Andela, the software development outsourcing startup famous for training hundreds of African software engineers, has secured a $100 million investment in its series D funding round. The latest pool of support, disclosed yesterday, comes from a group of investors led by former US Vice President Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, and other notable organizations such as the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Spark Capital, and CRE Ventures.
Starting in 2014, the year of its founding, Andela has thus far trained over 1,000 software engineers in four campuses located in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, and has assigned these top talents to work with tech companies around the world, especially in the United States and Europe. It has become a favourite reference for analysts who speak of a growing army of African software developers helping to plug the expanding global supply gap in this area.
Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO at Andela, points to this “distributed” work model as the future that’s needed to close the gap in the supply of software engineers to the world’s many tech companies. In his words, “Andela is able to provide the talent and technologies to power high performing teams and help companies adopt the distributed model faster.”
Andela, which began operations in Lagos with a founding team that included serial entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, is currently serving 200 companies, most of them based in the US, with the skills of its hundreds of software developers, which it has selected from over 100,000 applicants over a period of four years. Investors think there’s more gain to be made in further expansion.
Lilly Wollman, Co-Head of Growth at Generation Investment, has also reiterated the basic thinking that has driven investment in Andela. She says that Generation Investment’s stake in the company is based on its understanding of the evolution of work models. According to her, the growing tendency towards outsourcing team roles makes Andela all the more attractive, because it mirrors this tendency in a viable way.
Accolades have come Andela’s way in the past couple of years as its work has become more prominent. In 2018, it was named the best company to work for in Africa. The year before, American business magazine Fast Company had named it the most innovative company on the continent.
The series D investment brings the total venture funding in Andela to $180 million. Previous rounds include a $40 million series C investment in 2017 fronted by CRE Venture Capital and a $24 million series B funding round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in the previous year.
The new support will help Andela double its size through 2019, and make its talent management and deployment more data-driven. Expansion across Africa is also said to be on the cards. The rapid increase in the number of applications to the startup and similar ventures from within Nigeria and elsewhere on the continent suggests that there are even more smart engineers waiting to be taken in and that this population is swelling all the time.
It’s been pointed out that this $100 million funding round ensures that investment in African startups for the year 2019 has already reached a third of what it was for the whole of the previous year. It’s the third largest venture investment for an African startup. The gradual enlargement of sums put into tech companies in Nigeria and the wider continent by venture capital firms and other interests is seen as a sign that the space is gaining more global traction with the passing of time.
Featured image source andela.com