Zuckerberg-backed Andela raises $40 million to connect tech firms with Africa’s best software developers

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Andela, a startup that’s setting out to train African’s best software developers and connect them with the world’s biggest technology companies, has raised $40 million in a series C round of funding.

The round was led by African VC firm CRE Venture Capital, with participation from GV (Google’s VC arm), the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Salesforce Ventures, Spark Capital, DBL Partners, Amplo, and TLcom Capital.

This takes Andela’s total funding past the $80 million mark, and comes a little more than a year after the company nabbed $24 million in funding from major names including GV and Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation — Andela represented CZI’s first ever investment.

Founded in 2014, Andela runs a pretty unique program, insofar as it pairs some of Africa’s top students with companies seeking top tech talent. But it is a very selective program, with more than 70,000 applicants so far across Africa, Andela’s six-week vetting process has heralded just a 0.7 percent acceptance rate — it really is about finding the best-of-the-best.

“Andela is investing in our continent’s future technology leaders, who are already playing a much-needed role in solving both African and global problems,” explained Seni Sulyman, country director of Andela Nigeria. “With each new partnership, we are simultaneously proving to the global tech industry that brilliance is evenly distributed irrespective of gender, culture or nationality. As we unleash an entire generation of technologists, we will secure Africa’s role as an equal partner working alongside the rest of the world to advance human potential.”

Working capital

Recruitment platforms and programs have emerged as big business, with countless startups raising sizable sums of VC cash in recent times. One of the problems this is looking to avert is the so-called “global workforce crisis.” A number of well-cited studies from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the World Economic Forum have looked at “workforce supply-and-demand dynamics” across 25 major economies through the year 2030, with labor shortages in some regions, and surpluses in others, creating an imbalance.

“An equilibrium in supply and demand is rapidly becoming the exception, not the norm,” BCG has said. “Between 2020 and 2030, we project significant worldwide labor-force imbalances — shortfalls, in particular. One significant implication is the potential aggregate value of GDP squandered, because either these nations cannot fill the jobs available or they cannot create enough jobs for the workers they have.”

By targeting Africa, Andela is looking to help the great tech minds of a major continent find work in some of the world’s major technology firms, including Microsoft and IBM, and plug a growing gap in the local skills market.

“At present, there is more capital to fund ideas globally than there are people to build them,” added Pule Taukobong, founding partner of CRE Venture Capital. “Andela is providing a solution to this global talent dilemma while building a business case for one of Africa’s greatest assets: our people.”

Andela’s official HQ is in New York, but it has local hubs in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, which have helped the company hire around 500 developers to date. Those selected spend six months in a “rigorous onboarding program” before being matched with one of Andela’s partner companies.

With another $40 million in the bank, Andela said it will push ahead with “aggressive expansion plans,” which include new offices in two African countries, while also doubling its developer base to 1,000.

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