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Zuckerberg Invests 24 Million in Nigerian Startup, Andela

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced that they have banked $24 million in a Series B round of funding into Andela, with participation from GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc.

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced that they have banked $24 million in a Series B round of funding into Andela, with participation from GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc. previously known as Google Ventures. With this, the couple made a move toward their first major investment in education in Africa. In a post on Facebook Live, Zuckerberg announced that they are investing in an education company called Andela.

Zuckerberg and Chan aim to support innovative models of learning wherever they are around the world and what Andela is doing is pretty amazing. Zuckerberg has been especially focused on education. He donated $100 million to the Newark, N.J., school system in 2010 a venture that wasn’t entirely effective—and promised an additional $120 million in May 2014 to improve education in the San Francisco Bay Area. His enthusiasm is infectious.

What is Andela?

Andela selects the top 1% of tech talent from the largest pool of untapped talent in the world—young Africas–by identifying high-potential developers on the Continent, shaping them into world-class technical leaders, and pairing them with companies as full-time, distributed team members. This allows Andela’s clients, which range from startups to the Fortune 500s, to accelerate their product roadmaps while minimizing time spent interviewing, on-boarding, and training new hires. Andela is backed by investors including Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Susa Ventures, Steve Case, Founder Collective, Rothenberg Ventures, Learn Capital and more.

While young Nigerians struggled to get jobs, tech roles in United States were hard to fill.

How it Started

The idea was the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Nigerian Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, selected as one of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers in 2012 and American Jeremy Johnson, who made the Forbes 30 under 30 list last year. The pair put their heads together and noticed that while young Nigerians struggled to get jobs, tech roles in United States were hard to fill.

“Andela developers can earn five times the average middle-class Nigerian income and save thirteen times as much.”

Launched in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014, Andela searched for Africa’s best and brightest, trained them to become software developers and connected them with companies remotely around the world. Spanning multiple industries and continents, Andela’s initial clients ranged from Fortune 100 companies including Microsoft, to fast-growing technology breakouts like Udacity. With more than 15,000 applications, Andela’s acceptance rate is below 1%.

Over the course of their four-year experience at Andela, developers can earn five times the average middle-class Nigerian income and save thirteen times as much. In addition, they join a network of the smartest, most driven and technically savvy young people in the world.

Moving Back

As a Nigerian, Aboyeji’s biggest consideration was where he could make his next big company. He believes that “there are more opportunities for growth and impact for Andela in Africa” than elsewhere.

 

Learn More about Andela in this short video:

Debo Folorunsho

Debo Folorunsho serves as CEO of Applause Africa Communications and Executive Producer of the African Diaspora Awards. He has worked in Visual Design at Music Creative Group, Warner Music Communications and Design Group, and Permission Data.

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