As the Internet becomes more and more popular in Africa, a small group of Internet millionaires who have made millions from running internet businesses have begun to crop up. The list has been slow growing, but has been growing nevertheless. For now, the list is dominated mostly by South Africa with one lone Nigerian. However, we anticipate that many more Internet millionaires from other African countries will join the list in years to come.
In compiling the list, we focused exclusively on Internet run businesses run by people of African descent. We did not list founders of successful software companies, mobile phone or application development companies or other technology related companies but identified those running exclusively internet based companies. In addition, we have selected only those who have made $1 million or more in annual revenue regardless of whether venture capital investments in the company by private investors have valued the company at more than a million dollars.
Without further ado who are Africa’s Internet Millionaires? Check out the list below:
Mark Shuttleworth, South Africa
The legendary Mark Shuttleworth is South Africa/Africa’s first dot com millionaire. At the young age of 22,Mark Shuttleworth founded a digital certificate and internet security company Thawte. He sold his company to VeriSign for $575 million in 1999. Shuttleworth is also founder of Ubuntu, the popular free operating system for desktops and servers. He is estimated to have a networth of over $500 million.
Vinny Lingham, South Africa
South Africa’s Vinny Lingham is Founder of the popular Yola.com, a free website creation tool he founded in 2007 and which has attracted over $30 million in venture capital financing. Prior to founding Yola, Lingham founded online marketing firms, Incubeta and Clicks2Customers. Lingham is committed to improving South Africa’s internet ecosystem and is founder of Silicon Cape, a Capetown based incubator that aims to turn Capetown into a global technology hub. Lingham recently announced the launch of his new startup, Gyft which aims to disrupt the United States’ $100 billion plastic gift card market by bringing gift cards to consumers’ mobile phones. The launch was made at the just concluded Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, California. Check out our post about it here.
Adii Pienaar, South Africa
Adii Pienaar is the Founder of Woothemes, one of the world’s most popular premium wordpress theme companies. Working virtually with partners all around the world, Adii built Woothemes into a multi million dollar business generating over $2 million in annual revenues from the sale of its themes. The company also sells themes for other content management systems including Tumblr. Adii recently wrote a book on his experience as an entrepreneur titled “Rockstar Business.”
Jason Njoku, Nigeria
Jason Njoku is Founder of Iroko Partners, owners of entertainment brands, Iroko TV and Iroking. In 2011, Njoku notably made over a million dollars in revenue from his YouTube Nollywood movie aggregator channel, Nollywood Love. He has since raised about $10 million in funding from foreign investors and expanded his company opening offices in New York and London.