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Tech Founders See Nollywood as a Lucrative Investment Avenue with Returns Tripling Investments


Nollywood is rapidly gaining international attention, and the financial backing from tech magnates is propelling it towards global prominence.

Recently, Editi Effiòng, a renowned Nollywood filmmaker, unveiled the executive producers for his latest movie, “The Black Book.” The list boasts names of prominent tech entrepreneurs and investors such as Nadayer Enegesi (Eden Life), Olumide Soyombo (Voltron Capital), and Ezra Olubi (Paystack). This collaboration between the tech and film sectors isn’t new, but the extensive list for “The Black Book” underscores the growing trend of tech professionals investing in Nollywood.

Historically, Nollywood faced challenges due to insufficient funding, which impacted the quality and profitability of films. Niyi Akinmolayan, a seasoned filmmaker, highlighted that many Nigerian movies are undervalued on streaming platforms compared to their international counterparts. Journalist and film critic Anita Eboigbe believes increased investment can address these challenges. She emphasized the need for more funds to break existing monopolies, especially in streaming negotiations.

Collaborations with global streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with partnerships with local studios such as Inkblot and EbonyLife, have enhanced the quality and commercial success of Nollywood films. As of 2022, top-grossing movies like “The Wedding Party” and “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” have set records, with Nollywood contributing to over half of Nigeria’s box office sales.

In the early days, Nollywood primarily relied on direct-to-video sales in local markets. Now, with tech investors on board, the industry is experiencing a resurgence. Subomi Plumptre, CEO of Volition Cap, views Nollywood as a promising long-term investment. Olumide Soyombo, founder of Voltron Capital, emphasizes the potential for profitability in Nollywood.

Victoria Popoola, co-founder and CEO of TalentX Africa, a platform dedicated to film financing, shared that streaming platforms are now the primary revenue sources, with cinema performances influencing streaming demand. TalentX has invested nearly $1 million in Nollywood films.

Plumptre’s Volition Cap is revolutionizing film investment by introducing a model reminiscent of traditional African cooperatives. For “The Black Book,” investments were made in manageable amounts, complemented by significant contributions from institutional investors. The film’s success on Netflix ensured dollar returns for its investors.

Soyombo believes that the synergy between tech investors and Nollywood is reshaping the filmmaking approach with a balanced focus on creativity and profitability.

One of the persistent challenges in Nollywood is the lack of infrastructure and skilled production talent. Soyombo has invested over £1 million in Rushing Tap Studio, offering filmmakers a space to shoot scenes. Both Popoola and Plumptre are considering investments in infrastructure and talent development.

Nollywood’s potential for high returns is attracting more investors. Eboigbe believes publicizing tech founders’ film involvement can diversify funding sources. Plumptre revealed plans for Volition Cap’s second VEMA fund, worth $20 million, aiming to be the go-to for African creatives seeking project funding.

Soyombo, who has backed films like “Gangs of Lagos” and “Brotherhood,” shared that investment returns can vary. Still, they often outperform traditional investment avenues, with some projects yielding up to 3x returns.

Eboigbe is optimistic that increased tech investments in Nollywood will empower filmmakers to undertake ambitious projects and ensure profitability. Films like “Gangs of Lagos” have already set records on Prime Video, emphasizing the global appeal of Nollywood content. However, for a lasting impact, the industry must address distribution and funding challenges.



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