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Andela Attains Unicorn Status Thanks To $200m Funding

Seven years after it's launch, Andela achives unicorm status thanks to Softbank Vision Fund 2.

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Andela Attains Unicorn Status Thanks To $200m Funding

Andela’s valuation has just propelled it into unicorn status thanks to a $200 million Series E funding. Led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, a $30 billion venture fund of the SoftBank Group, the Nigeria-founded fully remote company is currently valued at $1.5 billion. As is the case with tech funding, Andela brought together a consortium involving Whale Rock, Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Spark Capital.

Andela has raised a total of $381 million since it was founded in 2014, according to Crunchbase data. Its last valuation of $700 million came when the company raised a $100 million Series D in 2019. Their network presently contains engineers from more than 80 countries and six continents. Through them, thousands have been placed with leading technology companies including GithubCloudflare and ViacomCBS.

So why the Series E funding?

Jeremy Johnson, Andela CEO and Co-Founder, illuminates. When Andela set foot on the planet, remote work, as Johnson pointed out in his statement, was just an idea. One that was “rarely practised.” People had to rub shoulders in physical spaces to get things done. Then the pandemic happened. He then poses the question, “how do you hire the right people when you have the whole world to choose from?” Everywhere and all the time as it so happens. But they would need to do a fine job sorting out candidates in what is a rather complex hiring process.

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An engineer needs to be something of a badass to get noticed. “How do you stand out in a pool of thousands, especially if your resume doesn’t include globally recognised brands? People are eager to work with top companies without needing to leave their home, let alone their country. Driven, talented people want to have the best of both worlds – professional growth in their careers but also the freedom and flexibility to live life on their terms.”

The company has found itself growing quite rapidly. So much so they decided to raise “a $200M Series E, led by Softbank, in order to reshape how companies find and hire the world’s best technical talent.” With a gift for matchmaking, Andela has had a 96 per cent successful placement rate. This goes beyond the gig economy. “The average Andela engineer spends 18 months on an engagement,” says Johnson.

This is not a case of the stars aligning. Andela, it would seem, was always looking into a certain future. Going remote during the pandemic was not a stroke of luck either though it may have seemed to be so. “We started Andela because we believe that brilliance is evenly distributed, but artificially constrained by borders, real and imagined. We are doing more to reduce those barriers today than ever before. By the end of this year, we will have engineers from more than 100 countries working with some of the best companies in the world — and on average, earning 64 per cent more than they did in their previous job. By the end of next year, it will feel normal that the best engineer on your team is from somewhere you haven’t been to.”

In his interview with TechCrunch, Johnson stated that there are no acquisition plans at the moment. Only saying that they were looking into ways of broadening their talent networks both geographically and when it comes to talent pools while at the same time, delivering their promise. “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.” They are looking at half a million engineers in the next few years and want to make the process “faster, easier, and more effective to hire globally through Andela than it is for companies to hire locally today.” He says that “As a result, companies will have access to better talent, and talent will have access to more compelling roles – and race, gender, and nationality will become less deterministic of opportunity.”

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To bridge the gap between investor and start-up, Lydia Jett, founding partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join Andela’s board.

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