Semicolon Africa, a Lagos-based EdTech startup, has closed a $1.2M Seed round of funding to increase its training, talent management, and project delivery capacity.
The oversubscribed seed round saw participation from angels and VCs like Launch Africa Ventures and Consonance Investment Managers.
Founded in 2019 by Sam Immanuel, a software engineer, passionate about people and economic development. Semicolon is focused on preparing young people and companies in Africa for the digital economy by providing the requisite technology skills for Africa’s growing tech industry. Semicolon is focused on creating employment and economic opportunities by training software engineers and techpreneurs.
“Everyone does not need to become a software engineer but everyone needs to learn how to tech-enabled their business in any industry” Sam Immanuel, Founder of Semicolon said.
A joint report by Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2020 disclosed that there are only 690,000 professional developers in Africa. Compared to the US with over 3.87 million professional developers, this number is abysmal. Also, the top training pathways available for professional developers in Africa are being self-taught and not through university programs.
The 2020 report reinforces the need to grow more tech talent to strengthen the ecosystem that is capable of changing the course of Africa’s history.
How Semicolon is fighting unemployment through techpreneurship
According to Semicolon Africa, its mission is to develop a generation of software engineering talent that will solve problems and create economic opportunities by addressing tech-skill gaps, nurturing talent, fostering innovation, and building a thriving tech ecosystem. The startup offers a one-year intensive training program that focuses on problem-solving, software engineering, and business management skills.
Upon completion, Natives (as the students are called) have one of two career paths – employment with hiring partners or techpreneurship for those with ideas they want to turn into businesses. Since its inception, Semicolon has onboarded nine cohorts and graduated four cohorts of software engineers.
Other edtech startups like TalentQL Gebeya, Decagon, etc., are focused on training and matching African talent to job opportunities abroad. Beyond matching talent to opportunities, Semicolon has gone further to provide critical support needed for techpreneurs in its program to develop their startup ideas into blustering businesses.
This cuts across early business support, product development, advisory, and training. Hence, the company is also renewing its focus on Semicolon Ventures; an arm of the business that has already birthed 20 new startups from its students. The startups which cut across diverse sectors like finance, healthcare, insurance, transportation, education, construction, tourism, etc., are using technology to address a variety of problems and also create job opportunities.
Beyond training software engineers and techpreneurs, Semicolon also serves as a strategic partner to companies seeking a digital transformation of their operations. Some of the services they render include corporate training, project delivery, and project outsourcing, which are carried out through Semicolon Labs.
Semicolon Africa hopes to expand to become the largest technology capacity-development hub in Africa’s ecosystem; with plans to empower and deploy thousands of skilled software engineers annually.