Andela - Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa
Company: Andela, New York, New York
Company Description: Andela provides companies with access to the top 1% of global tech talent by identifying high-potential developers on the African continent, shaping them into world-class technical leaders, and pairing them with companies as full-time, distributed team members.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa
Nomination Title: Christina Sass, Co-Founder and COO
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Christina Sass is the Co-Founder and President of Andela.
Founded on the idea that brilliance is evenly distributed, Andela’s mission is to advance human potential by powering today’s teams and investing in tomorrow’s leaders. Three years ago when Jeremy Johnson, Christina Sass, Ian Carnevale and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji started Andela, the goal was to build a network of top software developers across the African continent and bridge the divide between the US and African tech sectors. They’ve since launched operations in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, received more than 70,000 applications to Andela, and hired around 500 developers -- the majority of whom are working as full-time, distributed team members with leading tech companies around the world.
There are five open jobs for every developer looking for one in the U.S. alone -- and there is zero chance the domestic market is going to solve this. In order to access top talent, regardless of location, many of the most respected engineering brands are moving toward a distributed model of work. Automattic, the parent company of Wordpress, is fully distributed. Stack Overflow, Github, and Atlassian are mostly distributed. Andela allows companies to move in that direction earlier by providing the talent and support to efficiently scale a high-performing, distributed workforce.
Africa is home to 1.2B people and 7 of 10 of the world’s fastest growing internet populations. The fact that there hasn’t been more overlap between the African and US tech sectors is crazy, but that’s changing quickly. U.S. venture firms are increasingly investing in African startups, and with recent visits from folks like Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, the world is beginning to pay serious attention to tech on the continent.
Andela is at the forefront of these rapidly growing tech scenes. For developers, the value proposition is simple -- they offer Africa’s most talented technologists a platform to connect with some of the world’s leading tech companies and build their expertise on a global scale. Their tech campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda provide central hubs for tech leaders to collaborate, and initiatives the Distributed Learning Community provide resources and mentorship to thousands of new developers each month.
To become an Andela developer, applicants first go through 64 different psychometric and skills assessments. They have a ~0.7% acceptance rate, and the application process is a multi-month period. Those who are accepted then spend 6 months onboarding with our senior engineers and working on our internal product teams. Once they’ve proven excellence in both tech and team skills, they join one of our 100+ partner companies (which range from industry leaders like Viacom to venture-backed startups like Gusto and CrunchBase) where they work as full-time engineering team members.
Developers commit to four years with Andela when they join. While Andela hasn’t reached the four-year mark yet, they fully anticipate that post-Andela, their developers will go on to launch and scale some of the world’s most impactful tech companies. Backed by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, and Spark Capital, Andela is catalyzing the growth of tech ecosystems across the African continent while solving the global technical talent shortage.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Prior to Andela, Christina built education and employment programs in China, Gaza and the West Bank, Kenya, and her home state of Georgia. Christina serves on the Advisory Council of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and on the board of the non-profit, the Global Give Back Circle. She also serves as education topic expert for the Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting. She was named a 2015 Business Insider “23 most innovative and inspiring women in New York City Tech” and a 2015 University of Georgia “40 Under 40” Alumni.
Christina has a BA in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Georgia and a MA in International Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School from Tufts University.