Yesterday HIGHLINE portfolio company Andela announced a Series A round led by Spark Capital, a $2 billion Boston-based VC firm whose portfolio includes startup giants like Twitter, Oculus, and Tumblr.
Described by CNN as harder to get into than Harvard, Andela is an elite computer science training program for aspiring young coders in Africa with just a 0.5% acceptance rate. The bootcamp’s self-funding education model involves paying students rather than charging tuition, then matching them with global employers that range from startups to Fortune 500 companies, effectively empowering them to finance their education through applied work.
As every North American leader looking for technical talent knows, finding quality engineers can be incredibly difficult. According to Andela, there are currently about five job openings for every developer in the US — that’s about 1.8 million unfilled jobs — and a gap they believe they can help fill.
“By unlocking new global talent pipelines, we are creating a scalable platform to help close the global skills gap while investing in the world’s most under-utilized resource: human capital,” their website explains. Each Andela Fellow goes through over 1,000 hours of training over a four-year period, making it the most comprehensive developer training program in the world. The company is also putting a strong focus on training female technical talent, and last year hosted an all-female bootcamp.
“Andela fellows are placed with a tech company just six months after they start their training, even though Andela pays students a wage that puts them in the top 5 percent of Nigerian income earners from the start,” TechCrunch explains.
Andela’s Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Johnson says they will begin their first courses in Kenya next month, and over the next 10 years, are determined to train 100,000 developers across the continent.
Andela’s other co-founders include Ian Carnevale and Christina Sass who work with Jeremy at Andela’s NYC office, while co-founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji heads up their Nigerian office.
HIGHLINE is thrilled to see the continued success of Andela. An investment like this serves as evidence that impact-focused social enterprises are drawing the attention and respect of notable VCs across the continent, which is something we love to see.