FIRST LEAD FOR CHAN-ZUCKERBERG: Andela wants to unleash Africa’s pool of software engineering talent, and so too do Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. The New York City-based startup has raised $24 million in a Series B round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—the fund’s first lead investment. Other investors include GV (the new name for Google Ventures) along with existing backers Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and CRE Ventures also participated in the funding.
Founded in 2014, Andela boasts a very selective process; less than 0.7 percent of the 40,000-plus applicants have been accepted into its six-month training program, which currently operates in Lagos and Nairobi. Nearly 200 graduates have landed jobs in startups and blue-chip companies including Google, Facebook and IBM.
“The round represents a huge vote of confidence from some of the most respected names in technology,” Andela’s CEO and co-founder, Jeremy Johnson, wrote in an email to investors. “Not only is it a vote for Andela, though, it’s also recognition of the caliber of software developers and human beings that make up the Andela Fellowship.”
This latest funding will allow the company to expand its services to a third African country this year. The company has now raised $41 million.
“We live in a world where talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Andela’s mission is to close that gap,” Zuckerberg wrote in a brief post. Many of his Silicon Valley colleagues and competitors—who often bemoan the shortage of programmers—will applaud this investment.