Decagon has snapped a $1.5 million seed round, and a $25 million student loan financing facility received from the Nigerian financial institution, Sterling Bank.
Investors that participated in the round included Kepple Africa, Timon Capital and angel investors such as Paul Kokoricha, managing partner of the private equity business of ACA, and Tokyo-based UNITED Inc.
In a statement, Chris Muscarella, partner at Timon said:
“We’re thrilled to work with Decagon to build up the top 0.5% of vetted engineering talent in Africa and help connect them to global tech opportunities. The frequency of engineering leaders from US and European companies in our network ask about sourcing African and Nigerian technical talent has increased at a rapid clip, and we’re excited to lean into that and help Decagon on their mission.”
Founded in 2018 by Chika Nwobi, Decagon empowers tech-enthusiasts across Nigeria, by training them towards procuring innovative solutions to present and unforeseen problems.
The startup runs a six-month software engineering programme after which well deserved candidates are selected. Software engineers are expected to pay about $4,000 tuition to get in. The company connects these engineers to gigs, so they can work and earn after graduation.
Interested enthusiasts, who can not afford the tuition fee, are entitled to the student loan. Although, there is a repayment plan of $6,000 to be paid within the space of three years.
The student loan financing facility is in partnership with Nigerian-based Sterling Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The facility allows Decagon to offer a Pay-After-Learning plan that provides the trainees with laptops, accommodation, internet, meal allowance and a stipend.
Speaking on the student loan, Obinna Ukachukwu, the divisional head of Sterling Bank said, “We got involved to support alternative education by providing loans for Nigerian students complemented with financial literacy training. Based on the excellent performance of the current portfolio, it made sense to scale our support to Decagon.”
The founder, Nwobi, says the funds will be used to scale the company’s efforts in the edtech, fintech and the future of work sectors. Also, the startup seeks to increase the number of females in its cohorts from the current 25% to 50% in the next three years.
“We see this capital as fuel to accelerate our mission to transform exceptional people, often from under-represented backgrounds, into world-class engineers by connecting them with financing, in-demand skills and their dream jobs,” said Nwobi.