Andela closes Series A round to fund pan-African expansion

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African technology training programme Andela has announced it has closed a Series A funding round led by Spark Capital in order to allow it to expand further across the continent.

Launched in Nigeria in September last year, Andela received over 10,000 applications in its first six months of operation, prompting the decision to expand the programme across Africa. It then called for applications from Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, before announcing a launch in Kenya earlier this month.

It has today confirmed a funding round led by Spark Capital which, though the amount is undisclosed, will be used to help meet the “growing demand” for Andela’s remote software developers in the United States and Europe, while also helping Andela maintain its growth and expand further across Africa.

Omidyar Network, LearnCapital and other leading investors from North America and Africa are also part of the funding round for Andela, which trains young Africans to become software developers and connects them with companies remotely around the world.

Clients include Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, as well as fast-growing technology breakouts like Udacity. With more than 15,000 applications, Andela’s acceptance rate is below one per cent.

Andela co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Jeremy Johnson said the investment would accelerate Andela’s efforts to bring the success it had seen in Nigeria to other African countries.

“There is an incredible demand for world-class technology talent in global markets, and an equally strong desire for new career opportunities across Africa. This investment will help us meet both challenges,” Johnson said.

“Spark Capital prides itself on identifying companies with the potential to transform an industry, and we see that potential in Andela,” said Spark Capital general partner Alex Finkelstein, who is joining the Andela board.

“Offering talent-as-a-service, Andela is tapping into the world’s most underutilised resource – human capital – and leveraging it to empower global enterprises to thrive.”

Over the course of four years, Andela developers can earn five times the average middle-class Nigerian income and save thirteen times as much, according to the company.

“We are proud to be the lead impact investor in Andela,” said Amy Klement, partner at Omidyar Network. “It is highly unusual to find a company with the potential to become not just a global business, but a powerful engine for social impact, and Andela is just that sort of enterprise. Andela embodies the idea of a mission with a business.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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