Marek-Zymslowski

Jovago’s frontman, Marek Zmyslowki has confirmed his departure from the company. He’ll now focus on investing in local tech companies and helping to grow startups on whose boards he currently sits as part of his investment. Those startups include Talking Bookz, Simplepay, and more recently, eChurch.ng. 

“I want to be involved in more than just one project, and it’s hard to do that while being an MD or CEO of an organisation which usually requires 100% of your focus,” Marek said on why he left Jovago. “Operationally speaking, I’m not involved in Jovago anymore.

In Marek’s place, Kushal Dutta, the company’s former Head of Revenue Management will now run the company  

Marek has been casting himself as an angel investor and making early stage investments in local startups for a while now. It was back in June that the first of such investments – SimplePay –  was made public. He went on to invest an undisclosed sum in Talking Bookz, a startup creating audiobooks out of African literary texts.

While Marek offers that he’ll be doing full time angel investing, it’s unlikely this is the only thing the 29 year old will have on his plate. His LinkedIn profile doesn’t say much. It, in fact, still lists him as the CEO of Jovago, but we expect this will change soon. Updating LinkedIn is certainly one of the last things a transitioning CEO will worry about. Though, it’s more than likely, Marek and Jovago have been planning this for a while.

Marek began Jovago’s operations in Nigeria in 2013 with about 200 hotels listed, but the business has increased its catalogue to more than 6000 hotels, while facing potent competition from Hotel.ng, a similar service that has backing from EchoVC, Omidyar network and Jason Njoku’s Spark fund. Jovago itself is one of Rocket Internet’s portfolio companies.

With his new toga as a full-on angel investor, Marek is also looking to be part of the most visible angel network in Nigeria, the Lagos Angel network. “I count rather on my personal network to spot opportunities. LAN is however doing a great job and I’d like to be a part of it as well,” Marek said.

The number of local entrepreneurs doubling as angel investors has also been growing in the last few years. At the last count, there were four of them that we had knowledge of including, Jason Njoku, Chika Nwobi, Tayo Oviosu and Sim Shagaya. It’s odd, calling Marek, a Polish, a local entrepreneur, but I won’t be totally wrong. Since Marek started Jovago in Nigeria in 2013, he has gone to great lengths to internalize the Nigerian culture, even taking taking a South Eastern Nigerian name, Chinedu.

Gbenga Onalaja | Author