Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan’s social issues-minded fund has invested $24 million in Andela, the fund would enable the Nigerian startup to train more engineers in Africa to get tech jobs.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is leading a new $24 million Series B round of funding into Andela, the first lead investment for the fund set up by Facebook’s billionaire founder and his wife, a trained pediatrician, last year. Forbes reported that Venture firm GV joined the round, alongside existing investors Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and CRE Ventures.
Andela has trained just under 200 engineers in its two years in operation, accepting them from a pool of 40,000 applicants and giving them six months of intensive training before sending them to spend two weeks at technology partners. After that, the Andela developers sign on to those companies full-time, working out of Andela campuses it operates in Lagos and Nairobi.
“The goal is to cultivate a next generation of founders and CTOs of great companies across Africa,” says CEO Jeremy Johnson, who made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2012 for a previous startup, 2U.
Andela plans to open up a presence in a third African nation after Kenya and Nigeria later this year and opened a San Francisco office last month. The company plans to double its just under 200 developers trained to date over the next year.
Johnson told Forbes that Andela isn’t profitable and isn’t trying to be, while focusing on scaling its presence; the partnerships with tech companies including Google, Microsoft and startups such as 6Sense and the Muse, however, brings in “real” revenue, he says.
The company’s biggest challenge is to prove that the quality of its graduates can be maintained at larger numbers. “When companies interact with Andela developers right now, they think, this person is sort of amazing,” says Johnson. Perhaps new investor Zuckerberg knows a thing or two about maintaining engineering quality at scale.