One that prides itself as having the capacity to provide solutions for a mix of start-ups and Fortune 500 companies must have more than a vision statement, but a world-class team of developers to bring dreams into fruition.
Andela stands on pillars of ‘unmatched brilliance’, ‘total commitment’, ‘elite training’, and ‘more than code’. The last pillar is one that should instantly jump at anyone, with interest. The popularly held stereotype that coding is reserved for geeks, nerds and those regarded as ‘social outcasts’. That an applicant has to have an IQ that breaks the scale to stand a chance of getting into Tech; the belief that when you get a product from a Techie, you could as well sit behind your computer with a ‘Dummy Series’ while you order since you won’t bet on that user experience/human touch.
At Andela, it’s “more than code.”
Andela’s vision, according to CEO Jeremy Johnson, sees them aiming “at meeting the need for technical talent while creating pathways to economic empowerment for young people across Africa.”
Andela is a software training and outsourcing platform based in Lagos, Nigeria. The company was launched in September 2014 by Jeremy Johnson, co-founder of recently public edu-tech startup 2U, Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, American education advocate Christina Sass, and Canadian startup founder Ian Carnevale.
The company’s ambitious roadmap is one for interest and a “self-funding training model that has led it to become the most selective tech training programme on the continent.” Andela seeks to tap into the labour pool in Africa, starting from the estimated 55 percent unemployed in Nigeria. They seek to turn the fortunes of the unemployed around into world-class developers.
For the onlooker, this is definitely ambitious given the current state of tech education in Nigeria. But for a company that has been listed as one of the Inc.’s “top 10 Tech companies shaking their industries”; on CNN’s “10 African start-ups that rocked 2014”; a recipient of Forbes’ “12 companies transforming education”, they are sure on that path to “creating pathways.”
In June 2015, the software skills training organization secured a funding north of $10 million (seed investment) from a round led by US-based venture capital firm, Stark Capital, who have funded giants like Twitter and Oculus VR.
This move, including investments from Omidyar Network, US-based Learn Capital and Hakeem Bello-Osagie, Chairman Etisalat Nigeria, gives credence to their ideas, strategies and Andela’s worth—the salability of their vision.
According to a Quartz profile of the brand, “Andela generates its primary revenue from the fees earned by placing its trained developers with clients who are predominantly in North America, though there are now clients from Europe and one in Tanzania.” This symbiotic relationship between mentor and mentee crosses over to outsourcing skills to clients.
Andela aims to train 10,000 people in a 10-year plan.
Johnson reels out the Andela plan: “Over the next two decades, more people will be poised to enter the workforce in Africa than the rest of the world combined.”
“Many of the opportunities that will be available will require a technical background. We’re preparing brilliant young people not only to compete for these opportunities in the years ahead, but to build the companies that will transform Africa in the 21st century.”
Though the company is set to capture an untapped market, they protect their “unmatched brilliance” pillar with only 0.7% of 15,000 applications in 2015—a shrewd list but, nevertheless, keeps to the plan one step at a time.
The highly selective recruitment process helps to find the right fit for its four-year programme with an internship/client-placement within six months of the training. Partnerships with Microsoft, Udacity, and other top platforms builds the reputation of its team and students.
Other partners who have bought into the Andela vision include Melo 7 Tech, Rothenberg Ventures, Peak Ventures, Summit, Susa Ventures, African Angels Network.
With the fickle nature of a field like technology- some say solutions having 18-month cycles- Andela has positioned itself to adapt to the growing needs and expectations of the industry to be at the cutting-edge and poised to be a leader.
The Andela curriculum offers both technical and business courses with the added advantage of networking with US-based team members.
In keeping with its vision, Andela expanded its operations to Kenya in July 2015 as it hopes its fellows play key roles in the “continued growth of the continent overall.”
Andela is The Sheet NG Business of the Week.
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