According to Quartz, Andela recent Series D round is one of the largest ever single rounds raised by an African-focused tech company. In case you didn’t know, Andela trains developers in Nigeria and Kenya for contract work with U.S. employers and other big tech corporations, and its investors say remote work could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The round is led by Generation Investment Management, an investment firm co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore, with participation from existing investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures), Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital. It brings the total venture funding raised by Andela to $180 million.
The company’s model is based on admitting developers on a four-year contract through a highly selective process. Andela has so far taken only 1,000 of its 100,000 applicants [yes, Andela has a tighter acceptance rate than Harvard], after which they train them into world-class developers and outsource them to global companies in need of their services.
The idea for Andela started with a Nigerian online education startup called Fora. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, one of Fora’s founders, said the company was struggling to raise capital. So they reached out to Johnson, whose own company, 2U, was based on a similar idea. At a meeting in New York, the group came up with the rough idea for Andela. Critics in Lagos have complained that a Nigerian success story was erased with the arrival of Mark Zuckerberg and his money. “Now that the validation of Andela as a success is going global, Lagos has been reduced to one of the campuses of [a] New York-based startup,” O. O. Nwoye, a prominent Nigerian entrepreneur, wrote in a 2016 essay.