Andela, start-up connecting African coders to global tech firms, raises $40 million

Joshua Mwanika (C), country director Andela Kenya, and Andela team members. Credit: Andela

Andela, a start-up that trains software developers in Africa and connects them to global technology firms, has secured $40 million in Series C funding that it says will be used to fuel its aggressive expansion plans.

The investment was led by pan-African venture firm CRE Venture Capital with participation from DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital, Andela said in a statement.

Andela’s other investors, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – the project founded by Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; GV, formerly Google Ventures and the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc; and Spark Capital also participated.

The funding round brings Andela’s total venture funding to over $80 million. In its Series B funding round announced last June, the Nigerian startup raised $24m. The round was led by Chan Zuckerberg in its first lead investment, and also attracted GV, Spark Capital, an early Twitter investor, the Omidyar Network, and Learn Capital.

Andela’s mission makes it particularly attractive to well-regarded Silicon Valley investors; it trains young African developers and then pairs them with partner companies. The partners range from industry leaders like Viacom and Mastercard Labs to high-growth technology companies such as Gusto and GitHub.

“Andela was launched in 2014 to combat the global technical talent shortage by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers,” the company said in a statement. “With an estimated 1.3M software jobs unfilled in 2016 in the U.S. alone, it’s clear that the growth of today’s major technology ecosystems is inhibited by a severe lack of talent. To solve this, Andela invests in high potential pools of brainpower across the African continent to help more than 100 partner companies build distributed engineering teams.”

The start-up has offices in Lagos, Nairobi, and Kampala. The Kampala office was opened this May, with the company selecting Uganda – over all other Anglophone African countries with more than three million people – because of its youthful population.

It has so far hired 500 developers out of 70,000 – a very selective acceptance rate of 0.7% that Andela has been called more elite than Harvard. The accepted developers spend six months in a rigorous training program before being matched with one of the partner companies.

“Beyond recruiting elite development talent, Andela is catalyzing the growth of tech ecosystems across the continent by open-sourcing its content and partnering with organizations including Google, Pluralsight and Udacity to provide resources and mentorship to developers,” it said.

The startup said it will use the capital to “fuel its aggressive expansion plans”. These include offices in two other African countries in the next one year, and doubling its developer base from 500 to 1000 to meet growing demand.