Tech-recruiting startup Andela Inc. said Wednesday it has raised $200 million to help fund its effort to connect employers with software engineers in an increasingly global search for tech talent.
SoftBank Group Corp. led the investment in the seven-year-old New York-based startup, whose platform employs artificial intelligence to match employers with workers in a range of markets including Africa, Latin American and Eastern Europe.
“Hiring remote technical talent is one of the top challenges that companies face today,”
a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, a subsidiary that manages SoftBank’s investment funds, said in a statement. “We believe Andela will become the preferred talent partner for the world’s best companies as remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm,” she said.
Past investors include Generation Investment Management, Spark Capital and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which marked its investing debut five years ago by leading a $24 million Series B funding round in Andela. The company has raised a total of $381 million to date.
The latest round, which values the company at roughly $1.5 billion, comes as chief information officers and other tech leaders pressed to find talent take a more global approach to building IT teams.
Andela’s rapid growth was fueled by adoption of remote work and hybrid-workplace strategies during the pandemic, along with fierce competition for tech talent, said Jeremy Johnson, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. That’s prompting recruiters to look beyond Silicon Valley, India, China and other traditional tech hubs, Mr. Johnson said.
The company plans to use the new funds to grow its network of job candidates to span at least 100 countries by the end of the year, from roughly 80 currently, he said. Built from an initial group of software engineers in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, the company’s network encompassed seven countries before the pandemic struck, he said.
Andela said it uses artificial intelligence to pair candidates in its network with job postings by member employers worldwide. It analyzes data including applicants’ technical skills, training and experience, workplace compatibility and other variables that can help foster productive teams. Employers pay the company for successful placements, as well as added services like regulatory and labor-law guidance.
To find a match, the company works closely with corporate CIOs to get a sense of what kind of role they need to fill, Mr. Johnson said.
Andela said its system currently has a 96% success rate, meaning new hires from its network stay with an employer for at least a year and half. Since launching in 2014, it has placed thousands of engineers into full-time, remote jobs, the company said.
Mr. Johnson said he plans to boost spending on AI, aiming to fine tune and accelerate candidate-employer matching. “We want to move from weeks to days,” he said.
He is also eyeing potential acquisition targets to expand operations and capabilities.
U.S. employers in August had some 321,000 unfilled IT job openings, led by professional, scientific and technical-services firms, banks and insurance firms, manufacturers, schools and retailers, among other sectors, according to IT trade group CompTIA.
“Tech is a particularly tough talent market,” said Sam Bright, chief product and experience officer at online freelance marketplace Upwork.
Like many employers, Andela itself stumbled in the early days of the pandemic, when corporate recruiters everywhere suddenly stopped hiring, said Mr. Johnson. In May 2020, the company laid off about 135 workers, while senior staff took pay cuts of up to 30%.
“Hiring managers just froze,” he said. “A big chunk of 2020 was like a deer in the headlights.” That began to turn around as employers realized that remote work was becoming more than an emergency response to the pandemic, Mr. Johnson said.
“It opens up an entirely new way to think about hiring,” he said.
Write to Angus Loten at [email protected]
Corrections & Amplifications
In an earlier version of this article, Andela was misspelled as Adela in one instance. (Corrected on Sept. 29)
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