So unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard about the news of the Andela $200m raise led by Softbank, and its entry into the Unicorn Club!
As many of you know Andela holds a special place in my story and is a big part of my current trajectory as an African Venture Capitalist.
I began my angel investing career in 2013 and Fora, which later transitioned in to Andela (a story for my unpublished book” Investing in the Dark, A Decade of Backing Afropreneurs“), was my fourth investment, and I was one of the earliest checks in.
It is of course now the second unicorn in my portfolio, after Flutterwave, earlier this year.
My experience helping the Fora (and later Andela ) team navigate the early years formed a big part of why I chose to become a full time angel investor , and later establish one of the continent’s most active local VC firms, LoftyInc Capital.
As Jeremy Johnson, Andela CEO/CoFounder said when he became an LP in our latest Fund ;
” Long before Andela was an obvious success story, Idris stepped in to back us. Bringing both capital and, just as importantly, local context and knowledge, he helped us navigate those challenging early years, and I’m proud to be able to back him and the LoftyInc team in return.”Jeremy Johnson, Andela CEO
A lot will be written about the latest massive raise and what it means for the developer ecosystem in Africa and other emerging markets, as well as the inspiration it brings to founders on the continent. In future years, I also plan to write on the Andela story from the vantage point of an investor, seeing excellence and world class culture being built one day at a time.
But I find it important to quote this excerpt from Jeremy’s announcement;
“We started Andela in 2014 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% 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 the future, global hiring will be the default position. It will be faster, easier, and more effective to hire globally through Andela than it is for companies to hire locally today. 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. “
Now I want to draw attention to an often over-looked aspect of the Andela story. Most of the time, the discussion is focused on how Andela changed the software developer ecosystem and made African developers hotcakes globally.
However, only a few insiders know that at a point, Andela also explored creating an entrepreneur track for Fellows who did not want to continue along the developer track, and rather than lose them, the intent was to help them get started on their own startups via an Andela accelerator and get support from the Andela ecosystem. Obviously for business focus reasons, the plan was later jettisoned.
But given my own accelerator and entrepreneurial backgrounds, it was an idea I loved , and so I remember making a commitment to back as many Andela alumni who became entrepreneurs as I could.
Like Paypal , Like Andela?
But as someone who has seen the ripple effect of the Paypal mafia in the US, and the Uber/Careem mafia in MENAP, I got thinking a few days ago about trying to see if something like that could be made to happen in the next decade.
And to my surprise, I started asking my Andela people (thanks Seni, Nad, Gbenga, Yvonne, and Iyin) to see if they knew any Andela alumni (defined loosely as someone who used to be a Fellow or employee at Andela) who had gone on to either start a tech startup themselves, or play a lead role at one .
Surprise , surprise. We came up with this list of over 50 Andela alumni who have since gone on to found companies or lead a startup.
Welcome to the Andela Mafia!
|1.||Nadayar Enegesi||Co-Founder/CEOFounding Resident||Edenlife|
|4.||Firi Adoki||Food Producer||Edenlife|
|5.||Collins Unogu||Finance Manager||Edenlife|
|7.||Temitope Akinremi||Customer Success Manager||Indicina|
|9.||Rita Achebe||Technical Recruiting Manager||TalentQL|
|11.||Johnny Falla||Chief Growth & Development Officer||Wowzi|
|15.||Innocent Amadi||Co-Founder/Innovation||Hera Marketing|
|16.||Oluebube Egbuna||Co-Founder/Strategy||Hera Marketing|
|17.||Olaide Agboola||Dropper Africa|
|20.||Olamide Danso||Bundle Africa|
|21.||Tobi Otokiti||Senior Growth Product Manager||Flutterwave|
|24.||Ugo Okoro||CEO/Co-Founder||Muster Africa|
|25.||Adeola Okunoye||Head, Service Operations||Muster Africa|
|26.||Joshua Ayo Omomia||CEO||Africa Resource Company,|
|27.||Mustapha Abokede||Co-Founder||Aspire Power Solution|
|30.||Sean McLintock||Founding Partner||NeoKuma Ventures|
|32.||Michael Rosenberg||Founder/Customer Experience||Startwise|
|33.||Matt Heider||CEO||Nautilus Labs|
|34.||Seni Sulyman||Founder||Black Ops|
|35.||Taiwo Judah-Ajayi||Chief People Officer||Moove|
|37.||Tams Sokari||Smile Identity|
|38.||Oluwatobi Smith||Manager, People & Culture||Smile Identity|
|39.||Kenny Isichei||Country Manager||Jetstreams Africa|
|40||Babajide Duroshola||General Manager||M-Kopa|
|41||Sadiq Ademosu||Head of Finance, Nigeria & Ghana||M-Kopa|
|42.||Biodun Laaro||Operations Manager||Startwise|
|45.||Obie Fernandez||Founder & CEO||Let The Music Pay|
|46.||Eugene Mutai||CTO & Co-Founder||GetRaise|
|48.||Modupe Durosinmi-Etti||Program Director||The Bulb Africa|
|50.||Bodunrin Akinola||Head, People||Okra|
|51.||Garba Tunde||Engineering Manager||Okra|
|52.||Michael Ikechi||Co-Founder||Abel Africa|
|53.||Benjamin Dada||FounderCountry Manager||Benjamindada.comStitch|
|55||Deji Jaiyeoba||Vice President Sourcing||Releaf|
|56||Dahryl J. Cobhams||CTO||Heroshe|
|60||Moses Kihumba||CEO and Founder||Carhoot|
|61||Collins Mbulakyalo||COO and Founder||Waape|
|62||Eugene Mutai||CTO and Founder||Raise|
|63||Njunge Njenga||Technical Lead||LipaLater|
This Is Andela #TIA
N.B: Let me know in the comments if I missed someone or got some wrong.
Ifedapo Olarewaju, CTO and Cofounder at Lykdat
Uzo Awili, CTO at Quidax
Thanks, Idris, great work you are doing. Entrepreneurship and good governance is the way forward!
Amazing…Makes me wonder how many top global engineering universities could beat this track record for new tech companies established over the same time? How many charitable foundations? How many government-funded development institutions? Shows the power of entrepreneurship and small private investments.
Excellent and very inspiring. We should get together and explore opportunities
Wao! write up.
Quite exhaustive, motivating and promising. I can imagine the possible transformations in the next decade.