Andela raises $24m in new funding round from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Andela recognizes that while aptitude is evenly distributed, opportunity is not.

When talent accelerator Andela launched in  September 2014, it’s idea seemed to many the best thing since the internet; they were not wrong to think so. The coding school pays its students up to $500 to learn. In return, the students, known as fellows, agree to complete a six-month training program and spend three-and-a-half years working for Andela hiring partners.On another day, they could have paid $15,000 to get the kind of education they get at Andela.

People who saw the future envisioned by Andela’s founders helped it launch with a seed round of funding. Thanks to investors including Steve Case, Omidyar Network, Founder Collective, Rothenberg Ventures, Learn Capital, Melo7 Tech Partners, and co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes, the startup was able to kickstart the training of Africa’s elite coding apprentices as it works towards eliminating the global skills gap.

Two years after Hughes made a bet on Andela, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg agrees and has led a $24 million round through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

“As part of our commitment to unlocking human potential and promoting equality, we invest in companies that are creating new, innovative ways to prepare all learners for meaningful careers and lifelong success. We are excited to invest in Andela’s long-term growth, as well as the long-term growth of the people it supports,” CZI wrote on its Facebook page.

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan founded the philanthropic organization last December. It is estimated to worth $45 billion.

GV, formerly known as Google Ventures is also involved in the Series B round.

“The round represents a huge vote of confidence from some of the most respected names in technology. Not only is it a vote for Andela, but it’s also a recognition of the caliber of software developers and human beings that make up the Andela Fellowship,” Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder of Andela wrote in a note to the startup’s investors and advisors.

The startup which currently has training locations in Nigeria and Kenya hopes to add more as applicants have more than doubled from 15,000 to over 40,000.

Johnson sees the program as a platform that could equip brilliant young African students with the developer skills essential for meeting high demand from tech companies.

“By valuing aptitude, motivation and grit over previous experience, we can connect companies looking for strong technical talent with top students,” the Andela CEO says.