Nigeria’s AltSchool Raises $1M Pre-Seed To Build An Alternative School For Africans

One would be out of context to say they haven’t noticed the trend in Lagos, Africa’s startup capital, where mid-level and senior-level engineers leave the country in droves to seek better-paying opportunities in firms outside Africa.

According to a report by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 22% increase in the demand for software engineers between 2020 and 2030. This figure is larger than the 4% average for other careers.

Andela has been a central key to putting the continent’s tech talent globally. Ever since the unicorn changed its business type to solely a marketplace focusing on senior developers, other firms like AltSchool Africa are trying to fill one of the holes it left by training people to become junior-level to mid-level engineers.

AltSchool, which is not to be mistaken with the U.S AltSchool, has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding to upgrade its efforts, Adewale Yusuf, the chief executive officer said to TechCrunch. Adewale founded AltSchool with Akintunde Sultan and Opeyemi Awoyemi in October 2020.

In 2020, Yusuf thought about the idea of establishing a physical campus where he and his team can train software engineers to gain international opportunities. Adewale met with stakeholders of education at a public university in Ife, a neighboring town near Lagos to achieve this aim, but the goal never materialized.

After the first trial, the team decided to focus on upgrading sister-company and Techstars-backed TalentQL and launching products like Pipeline, which trained mid-level engineers, building them into senior engineers and making a way for them in international companies. Upon further research, Yusuf realized what needed to be done to make his old idea work; a remote-centric approach.

Nigeria is a country with about 200 million population, with 60% of this population below the age of 25. The rate of unemployment in this country is at 34% and continues to increase leaving a lot of university graduates at its trail. Adewale believes that the regular schooling setting is not enough to get graduates decent jobs.
AltSchool proffers a solution as an online school with the scheme to improve non-technical people with soft skills while partnering with higher institutions to give diploma certificates.

Adewale Yusuf said, “You may need a B.Sc certificate if you want to be a doctor, nurse, or some other professions, but when it comes to being a software engineer or earning digital skills, you do not need it.”

“We need to find a shortcut for people whereby they will be able to make money and provide for their family and add value to the economy. That is one of the reasons AltSchool was launched, because if a lot of people can have marketable skills, then I think we can solve a massive problem in the market”, the CEO continued.

It was specified on the company’s website that participants must have a high school certificate and be computer literate to participate in its program.

Thus far, more than 8,000 people have applied to AltSchool, the application fee is #10,000 to participate in AltSchool’s software engineering program which will start in April. These applications came from 19 countries of which 14 are African countries, Yusuf said the company received most of the applications from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Botswana.

AltSchool was able to pull in that figure through words of mouth while gathering some numbers of followers on social media. Some popular personalities from the tech and music industry are also sponsoring students through the program, while others are cutting checks.

Some of these popular celebrities are Co-founder and CEO of Flutterwave: Olugbenga Agboola (GB), Co-founder and CEO of Paystack: Shola Akinlade, Folarin Falana (Falzthebadguy), a popular Nigerian artiste, and Akitoye Balogun, also a Nigerian artiste known as Ajebutter22. The VCs in the pre-seed round include Voltron Capital, Nestcoin, Pledges, and Odba VC.

AltSchool aims to utilize the investment to build its content and curriculum, infrastructure, technology, and community ideas where students can meet offline to network and grow together.


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Boluwatife Aponmade
Boluwatife Aponmade
Boluwatife Aponmade is a Writer, Content Creator, Social Volunteer, Sickle cell Advocate and a lover of arts. She does creative writing, copywriting, storytelling and poetry. She has interest in Mass communication, Law and Journalism. She's a Biochemistry Student.

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