900
developers in Kampala, Lagos and Nairobi
23%
of them are women
From autonomous solar energy systems to mobile payment solutions for unbanked users, technology helps solve a wide range of major development problems in sub-Saharan Africa. Across the continent, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are combining their technologies and knowledge to find solutions tailored to people's needs and to drive sustainable growth.

The revolution brought by new technologies in Africa is accelerating economic transformation at a spectacular pace. After exploring the functionalities of mobile and cloud technologies, start-ups are developing applications that are used to develop differentiated business models adapted to their markets. They have thus created new technologies, specifically African and therefore in phase with the lifestyles and complexities of the continent, by relying on existing infrastructures in order to provide essential services that traditional approaches were failing to provide. 

The continent has recently launched innovative solutions to the problems faced by its citizens and businesses. Moreover, recent initiatives highlight the strong potential of African technology companies to offer solutions to global problems. The visits of Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichain or Jack Ma just a few years ago prove how much the leaders of the sector are interested in the opportunities to be seized in the region. Proparco also intends to play its part by financing start-ups that provide concrete and innovative solutions to major development problems.

For the tech ecosystem in Africa, the future looks promising!

Andela - Portrait
Main et clavier
The rise of Venture Capital to address financing problems
Despite the investment opportunities presented by the tech industry in Africa, African start-ups lack financing to expand beyond their local markets.

This is why Venture Capital (VC) funds like TLcom TIDE Africa play a unique role. TLcom TIDE Africa is the first of these international funds to focus exclusively on technology-driven innovation and services in sub-Saharan Africa at each stage of the venture capital cycle. It is supported by Proparco, which has invested USD 5 million in this fund since January 2018.

This is undoubtedly a bold step, but it is also a necessary step insofar as technologies could well be one of the keys to sustainable development in Africa. TIDE Africa has therefore attracted the attention of Proparco, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank after its first USD 40 million round in 2017. One of TIDE Africa's first investments was an equity investment in Andela.
Les équipes d'Andela
ANDELA, AN AFRICAN SUCCESS-STORY
Founded in 2014, Andela is at the forefront of these technological upheavals. Its goal is to address the global technology talent shortage by investing in Africa's most talented developers. An estimated one million jobs in this sector remain vacant in the United States alone. Moreover, this talent shortage is slowing the growth of major technological ecosystems.

Andela is therefore focusing on the African demographic dividend and investing in high-potential "grey matter" pools across the continent to help a hundred partner companies form decentralized engineering teams. Andela currently has technology campuses in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda to provide technology leaders with centres where they can collaborate more effectively.
Cours dans les locaux d'Andela au Kenya
A World-class training
To become an Andela developer, the selection is rigorous. On average, 10 out of 2,000 candidates join the company for four years on a full-time basis. For six months, the new recruits rub shoulders with the senior engineers and work within the internal product teams. Once their technological skills and teamwork skills have been confirmed, these employees join one of Andela's 100 partner companies, whose teams they join as full-time engineers. A real asset for employees: "Even though I've worked here for less than two years, I've already had the opportunity to work with some really incredible global technology companies," says Mbithe Nzomo, a young Kenyan developer.

Out of nearly 100,000 applications, Andela has today selected more than 900 developers, half of whom have been placed with partner companies. The others design Andela's products in-house or still follow the integration phase.
Développeuses d'Andela
A COMMITMENT TO EMPOWER WOMEN
Today at Andela, 23% of the developers are female, a figure much higher than the 5.8% world average. To promote gender parity in its teams, Andela organizes numerous recruitment campaigns and training seminars only open to women in Lagos and Nairobi. The company also launched the "She Loves Code", a program that allows professionals to become "godmothers" of young women in their community and to organize local events.
Meet the people behind Andela's success

Nairobi hosts the 3rd Andela campus, after those created in Lagos and Kampala.

Joshua Mwaniki, Andela's Director for Kenya, presents Andela's mission while young developers explain what motivated them to apply and join the start-up. Finally, Maurizio Caio from TLcom explains why the Tide Africa fund invested in Andela's growth.

INTERVIEW WITH TLCOM TIDE AFRICA
Portraits de dirigeants du fonds TLcom TIDE Africa

Maurizio Caio founded TLcom about 20 years ago in order to invest in technology venture capital in Europe and Israel. Over the last ten years, the company has taken a keen interest in African tech entrepreneurs. Then, in 2013, TLcom launched the TIDE Africa Fund, a pioneering venture capital fund, to seize investment opportunities in new and developing sub-Saharan companies. 

Andreata Muforo, partner at TLcom, handles transaction flows and fundraising.

For TLcom, what are the technological opportunities in Africa today?

(Andreata) In the 1990s, we were wondering how to connect Africa to the rest of the world. The main objective was to develop ICT infrastructure. Then we tried to connect Africans using technology, especially computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices. As a result, mobile penetration rates now reach 70 to 80 per cent across the continent. 

Consequently, the final stage of the technological revolution is how to use this connectivity to deliver services that meet the needs and desires of Africans. For example, access to basic services in several sectors such as finance, energy, education or health is rather low compared to connectivity rates, which is a great opportunity if innovative business models are exploited to allow entrepreneurs to increase the accessibility of their services at competitive prices. 

An ecosystem that matures and evolves so quickly greatly increases the investment opportunities on the continent. In our transaction flow base, we have more than 1,200 companies that apply promising business models based on new technologies. About 70% of our transaction flows come from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. However, we have also seen increased dynamism in small markets such as Uganda, Ghana, Senegal or even Rwanda, whose authorities support innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. 

Was it easy to convince investors to adhere to TIDE Africa's vision? 

Traditional international venture capitalists are unfamiliar with Africa. It is only today that we are seeing development finance institutions (DFIs) such as Proparco in the front line alongside funds like ours to invest very early in upstream opportunities. 

(Maurizio) It is clear to us that without DFIs there would be no venture capital in Africa at this point in our history. These institutions have freed up opportunities by focusing on the tech ecosystem and start-ups. 

How did your discussions with Proparco go?

(Maurizio) I think that the people of Proparco adopted a non-traditional approach for us, since they were going into unknown territory. We were very impressed with the entrepreneurial nature of Proparco's evaluation, as TIDE Africa was truly their very first venture capital fund investment.

We were also very impressed by how little time they took to make their final decision to invest. It took them about six months to complete the necessary studies, a very honourable time compared to the negotiations we were conducting in parallel with other investors.

Finally, DFIs are of fundamental importance to us, as these partners help us to engage more actively with other institutional funds, such as family offices. Proparco and other DFIs have really opened the way to new fundraising for TIDE Africa.

How many funding agreements have you signed so far? 

We have signed with Terragon (Nigeria) and Msurvey (Kenya), who are helping businesses in Africa better understand their consumers through innovative technological solutions. We also invested in Andela, a rapidly growing software development company with a portfolio of international corporate clients. 


How is Andela an interesting investment? 

(Maurizio) Andela started as a social structure, but our many interactions with the team and our presence on its board of directors have contributed greatly to transforming their vision into a company in its own right. 

Meanwhile, Andela has demonstrated and validated her business model. Three years ago, they were planning to expand in New York. Today, about 900 Andela developers work in Lagos, Nairobi and Kampala. 

The company also understood very quickly that competition is not only in the services and products offered, but also in the job market. In Africa, this is a major challenge. Andela has proven its ability to attract the best managers and developers in Africa.