Softbank’s Investment of 200 Million Dollars, Andela Becomes a Unicorn

Andela is the name of a start-up connecting software engineers in the African continent to enterprises worldwide. The start-up has raised 200 million dollars from investors led by Softbank.

Seven years ago, Andela initially started with a shop in Lagos, Nigeria. The start-up intended to address a severe scarcity of software developers and engineers in the entire continent.

Andela settled on a model where it picked and trained engineers in an intense 6-month boot camp. After the training, they place them at worldwide companies and enterprises.

A majority of tech companies functioning in Africa recruited some or no engineering talents in their home markets; instead, their technical workforce worked out of centers in many foreign countries.

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More than 130000 candidates joined the 6-month training program at boot camps by Andela between 2014 -2019. These boot camps happened within 4 African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Nigeria.

The possible social impact of training tons of software developers from Africa produced buzz globally. It also enticed popular investors, like Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) and Priscilla Chan, his wife. The very popular tennis player Serena Williams and ex-Vice President of the US Al Gore were also there.

Softbank’s Investment of 200 Million Dollars
Softbank’s Investment of 200 Million Dollars

In the year 2019, however, Andela stated that the market for junior software developers had become flooded in recruiter nations such as the United States. Later on, Andela concentrated on placing more talented engineers.

The company said that by shifting to focus on placing more engineers, it could sustain more lasting engagements with global businesses. In 2020, it shifted to a completely distant work company, shutting down its physical campuses in many African countries, and released itself to place more software developers from across Africa with worldwide enterprises.

While the pivot, Andela no longer trains software developers closely. The company has passed on that social impact objective to the Andela Learning Community. It is an online learning institute that already has more than 100000 members.

Softbank’s Vision Fund 2

At the moment, Andela defines itself as a global talent network pushing to serve client companies in the United States or many other countries.

Andela is presently valued at 1.5 million dollars after a 200-million-dollar investment led by Softbank’s Vision Fund 2.

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Following this, the company has raised a total of 381 million dollars since its establishment, as per Crunchbase data.

Furthermore, Lydia Jett, who is a founding partner at Softbank Investment Advisors, will join the board of the company. Lydia Jett also stated that hiring distant technical talent is among the major challenges that enterprises of the present time face.

According to her statement, she believes that Andela will turn out to be the favored talent partner for the best distant companies worldwide.

Andela and its workforce

Andela started a global expansion earlier this year after a local one in 2020. This move matched with the fully distant guidelines of Andela in a proposal to tap into the talent pool of more than 500000 engineers in the future.

Johnson said that the company has more than 300 employees and will use the novel funds to add to that staff, mainly in engineering, product, and development. Moreover, it is investing in progression, product development, and constant extension of technology.

Last summer, Andela, along with many of its personnel were indicted by freelancer marketplace Toptal. The court case asserts the theft of business secrets following a perfect clone of its business, as per the objection.

The case also claimed biased competition, intervention with the agreement, and misuse of business secrets.

Despite the claims, Johnson said that there hasn’t been moved there. He ponders the court case as “the price you pay for doing things that matter,” and that it was a strategy to frighten the workforce.

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Although Andela has enticed many investors, it faced problems with its business model, counting laying off workers in 2019 even after raising a 100 million dollars Series D.

Its ax to being a worldwide tech network from its African origins as a talent accelerator wasn’t to get favor with investors, Johnson said. A majority of the company’s technology is yet from Africa, and it carries on to expand in Nigeria. 

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