Duke Man Crush Monday: Mark Essien

by Duchess Magazine

On December 18, 1980, in the Akwa Ibom State town of Ikot Ekpene, Mark Anthony Essien was born. He is a businessman, software developer, and startup investor. One of the first online hotel booking websites in Nigeria was founded and is run by Essien.

Before creating Hotels.ng in 2013, Essien first created the file-sharing program Gnumm (which Snoopstar.com later acquired), then he started the language-learning firm Ingolingo.

Essien speaks often TEDx events. He has given presentations at TEDxEuston and TEDxGbagada on topics such as using networks to grow a business and how Africa can take the lead in the global technology sector.

Hotels.ng was started by Essien in 2013 with Spark.ng making a $75,000 first investment and a subsequent $150,000 investment.

In 2015, a seed-stage technology firm called EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund and Pierre Omidyar’s investment organization, Omidyar Network, provided the company with an additional $1.2 million in funding.

Essien resigned as the CEO of HNG Internships, a program he started to address the Nigerian country’s lack of software engineering expertise, giving Seyi Onifade the reins.

Also in 2015, Essien was included in a Forbes list of the 30 most youthful African. Among other things, he has been nominated for the Nigeria Future.

In 2016, Hotels.ng co-invested in OgaVenue, an events booking website, along with Jason Njoku and Spark, participating in the board as a director.

Essien wed his wife, a fellow developer, Jenni Naiaretti on April 8, 2018.

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