Andela, which helps companies hire tech staff remotely, raises $ 200 million in new funding led by SoftBank
Andela, which helps companies recruit software developers to work remotely in regions such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa, has raised a round of funding of $ 200 million in series E for a valuation of $ 1.5 billion. The round was led by SoftBank Vision 2 Fund, a $ 30 billion investment fund managed by Japanese group SoftBank.
The funding, which also included new participant Whale Rock and existing backers Generation Investment Management, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and Spark Capital, propels Andela to unicorn status and underlines the growing interest of investors in the technology that can help. CIOs and other leaders are solving one of their biggest headaches. : find enough talent to support their ambitious digital strategies.
Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Andela, noted that the timing of the fundraiser also coincides with a sea change in the way companies view work. “At the start of 2021, people internalized that we weren’t going back to the office,” he said. “Remote work is going to be necessary from a talent perspective. “
Launched in Nigeria in 2014 and now based in New York City, Andela identifies potential recruits online and puts them through screening procedures that include language proficiency and coding tests. The companies that use it to find hires aren’t just tech companies: Andela’s client list includes well-known names in many other industries, including Goldman Sachs, CBSViacom, and KraftHeinz.
The company, which has raised $ 381 million to date and was last valued at $ 700 million in 2019, uses AI to help match engineers with recruiters. Employers pay him for successful internships and he also offers advice on local employment regulations. It competes with large remote work sites such as Upwork, as well as those that focus on tech workers, such as Semicolon and Decagon.
CIOs and other technology leaders are now more willing to look beyond traditional recruiting centers such as Silicon Valley, India and China and want to use these services to help them do so. This is one of the things that drew SoftBank to Andela. “Hiring technical talent remotely is one of the main challenges companies face today,” said Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a press release announcing the deal.
For many CIOs, it is the supreme challenge. According to computer industry group CompTIA, the unemployment rate for technology occupations in the United States was only 1.5% in August and there were more than 320,000 job vacancies in IT.
“Employer hiring activity for software developers during the third quarter increased 35% year-over-year, confirming the searing market for tech talent,” said Tim Herbert, vice-president. Executive Chairman of Research and Market Intelligence at CompTIA, in comments emailed to Forbes. “This serves as yet another wake-up call for many employers to re-evaluate their recruitment and retention practices. “
Andela’s backers are betting that she can provide remote workers in remote locations to help fill some of these positions and others in other markets as well. The company claims to have already placed thousands of engineers in roles and has built an online community of more than 100,000 developers who have taken courses through its platform. In addition to training, he offers online mentoring and other services.
His rise has not been entirely smooth. Last year Andela laid off staff and several of its senior executives suffered pay cuts as the company responded to what it believed to be a pandemic-induced lull in tech hiring. But the market rebounded quickly as companies doubled their digital investments to help them weather the economic storm.
Andela plans to use some of the money she just raised to expand her geographic reach (she currently has engineers in over 80 countries) and to develop her 300 employees. It will also invest more in its technological infrastructure and seek acquisition targets.
Johnson believes there is an opportunity to completely reinvent the traditional recruiting model and was looking for more like-minded investors. “SoftBank is comfortable taking big swings,” he said. “And we think this is an inflection point in global hiring.”