African Focused Start-Up Andela Becomes Unicorn After SoftBank $200 Million Investment

Andela, an African remote-only network for engineering talent, has raised $200 million from a Series E round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, with the participation of Whale Rock, an American investment firm, Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Spark Capital.

According to an online publication, Jeremy Johnson, CEO, and co-founder of Andela in a written statement said, “Andela has always been the high-quality option for those building remote engineering teams. Now that the world has come to embrace remote work, Andela has become the obvious choice for companies because we can find better talent, faster.

“We chose SoftBank for this round because they are very comfortable with the idea of getting big quickly,”

Johnson further stated that Andela was looking for talent networks to expand geographically as well as technology bases to enable it to better source and access talent while also managing the delivery.

For Johnson, working with SoftBank means a further acceleration of what the company is doing now, especially as the world has become more comfortable with remote working. Andela assesses the technical and social skills of engineers and matches them with the most suitable teams.

Andela is the latest Africa-focused startup to attain the “unicorn” status ( a billion-dollar valuation) for a private company this year.

Andela first opened in 2014 in Lagos, with the aim of addressing an acute shortage of software developers and engineers in Africa.

The company has more than 300 employees and will use the new capital to increase that workforce, particularly in products, engineering and growth.

An early investor in the company, Idris Ayo Bello, the managing partner at Africa-focused VC LoftyInc Capital, says investors remain optimistic about the company because they know Andela’s impact will be greatly felt in the coming years especially when individuals or developers who have worked at the company fully come into their own.

With the new capital, Andela told the Rest of the World, it will invest in “developing products to simplify global hiring and make engineers’ lives easier.”

Sources close to Andela said that the company is also expanding its talent pool beyond software developers to include experts in data, product design, and user experience, among other design skills.

SoftBank’s investment in Andela is its second major investment in rapid succession in Africa. It is coming a month after fintech platform OPay’s $ 400 million Series C round; both unicorns join fintech platforms Flutterwave and Wave as the only multi-billion dollar companies in the region this year.

The Andela deal is also SoftBank’s third publicly disclosed investment in a Nigeria-founded company.