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2017: Andela 1st, iRoko 5th Most Innovative Companies in Africa



Two Nigerian companies have been named among the 2017 Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking.

In Africa, Andela tops the chart with iRokoTv emerging fifth. 

Andela: First in Africa

Andela was founded in 2014 by four professionals who were working in online education and recruitment business. The founders: Ian Carnevale, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jeremy Johnson from 2U and Christina Sass started Andela as a training company to match developers in emerging markets not known as technology hubs with North American companies.

In June 2016, the company received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Andela’s is daily working in pursuit of its motto: “Brilliance is evenly distributed; opportunity is not.”

Steve Case congratulates Andela

In the U.S., there are five job openings for every software developer looking for work. In Africa, meanwhile, more young people will join the workforce over the next 20 years than the rest of the world combined.

The startup aims to bridge the gap by recruiting high-potential developers in Africa, putting them through an intensive training program, and sending them to work (usually remotely) for companies including Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and dozens of high-growth startups around the world.

Recruiting from headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, Andela has received more than 50,000 applications from developers, and has so far accepted 260—an acceptance ratio the company brags makes it more selective than Harvard.

In 2016 alone, the company placed more than 100 people with more than 60 partner companies. Fees paid by these companies go back into the organization to support its training programs. In 2016, Andela recruited all-female classes in Lagos and Nairobi, and women now make up 23% of Andela’s developers in the two cities combined.

In 2016, Andela raised $24 million in a Series B round led by GoogleVentures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the social investment fund started by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Andela plans to expand into at least one additional country this year—likely Uganda, Ghana, and/or South Africa—with the goal to train 100,000 elite developers in the next 10 years.

The Most Innovative Companies 2017 (Africa)

  1. Andela: For nurturing first-class coders
  2. MFS Africa: For facilitating cross-currency payments
  3. Gro Intelligence: For tilling agricultural data
  4. Wilderness Safaris: For using luxury travel to fuel conservation
  5. iROKO: For streaming Nigeria’s Nollywood
  6. WeFarm: For helping farmers spread their knowledge
  7. SafeMotos: For letting Rwandans hail a safer ride
  8. Podozi: For devising cosmetics for diverse complexions
  9. Njorku: For making job searching simpler
  10. Zuvaa: For bringing African-inspired apparel to global shoppers



Dubbed the ‘Netflix’ of Africa, irokotv is the world’s largest legal digital distributor of African movies, transforming the paid-for Nigerian films on-demand service. It is one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie steaming websites, giving instant access to over 5,000 Nollywood film titles. irokotv is a part of iROKO Partners which is one of Africa’s leading entertainment companies, housing brands such as iROKING, an online music platform and its YouTube website, Nollywoodlove.

irokotv was launched on 1 December 2011. Its parent company, iROKO Partners, was founded by Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter in December 2010, with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom.

Iroko’s co-founder, Jason Njoku, got to realize how popular African movies had become while living in faraway London. Despite the growing worldwide demand for these movies, he could hardly find them on the internet.

His decision to jump on a plane to Nigeria and negotiate distribution deals with local movie producers has earned him a place in history and a lot of dollars in the bag

Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking

This year marks the 10th edition of the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking.

The reporting team sifts through thousands of enterprises each year, searching for those that tap both heartstrings and purse strings and use the engine of commerce to make a difference in the world. Impact is among our key criteria and in 2017, ten companies were selected in Africa.

@TechEconomyNG connects past-present-emerging technological impacts on Businesses, People and Cities. All Correspondence to: [email protected]