Nigeria’s Andela Joins The League Of Unicorns After Raising $200m At A Valuation Of $1.5b

Andela has attained unicorn status after raising $200 million in its Series E funding round. The funding round was led by SoftBank through its SoftBank Vision Fund 2 initiative. The round also saw participation from old investors like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Spark Capital and Generation Investment Management, and new investor Whale Rock.

Andela was founded in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014 by Ian Carnevale, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jeremy Johnson and  Christina Sass. The company started out as a training company with the aim of providing a platform to match developers in developing markets with North American companies. It is a completely remote company and deals with building engineering teams for tech companies on a global scale.

Following the Series E funding of $200 million, the company’s valuation has increased to $1.5 billion, bringing it into its unicorn era. In June 2016, Andela received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and went on to raise $40 million in Series C funding in 2017 from CRE Venture Capital, DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures and TLcom Capital. It went on to launch its Rwanda office in 2018 and raised $100 million in 2019 raising its valuation to $700 million. According to data from Crunchbase, the company has raised a total of $381 million since it became operational in 2014.

Founding partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers; Lydia Jett, will be joining Andela’s board of directors as part of its investment in the company. A written statement by Lydia Jett read “hiring remote technical talent is one of the top challenges that companies face today, and we believe Andela will become the preferred talent partner for the world’s best companies as remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm”.

Andela, which was formerly mainly Africa-focused, started expanding globally this year, and thanks to its fully remote mode of operating, the company has been able to achieve a lot and not even the pandemic could be a hindrance. It currently has engineers in over 80 countries and more than 200 clients.

The company’s CEO Jeremy Johnson is of the opinion that its collaboration with SoftBank will push the company to greater heights, especially now that the world is evolving into a remote work system. “Remote is why Andela has worked in the first place. In some ways, it is also a stamp of approval that top tech companies are looking for remote approaches to building engineering teams and sourcing talent. We hear from SoftBank, and others, that finding tech talent is tough. Andela becomes pushing the easy button on all of that”, he said.

According to him, the company does not have any specific acquisition in mind but rather is looking to invest to expand its talent network geographically and client and talent base. It also wants to invest in technology that assists it in sourcing better talents while also managing the delivery. “There are a lot of moving pieces, so additional technology to do that faster is always interesting. In the process, we are moving into AI as a part of that”, CEO Jeremy Johnson added.

Andela has about 300 employees and plans on increasing its workforce. Companies like Andela that started in Africa and have attained global recognition are proof that the continent is slowly but gradually growing.

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