Meet Mark Essien, the Nigerian entrepreneur, software developer, and startup investor who is making waves in the business world. As the founder and CEO of Hotels.ng, a renowned hotel booking website, Essien has revolutionized the way people find and book accommodations in Nigeria. In this blog post, we will delve into Essien’s early life, education, career journey, and his significant contributions to the technology-driven hospitality industry.
Early Life and Education:
Mark Essien was born on December 18, 1980, in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Growing up, he was exposed to the world of politics through his father, Anthony Paul Essien, who was a prominent politician in Akwa Ibom State. His mother, Monika Essien, worked as a child educator and managed Monika Kindergarten in Ikot Ekpene.
For his education, Essien attended his mother’s school for his basic education and later enrolled at the Federal Government College in Ikot Ekpene for his secondary education. After completing his secondary education, he pursued his university studies in Germany.
Essien earned a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng) in Computer Hardware Engineering from Beuth Hochschule Berlin and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Computer Science from Freie Universitat Berlin.
During his time in Germany, Essien took on part-time jobs to support his studies. He worked as a cinema attendant and a caregiver for a disabled individual. It was during this period that he discovered his passion for programming. Essien developed a file-sharing program called Gnumm, which caught the attention of Snoopstar.com and was eventually acquired by them. Following his tenure at Snoopstar, Essien ventured into freelance software engineering.
With a vision to create a technology-driven company that could thrive in Nigeria, Essien identified an opportunity in the hotel and tourism industry. Inspired by the success of internet-based businesses like Jumia and Konga, he believed that innovation was needed in the Nigerian hospitality sector. In 2012, he launched the initial version of Hotels.ng, which started as a simple hotel listing website.
Recognizing the potential of the platform, Essien returned to Nigeria and received an initial investment of $75,000 from Spark.ng, an investment firm led by Jason Njoku. With the additional support of $150,000 from Spark.ng, Hotels.ng expanded its operations in Lagos and focused on building and growing its hotel listings.
Contributions and Achievements:
Mark Essien’s entrepreneurial journey has been marked by notable achievements. He has been a speaker at TEDx events, where he shared his insights on utilizing networks to develop a business and how Africa can lead in the global technology space. His dedication to innovation and his leadership style have been instrumental in the success of Hotels.ng.
In 2017, Mark Essien tied the knot with Jenni Naiaretti, who is not only his life partner but also a lead developer. Their wedding ceremony, which took place in his hometown of Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, was attended by close family, business partners, and friends who showed their support for the couple.
Mark Essien, the Nigerian entrepreneur and software developer, has made significant contributions to the Nigerian hospitality industry through his innovative platform, Hotels.ng. By leveraging technology, Essien has revolutionized the way people book accommodations, making it easier and more convenient for travelers. With his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to driving change, Essien continues to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs and make a lasting impact on the startup ecosystem in Nigeria