Founded by Jeremy Johnson, Christina Sass, and Iyinoluwa “E” Aboyeji and Ian Carnevale, Andela aims to give brilliant young people in Africa an on-ramp to the digital economy and give companies access to untapped, world-class talent.
Johnson told TechMoran that kids are dropping in to programming so much because Andela offers not only offers them a chance to change their lives but also to change their country and continent.
“We opened applications in Kenya April 16 and already have over 1000 applicants. We crossed 1k today. The 1000 plus applicants in Kenya will be attend summer bootcamp. All Andela Fellows see themselves as a critical part of fulfilling the mission of training 100,000 young people across Africa. We’re already working with Off grid Electric out of Tanzania and are talking to a number of other companies on the continent who are looking for high quality technical talent.”
Andela has no plans to introduce other training verticals at the moment but will focus on its core mission-improving programming skills in Africa. The 4 year program have Fellows working with companies like Microsoft, Udacity and Exec Online.
Johnson told TechMoran that no other companies are doing the same thing in Nigeria but are happy lots of people are focused on training young people for in-demand skills to help solve unemplyment.
“It’s no secret that unemployment is a huge problem. We’ll be doing bootcamps in Kenya and other countries this summer,” said Johnson. “My co-founder E is Nigerian, so that obviously had a huge impact but we’re mostly looking at demographics as we expand. TBD – we’re still just exploring all of them. We haven’t officially announced where we’ll be going next. but we obviously feel good about Kenya, Ghana, and SA, hence the early applicants and bootcamps.”
In Kenya, Andela will take on Moringa School and the now quiet Nairobi Dev School but Johnson see things differently. He says they are not a competion but more of a friend than an enemy even if they are doing something similar.
“No, we love Moringa School. We take a fellow traveler approach. We want more people in the space. The more the merrier. Remember, 1.1M people, 70% under 30. We need lots of jobs.”
Andela is not just making noise a bout its work, but has surefire backing to make everything work. The firm is backed by investors including Steve Case, Omidyar Network, Founder Collective, Rothenberg Ventures, Learn Capital, Melo7 Tech Partners, and Chris Hughes and aims to be a global talent accelerator churning out world-class developers from Africa and then connecting them to world-class employers.
Andela says it’s first class had over 5,200 applicants compete for 28 slots and developers who leave the fellowship get paid a $500 monthly stipend as they intern in the tech companies. The Lagos classes are taught in-person by senior developers to address the challenges associated with online education. The firm aims to set up a new campus in Kenya and Ghana.