For its first lead investment, Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan’s social issues-minded fund is looking to help Andela train more engineers in Africa to get tech jobs.
Nearly a year ago from today, Andela announced its Series A funding round led by Spark Capital which was meant to maintain its Kenyan and Nigerian growth while also maintaining a high standard of operations.
Suggested Read: Why Andela is paying Nigerians to become World Class developers
According to a report on Forbes.com, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced that it is leading a new $24 million Series B round of funding into Andela. Venture firm GV also joined the round, alongside existing investors Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and CRE Ventures.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a limited liability company formed last year by the Facebook billionaire and his wife to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy”. The company funds nonprofits and also invest in private (including for profit) — and startups — companies.
Andela is a
startup social venture training Africans to be world class developers and till date, has trained just under 200 engineers in its two years in operation, accepting them from a pool of 40,000 applicants and giving them six months of intensive training before sending them to spend two weeks at technology partners.
CEO, Jeremy Johnson said,
“The goal is to cultivate next generation of founders and CTOs of great companies across Africa.”
According to the Forbes report, Jeremy Johnson said Andela wasn’t looking to raise the money just yet but after meeting the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative team at an event, they did reconsider.
In a statement, the Mark Zuckerberg said,
”We live in a world where talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Andela’s mission is to close that gap. Companies get access to great developers, and developers in Africa get the opportunity to use their skills and support their communities. Priscilla and I believe in supporting innovative models of learning wherever they are around the world—and what Andela is doing is pretty amazing.”
Andela plans to open up a presence in a third African nation after Kenya and Nigeria later this year and opened a San Francisco office last month. The company plans to double its just under 200 developers trained to date over the next year.
Johnson says Andela isn’t profitable and isn’t trying to be, while focusing on scaling its presence; the partnerships with tech companies including Google, Microsoft and startups such as 6Sense and the Muse, however, brings in “real” revenue, he says.
The company’s biggest challenge is to prove that the quality of its graduates can be maintained at larger numbers. “When companies interact with Andela developers right now, they think, this person is sort of amazing,” says Johnson. Perhaps new investor Zuckerberg knows a thing or two about maintaining engineering quality at scale.