negotiation to make it happen.
“Mama Taraba”, Former minister and senator, Aisha Al-Hassan is dead
Ex-Women Affairs minister, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead
A former Minister for Women Affairs and ex-Governorship Candidate in Taraba State, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.
According to media reports she died in a hospital on Friday in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 61.
Al-Hassan, who was a former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from Taraba North Senatorial District, was the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate for Taraba in the 2015 general elections.
She later contested for the same seat on the platform of the United Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections after resigning from APC and as a minister in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on July 27, 2018.
The former senator was born on the 16th of September, 1959 in Jalingo, Taraba State, to Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim, Sarkin Ayukan Muri.
Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan attended Muhammed Nya Primary School, Jalingo and LEA Primary School, Tudun Wada, Kaduna before proceeding to Saint Faith College (now GGSS) Kawo Kaduna where she studied between January 1973 and June 1977.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Okomu Oil proposes dividend worth N6.7 billion for shareholders.
- Ardova Plc confirms appointment of Oladeinde Nelson-Cole as secretary.
- Cadbury Nigeria Plc set to hold 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 16.
- FCMB Group Plc appoints Muibat Ijaiya as Director.
- Afromedia Plc reports a loss after tax of N27.3 million in Q1 2021.