Shortlist acquires Nairobi-based Spire Education to enhance talent service offerings in East Africa


Employment tech startup Shortlist which recently raised $1m to bolster its local operations has acquired 100 percent of Spire Education, a Nairobi-based talent development company for an undisclosed amount to enhance talent service offerings in East Africa.

The deal will help Shortlist explore how it can deliver Spire’s training and development curriculum directly to its job-seekers, equipping professionals with the skills they need to be successful and closing the loop between training and employment.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Spire, a move that will supercharge our joint capacity to support talent-forward companies in Kenya and beyond,” says Paul Breloff, co-founder and CEO of Shortlist. “We share a cultural foundation and a passion for helping companies across the continent build better teams.” 

Founded in 2013 by Jenn Cotter, Spire Education designs and delivers employee training and development programs for East Africa’s leading employers such as Java House and M-KOPA among others. The talent  programs enable employees to cultivate the skills and attitudes they need to be successful in their jobs. 

The companies’ Nairobi teams will integrate immediately but the brands will remain independent. Spire CEO Jenn Cotter will now be MD of Africa for both Shortlist and Spire.

“This partnership will enable us to best support our incredible clients across the region to build stronger teams, reach higher goals, and create even greater impact,” says Jenn Cotter, now Managing Director of Africa for Shortlist and Spire. “Our teams share the same DNA of curiosity and adventure, and we’re excited to get started on our collective vision of unlocking professional potential.”

Shortlist helps growing enterprises hire for early and mid-career roles based on demonstrated potential and skill, rather than pedigree. Its platform screens candidates using predictive chat-based interviews and online competency-based assessments, letting employers skip the most time-consuming and bias-prone phases of hiring. By coming together, the combined enterprise can now support employers seamlessly through recruitment, onboarding, and on-the-job training. 

Shortlist is not the first to focus on training, Kenya’s Fuzu has educational materials for its clients too and recently BrighterMonday partnered with a firm to launch BrighterMonday Education. LinkedIn acquired for $1.5b for this initiative too.