Mark Zuckerberg invests $24 million in Lagos-founded startup

16 Jun 2016
Financial Nigeria


Zuckerberg said he and his wife invested in Andela to help find and train top tech talents in Africa.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-Founder and Recruitment Director, Andela

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic investment vehicle of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, has led other investors to make a $24 million investment in Andela, a start-up that trains software developers in Africa.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Zuckerberg said he and his wife invested in Andela to help find and train top tech talents in Africa. He said supporting innovative models of learning wherever they are around the world is what he and his wife believe in.

“The gap between talent and opportunity is among the greatest in Africa. Six out of every ten Africans are under the age of 35 –and in some places, more than half of them are out of work,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The investment in Andela marks the first major investment by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which Zuckerberg and Priscillia launched last December with a mission to advance human potential and promote equality. The couple pledged to give away 99 percent of its Facebook shares, which are currently valued at $48 billion.

Aside form Zuckerberg, other participating investors in Andela are GV (formerly Google Ventures) as well as Andela’s existing investors including Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital, and Africa­based CRE Ventures.

Founded in Lagos in 2014 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Jeremy Johnson, Andela selects the top 1 percent of tech talents from Africa and enrolls them in a six-month intensive training at one of its campuses in Lagos and Nairobi. Andela then pairs each developer with one of its vetted company partners as a full­time, remote team member.

Developers trained by Andela are currently working for top tech companies, ranging from venture-­backed startups like 6Sense and the Muse to industry leaders including Google and Microsoft. In the past two years, Andela said it has received over 40,000 applications and accepted the top 0.7 percent.

With the new funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other investors, Andela says it plans to fuel growth on the African continent and make entry into a third African country by the end of 2016.

“Identifying and securing technical talent is a pain point for organizations all over the world, and a problem that Andela is addressing by bridging the gap between the most promising developers in Africa and the companies that need them,” said Johnson, Andela’s CEO.

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