Andela is an Information And Communication Technology Startup with the aim of training developers in Africa and preparing them for hiring to Global Technoly Companies has raised Forty ($40) million in Series C funding.
This financing was gotten from the CRE Venture Capital, a pan-African venture firm, with additional participation from DBL Partners, Ampolo, Sales Force Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital.
Before now, investors including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, and Spark Capital, were part in funding what is now one of the most highly funded African company not based in Africa.
Andela Information Technology Start Up emphasizes that it will use the money to fund aggressive expansion plans — including the launch of two more offices in other African countries.
Just as the financing comes so does worry from some of the local entrepreneurs based on ground in Africa over Andela Company having to its self the money and attention with little or nothing for other Start Ups.
The Andela company which was launched in 2014 with the goal of training African software developers and place them in jobs at some of the world’s top notch technology firms. The idea behind this innovation was to take an underutilized talent pool to help put a stop to a global shortage of software developers. As the company noted, ” roughly 1.3 million software jobs went unfilled in the U.S. in 2016 alone.”
The Andela Information Technology Company has built up campuses in Lagos, Nigeria, Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda to train coders and then put them to work on projects for companies such as Mastercard Labs, Viacom, GitHub, and Gusto.
To this date, Andela has hired 500 developers — calling it the 0.7% — from its applicant pool of well over 70,000 candidates.
Paying its employees a minimal salary for the first six months after they join but gives to them each a laptop, provides subsidized housing, and offers two meals per-day. Not to mention of course, in addition, the technical and professional skills development, leadership training, and mentorship. The Andela company says it invests $15,000 in each developer during this period.
At the end of the six months, and developers are promoted and begin client work, Andela says it pays a competitive salary within their local tech ecosystem. That goes up to around $2,500/pm in Lagos and around $3,000/pm in Nairobi.
The Co Founder of Andela Company Jeremy Johnson calls the business a “mission-driven, for-profit company”. Indeed, he says Andela has “become a poster-child for that — that you can actually build businesses that create real impact”.
A slew of U.S. tech titans from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Case have spoken well of the company for just that but the feeling of some local African entrepreneurs is that Andela may actually be slowing the pace of the technoloy industry’s development on the African continent, saying it is taking badly needed tech talent away from the local ecosystem just as it’s getting started.
In a statement published early this day on Medium, Andela’s country director for Nigeria Seni Sulyman, refuted that criticism — saying it is bringing benefits to the local tech industry:
“From their experiences building world-class tech products for our partner companies, they are preparing to elevate technology products built in Africa. While doing this, they are already contributing locally, through initiatives like TeenCode, which supports schools in preparing teenagers for tech-enabled futures. Our developers are the heart and soul of our organization, and they are the future of our continent. We’ve always believed in them; we’re glad the world increasingly does so too.”
In a to further head off the criticism that’s coming from more than a few corners of the African tech world, Andela is touting its partnerships with organizations like Google and Pluralsight to provide mentorship to developers — and also the open sourcing of its curriculum.
Further more the company says the skills it is providing to developers working at global companies will in turn make them better leaders of their local technology communities at the end of their two year contracts.
“Over the past three years, we’ve helped prove to the world that brilliance is evenly distributed. It’s now time to prove that our model of investing in extraordinary people isn’t just viable but revolutionary,” adds Johnson in a statement. “Increasingly, African technologists will be launching high-impact companies and solving some of the world’s most pressing problems, and this round will help that happen faster.”
Johnson is right but the African technologists that he speaks of are launching their companies right now. Witness startups such as Pagatech and Jumia that could be, or already are, billion dollar businesses that started locally.
Competitions to the Andela model is also springing up in the form of the Moringa School, which places developers in local technology companies at the completion of their training.