Mark Essien is the founder of Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s largest hotel booking website. The online portal that allows users from all over the world to book rooms from a selection of over 6000 hotels. The company has said that 6,000 hotels have been signed up to its platform as at December 2014 and so far raised more than $250,000 in funding from Spark Fund among other investors.
Featured on Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2015
Mark Essien @markessien is an engineer at heart and a passionate entrepreneur. He has built software products and companies that have been bought by large companies in Europe and the US.
In an interview with thisdaylive.com, he talked about his inspiring story:
“I grew up in Akwa Ibom state in a town called Ikot Ekpene where I attended primary and secondary school. After that I went to Germany to do my bachelors degree because my mum is a German who has been living in Nigeria for the past 40 years of her life. So I went to Germany and the first thing I had to do was learn how to speak German and find a job because I didn’t have any money. So I got a job watching over a man paralysed from the neck down and the thing with being paralysed is that the body could on its own shift itself into an awkward position that could be life threatening to the patient. I was the night watchman taking care of the guy and ensuring that his body doesn’t suddenly shift and cause him to choke or something like that. I was not allowed to sleep because that could lead to the man dying. Since I could not sleep I always had my laptop there with me but I couldn’t use the house’s internet because it was not my house and this was 1999, even in Germany internet was still very expensive then. So, while I sat there watching over this guy I decided to learn how to program and it was during that period of taking care of this man that I learnt how to program and developed my first software which was a file sharing software. I released the software and four months later it was acquired by a very big company Bertelsmann Media for quite a significant amount of money at the time and I also started working for them. This was even before I started university. I have always been interested in technology and building things with motors, light bulbs and all that.”