Andela Seeks To Build On Hectic Decade As Bold Bet Starts To Pay Off

By  |  May 24, 2024

Andela, notable for its groundbreaking tech talent initiatives in Africa and since reborn as a global marketplace for tech talent, underwent a tumultuous transformation that stirred concerns among industry observers. However, what seemed like a distressing upheaval may have started to pay off as Andela looks back on an eventful decade as part of its 10th-anniversary commemorations.

“As we look to the future, Andela will continue to show why we are the most trusted tech talent marketplace for enterprises. Our customers will continue to experience the world as a hiring pool, and technology will continue to enable us to extend that reach,” says Andela CEO Jeremy Johnson who co-founded the startup along with Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Nadayar Enegesi, Brice Nkengsa, Ian Carnevale, and Christina Sass.

Backed by prominent investors such as Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Softbank, Andela’s journey is marked by significant milestones. They’ve trained over 110,000 technologists, surpassing their original 10-year goal, a communication shared with WT says. Plus, they’ve grown their talent pool in Africa by an impressive 179% annually for the past decade, spanning 49 countries on the continent. MasterCard, GitHub, and Mindshare are among notable clients.

In its journey to becoming a unicorn valued at USD 1.5 B in 2021, Andela faced significant shifts in strategy and operational focus. Founded in 2014 with the vision of training African software developers for global employment opportunities, the company initially garnered attention for its innovative approach to talent development.

However, as early as September 2019, Andela made headlines with a tough move: letting go of hundreds of developers across multiple African countries. This marked a departure from its original model, signalling a shift towards prioritising experienced talent placement over entry-level training.

The decision to downsize operations and redefine its mission raised eyebrows in the tech community. Questions arose about Andela’s ability to maintain its status as a leading force in Africa’s tech revolution. Yet, these doubts were not unfounded, as further changes ensued.

By May of the following year, the talent platform shuttered its physical offices in Africa, fully embracing a remote-first approach. This move, coupled with layoffs and operational restructuring, prompted speculation about the company’s future trajectory.

However, what appeared as turbulence in Andela’s journey is proving vital to its transformation. The company emerged from its shakeup with a revamped model, renewed focus and expanded offerings. Beyond software developers, Andela began catering to a broader spectrum of tech talent, including designers, product managers, and data specialists.

The company has repeatedly asserted that this pivot not only diversified its service portfolio but also positioned Andela as a global source pool for engineering talent, spanning over 100 countries, though this hasn’t happened without challenges. Andela grappled with a lawsuit from TopTal over trade secrets after poaching some talent from its rival while facing heightened competition in the tech talent sourcing market.

Nevertheless, the remote-first experiment, once viewed sceptically, is proving a masterstroke. This shift enabled Andela to overcome the limitations of traditional office setups and also facilitated access to untapped talent markets in regions like Africa and Latin America, WT gathered.

Mike Ndimurukundo, Managing Director of Andela Rwanda, believes Andela’s progress is “proof that opportunities can be effectively distributed, enabling technologists from Africa or anywhere in the world, to drive innovation.”

As companies worldwide seek to optimise their workforce strategies to keep up with the zeitgeist in an era shaping up to be a defining one for the future of tech, Andela looks positioned to play a key role.

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