This is "E" and my co-founder and CEO Jeremy Johnson is here with me, ask us anything!


#1

Hello Radar community!

I’m your friendly neighbourhood yaba startup guy, Iyin “E” Aboyeji, and with me is my co-founder and CEO - Jeremy Johnson. We co-founded Andela with Ian Carnevale and Christina Sass to build 100,000 African technology leaders by 2025. We started a year ago with just 6 fellows in an empty duplex in Lagos that my mentor graciously gifted us. A year later, we have now received close to 20,000 applicants from all over Africa. We currently have 107 fellows in Lagos and our first fellowship class of 9 in Nairobi. Ask us anything! :).

Momento : The cover page of our first ever deck. Humble reminder for all of us to always start by asking the big questions.

!


#2

This topic is locked till 4pm when it will be opened for questions. Jeremy and Iyin will begin to reply at 5pm.


#3

#4

UPDATE: Topic is now open, ask away!


#5

Hey @iaboyeji how’s it going? Great job with Andela. So everyone has this perception that Andela has ‘made’ it. However, even for successful startups, the journey is a rollercoaster. What has been the biggest surprise for you so far on your Andela journey?


#6

@iaboyeji I’m a big fan of what you guys are doing and would love to join andela…
My question:
I’m 19, not currently in school, really motivated and enthusiastic about learning programming. Hope my age does not affect my chances of getting into andela… And I would like to get a BSc later in the future just for paper qualification. Via distant learning or an online degree is this possible during or after the program?


#7

Hihi Team Andela!

  1. Though goal is worthwhile, your work must be very challenging. How do you gather strength to keep pushing through despite all the obstacles you’re facing?

  2. What’s the hardest thing about growing African technology leaders in today’s world?

  3. What about the African tech leaders that aren’t grown in Andela’s field? What ways are you guys reaching out to them or helping them grow?


#8

How do Andela source for the Developers on her platform?


#9

Hi Andela. It seems most of your peeps are taught the MEAN stack, is this true? If yes, how did you guys choose the JavaScript stack over say python, go or good old PHP.


Why the MEAN stack, and what else do you focus on?
#10

Hey E! I remember the phone call that night when we had to change every web propery.

I’ve never asked but here it goes.

When did you decide FORA was done? And why did you shut it down?


#11
  1. Hello E. I’m a bit confused. I asked two friends about the level of programming knowledge/skill required to qualify for the bootcamp. The first said “None at all. Just be good with numbers.” The other one said, “You need some competence in at least, HTML, CSS and Javascript.”
    Please help me out here. Which is it?

  2. I love to read. What books have influenced you as startup founders?

  3. Finally, are there startups in Nigeria that are doing something that impressed you? Any ones that makes you go, “Wow, wish I’d thought of that” or “I wish I could do something like that?”


#12

There’s no question Andela has had an incredible first year. In 14 months, we’ve gone from an idea to one of the most recognizable start-up names on the continent and have shown many of the world’s tech leaders that Africa can produce talent on par with anywhere. But we certainly don’t think we’ve “made it”, and I would caution anyone from thinking that X, Y, Z start-up has made it. As you said, the process is a chaotic one. We learn new things every week, and we incorporate that into our model to get better at delivering value for the Fellows in the program and the clients around the world that we support.


#13

Hi E,
I would like to start by saying kudos to you and your co-founder for the good work. Of course as a programmer, i would very much love to work with you some day. Beginning a setup like yours in Nigeria can be very challenging with the limited power issue, high cost of data and all. Thus far, you are doing great. What made you believe in your dream enough to still give it a go here?


#14

You are more than welcome to apply. At Andela, you have to be over 18, but whether you’ve gone to school or not is not what we’re focused on. We have 19 and 20 year old fellows at Andela. That said, because being an Andela fellow requires your total commitment for four years, I don’t think you’ll be able to pursue that BsC during the program. That said, what you will likely realize, and what the world will soon realize, is that Andela training is more valuable than any piece of paper. We have Fellows in the program who already have a masters or PhD in computer science, and we have Fellows with no formal training. What Andela provides is a platform for excellence and the chance to help change the world’s view of what young Africans are capable of. If that’s what you want, then you should apply at apply.andela.com


#15

At the beginning most of our applicants came from my personal twitter account @iaboyeji which I post a lot of updates to (and still post a lot of updates to). Over the past few cycles as we have grown much larger, we’ve become a lot more sophisticated about reaching our applicants. For example over half of our new applicants are referred to the program by other fellows who are already in the program.


#16

Hi E, big fan here. When did you begin to think about technology entrepreneurship, edtech precisely? Do you have a personal story?


#17

@iaboyeji Hi, That’s a huge one there, paying coding apprentices to learn coding. I’m not an economist, but is that a good business decision? I mean, how many people do you intend to pay with this approach?

Nonetheless, good job once again.


#18

Hi @iaboyeji great job u are doing with Andela. I am really fascinated about your series A funding. My question :

I follow crunchbase alot and i see how much money starts up are raising daily, i really don’t understand how the process goes, does it start with a start up sending a proposal to funders or an email? Or do they come up to you? How stressful is this process? and what advice will u give budding entrepreneurs that are just coming into the startup ecosystem.

Thanks


#19

Startups are hard — fewer than 1 in 10 succeed. We had a big vision for how we could redefine education in Nigeria to give our young people access to all the new knowledge pouring into the web from all over the world. Unfortunately, the fact that there is a need doesn’t always mean there is a sustainable way to solve that need, and we learned that the hard way. But leveraging education to help young African’s shape their own continent is my mission in life, and Andela is a direct result of that passion. Another of our core beliefs at Andela is that one shouldn’t be judged by falling down. They should be judged by whether or not they get back up and keep trying. And we practice what we preach.


#20
  1. Anything worth doing is hard. That said, what gives us strength is knowing that the work we do directly impacts the lives of our Fellows, and that we’re working together to build a network of some of the smartest, most driven people both in Africa and anywhere.

  2. The hardest part about growing anyone or anything is recognizing that there are no overnight successes. Not for companies and not for people. We had Steve Case (billionaire founder of AOL and global entrepreneurship advocate on behalf of Barack Obama) come to visit our Amity campus in Yaba last week and he made this exact point: It took 10 years of hard work before AOL became an overnight success, but all anyone remembers is that they were the ones to bring the internet to people.

To really grow, it takes time and pressure, and often times people apply to Andela with the hope of becoming a world class developer overnight. Sadly, that’s not how it works. But for those who put in the time and push themselves to grow, the benefits are tremendous.

  1. While the world may not fully realize it yet, there are a bunch of exciting things happening in the African tech scene and we’re proud to play a role in helping to advance it. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know folks like Mark Essien of Hotels.Ng, Funke Opeke of MainOne, and Bosun Tijani of CC Hub (and many others) and I consider them to be as competent (or more so) than many of the most successful US and European founders. Getting to know them has helped to reenforce one of Andela’s guiding principles: While brilliance is evenly distributed around the world, opportunity is not.