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Zuckerberg’s $24m investment in Nigerian start-up hits $40m

Nigerian-based start-up, Andela, has secured an investment of $40m in Series C Funding led by pan-African venture firm, CRE Venture Capital in participation with DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital.

Andela was launched in the Yaba area of Lagos State in 2014 and aimed to build high-performing engineering teams with Africa’s most talented software developers.

It also came with the mission to combat the global technical talent shortages by investing in the most talented software developers in Africa.

Data provided by The Nerve Africa, on Friday, showed an estimate of 1.3 million unfilled software jobs in 2016, “proving that the growth of today’s major technology ecosystems is inhibited by a severe lack of talent.”

The Nerve Africa report added, “To solve this, Andela’s aggressive expansion plans include investing in high potential pools of brainpower across the African continent to help more than 100 partner companies build distributed engineering teams.

“To fuel its aggressive expansion plans, Andela plans to use its capital to launch offices in two additional African countries over the next year, doubling its developer base from 500 to 1,000. Alongside this round, Pule Taukobong of CRE, Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Amplo Board Partner, and Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom and former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria, will be joining Andela’s board.”

Beyond recruiting elite development talent, Andela said in Lagos recently that it was catalysing the growth of tech ecosystems across the continent by open-sourcing its content and partnering organisations, including Google, Pluralsight and Udacity, to provide resources and mentorship to developers.

To qualify, it stated that selected developers spent six months in an onboard programme before being matched with one of Andela’s partner companies as full-time engineering team members.

These partners range from industry leaders such as Viacom and Mastercard Labs to high-growth technology companies including Gusto and GitHub. With offices in Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Kampala, Uganda, Andela has hired 500 developers to date — the top 0.7 per cent of more than 70,000 applicants from across the continent.

The Country Director, Andela Nigeria, Seni Sulyman, said, “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 and 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.”

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