Andela, an African start-up that helps tech companies build remote engineering teams globally has raised $200 million from investors led by SoftBank’s Softbank Vision Fund 2, the $30 billion venture fund of SoftBank Group, in a Series E funding round that values the company at $1.5 billion. Joining SoftBank in the investment is new investor Whale Rock and existing investors including Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Spark Capital.
The Andela deal is SoftBank’s third publicly disclosed investment in a Nigeria-founded company. In April, the Japanese firm backed Shyft Power Solutions, a clean energy company. And in August, it led the $400 million Series C round in OPay, the agency banking company, valuing the startup at $2 billion.
According to TechCrunch, After closing this Series E round, Andela has raised a total of $381 million since being founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014. Its last valuation of $700 million came when the company raised a $100 million Series D in 2019.
Hiring remote technical talent is one of the top challenges that companies face today, and we believe Andela will become the preferred talent partner for the world’s best companies as remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm.As part of the investment, Lydia Jett, founding partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join Andela’s board. In a written statement, Jett said.
Andela began in Lagos, in 2014, with the aim of addressing a problem, the shortage of software developers and engineers in Africa. They used a model where it selected and trained engineers in an intense six-month boot camp and then placed them at global companies in junior developer roles. This was a time, most tech companies operating in Africa hired few or no engineers in their home markets, instead, their technical staff worked out of hubs in the U.K., Portugal, or Eastern Europe.
Between 2014 and 2019, over 130,000 applicants joined Andela’s six-month training program at boot camps in four African countries — Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. The potential social impact of training hundreds of African developers generated buzz internationally and attracted big-name investors, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; tennis star Serena Williams; and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s investment fund, Generation Investment Management.
In 2019, Andela switched its focus from junior developers because the space had become saturated in recruiter countries like the U.S., instead they’re focusing on more experienced engineers, which led to the company laying hundreds ts 1,500 junior developers.
Andela no longer trains developers directly; it has passed on that social impact mission to the Andela Learning Community, an online learning program that reportedly has over 100,000 participants. Andela describes itself as a “global talent network” now, with a push to serve client companies in countries like the U.S., where there’s a never-ending demand for talent.