Andela featured in the New York Times

Startup Bets on Tech Talent Pipeline from Africa

New York Times
By Steve Lohr
October 12, 2017

11ANDELA1-superJumboSeni Suly­man, Andela’s coun­try direc­tor in Nige­ria, join­ing col­leagues for a video call in Lagos. He said the com­pa­ny “is a plat­form for giv­ing peo­ple who want to learn and suc­ceed access and oppor­tu­ni­ty.” Tom Saater for The New York Times
When Tolu­lope Komo­lafe first heard the pitch, she was skep­ti­cal. A fledg­ling com­pa­ny in Lagos, Nige­ria, would pay her to learn how to write mod­ern com­put­er code and then offer her a good job in the high-tech econ­o­my.

I thought it was a con,” she recalled. “Too good to be true.”

After inquir­ing, Ms. Komo­lafe found the offer was real. Today, she is a soft­ware devel­op­er, work­ing remote­ly from Lagos for a start-up in New York, and she dreams of start­ing her own tech com­pa­ny some­day.

Ms. Komo­lafe, a 27-year-old Niger­ian, is one of hun­dreds of young Africans who have joined Andela, a fast-grow­ing start-up based in New York that has attract­ed the atten­tion and mon­ey of peo­ple like the Face­book founder Mark Zucker­berg and works with blue-chip com­pa­nies like Mas­ter­card.

The company’s ambi­tious agen­da spans edu­ca­tion, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and mon­ey­mak­ing. It is bet­ting on its abil­i­ty to build out a tal­ent pipeline of African soft­ware devel­op­ers to the Unit­ed States and else­where, tap­ping into a con­ti­nent eager to con­nect to the glob­al dig­i­tal econ­o­my.

Jere­my John­son, Andela’s chief exec­u­tive, says the com­pa­ny offers “a very dif­fer­ent mod­el for unlock­ing human poten­tial.”

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Olu­fun­milade Osho­di, left, and Tolu­lope Komo­lafe are among hun­dreds of Africans work­ing for Andela as soft­ware devel­op­ers. Axel Dupeux for The New York Times
The ani­mat­ing idea behind Andela, found­ed in 2014, is that Africa has plen­ty of smart peo­ple, but that they too often lack the prepa­ra­tion for and path­ways to gain­ful jobs — the miss­ing ingre­di­ents that Andela can pro­vide in the field of soft­ware devel­op­ment.

Not only does Andela instruct peo­ple in per­son, but 20,000 aspir­ing pro­gram­mers across Africa have used its free online learn­ing and train­ing tools. By 2024, Andela hopes to have helped pre­pare 100,000 soft­ware devel­op­ers in Africa for jobs, includ­ing thou­sands work­ing for Andela.

After six months of paid train­ing, the Andela employ­ees become remote mem­bers of soft­ware devel­op­ment teams at com­pa­nies. The cur­rent ros­ter of 112 cus­tomers includes Via­com, Mas­ter­card Labs, GitHub and Seat­Geek in the Unit­ed States, and clients in 10 oth­er coun­tries.

This is a plat­form for giv­ing peo­ple who want to learn and suc­ceed access and oppor­tu­ni­ty,” said Seni Suly­man, a 32-year-old grad­u­ate of Har­vard Busi­ness School, who is the coun­try direc­tor for Andela in Nige­ria.

Read the rest of the sto­ry at The New York Times