Founded by Amadou Daffe from Senegal, Hiruy Amanuel from Ethiopia and Ali Kone from Mali, Gebeya is the latest freelance IT talent marketplace seeking to connect trained ICT talent to clients online on their platform. Gebeya also has a training centre where those who wish to sharpen their IT skills can apply to join.
With a head office in Nairobi and a training school in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Gebeya is entering a very tough market taken up by Upwork, a merge between Odesk and Elance on an international scale. Locally, there are just training schools but they also work in a similar manner apart from the fact that they train before they do placement. Kuhustle, did not explain but it recently pivoted from a freelance model to an on-demand one. Andela and Moringa School, who are more into skills developments that short-term gigs are in a class of their own. The now retired Nairobi Dev School was also into skills development.
Still a marketplace for top African IT talent is still relevant in the market as Africa still has few great IT talent and there are many clients in need of great web and mobile applications. Nigeria’s DevCentre is one such platform.
A 2012 Information Economy Report prepared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) revealed that Africa only impacted about 3% of the $1.3 trillion USD in global IT revenue. Yet Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent—with 1.2 billion people, it accounts for 15% of the global population. This got the co-founders thinking.
“We were brainstorming on how we could contribute to Africa’s destiny—Hiruy as an investor and I as a technologist. Hiruy mentioned that he had always wanted to build a school in Ethiopia. Being from Silicon Valley, it took me literally five minutes to sell him on why a software engineering academy coupled with a platform that would match graduates with clients would be extremely valuable in Ethiopia and duplicable across other African countries,” said Amadou.
The concept was initially dubbed “DaaS” (Developer as a Service) before its name was changed to “Gebeya,” which means “marketplace” in Amharic. Gebeya was conceived as brainchild of Coders4Africa in Ethiopia, with offices in Kenya and the USA.
“We are launching the IT Academy Training program in Ethiopia, which has a population of nearly 100 million, of which 75% are youth,” says Amadou.”Our strategy is to make Ethiopia the headquarters for the IT Academy Training hub and graduate approximately 5,000 students in the next five years. The training will begin in mid-September 2016. We will begin accepting applications from candidates in July 2016 and will offer partial and full scholarships to selected individuals.
Gebeya’s marketing team is based in Kenya, as it has one of the highest demands for software developers in Africa and is home to the African headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies. This provides opportunities to accelerate customer acquisition and because the distribution channel is an online marketplace, they believe it will reach IT professionals throughout the continent.
Speaking to TechMoran, Nairobi-based Muthoni Njoki, the marketing associate at Gebeya confirmed that, “Gebeya will offer African businesses unique access to a pool of talent unmatched on any other platform that will help them get their project built right and on budget. Gebeya will also train individuals on technical skills, professional and communication IT, project management and communication skills.”
After training these individuals, Gebeya says it will list them on its marketplace unlike firms like Moringa and Andela who do placement for their trainees.
Gebeya works simply. Trained IT professionals list the website and clients will select individuals they want to work on their project or hire. There’s also a training school in Addis Ababa where individuals get the chance to improve their skills in IT.
“Our purpose is to develop African IT talent while providing an online IT services marketplace for the African and global business market,” says Amadou. “We also seek to expand our students’ IT skills, eliminate tech hardware and software needs for our clients, increase opportunities for African IT professionals, and reduce IT developmental and operational costs so more Africans can utilize these services. Africa may have missed the Industrial Revolution, but its youth have no intention of missing the digital one!”