Mark Zuckerberg-backed start-up Andela is set to lay off 175 of its junior engineers and staff in Kenya as part of a major restructuring plan citing a demand shift for more senior engineers.
Andela, which trains African software engineers to help global companies like Google and Microsoft plug skills gaps in the tech industry, is also sending home an additional 250 junior engineers and staff from its Nigeria and Uganda offices where it also operates, bringing the total number of layoffs to 425.
“This shift in demand also means that we now have more junior talent than we are able to place. This is a challenge for the business, and for these junior engineers who want, and deserve, authentic work experiences that we are not able to provide,” said Jeremy Johnson, Andela co-founder and CEO.
The company will now shift its strategy to on-board more senior engineers, indicating plans to hire 700 experienced engineers by the end of next year.
“Change in an organisation is not easy, but almost always inevitable to maintain performance and growth. We believe our most recent change in strategy positions us to be a stronger engineering organisation,” Said Janet Maingi, Andela Kenya Country Director.
The firm has indicated that it is partnering with CcHUB (Nigeria), iHub (Kenya), and Innovation Village (Uganda) to help connect impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystems.
These hubs will also offer affected engineers the opportunity to use their co-working spaces free of charge for the next three months.
Andela was founded in 2014 to connect Africa’s engineering talent with the demand for software developers worldwide for a fee.
Before the layoffs, Andela had hired 1,500 software engineers with its largest engineering centres in Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, and Kigali, with a growing presence in Cairo and Accra.
The firm is cash-rich, backed by Sh18.1 billion ($180 million) in venture capital funding from investors including Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and Omidyar Network.