Emerging Company Practice Co-Chair Dave Gammell has plenty of clients with interesting goals, and plenty of clients poised to succeed economically. But new client Andela brings another virtue to the table: “They are going to impact in the world in a really positive way,” he says.
Matching Talent with Opportunity
Andela trains talented Nigerians and Kenyans in software development, then connects them with programming jobs at companies in the United States, where there is a high demand for their skills: according to Andela Co-Founder Jeremy Johnson, the United States has five open software developer jobs for every one software developer.
Johnson, a seasoned entrepreneur who has already taken one company public, plans to expand Andela’s on-the-ground educational programs to other African countries, with the target of training 100,000 developers across the continent in the next 10 years.
“Their whole thesis is that talent is spread fairly evenly around the globe, but opportunity is not,” says Gammell. Andela has a high bar for talent—its acceptance rate is about .5 percent, which makes it 10 times more selective than any university in the United States, Johnson recently told TechCrunch.
Andela places its successful applicants in full-time jobs with US tech companies just six months into their training, so they quickly become immersed in the industry and its rapid pace of change. For the next three-and-a-half years, the fledgling developers work remotely for these companies while also completing Andela’s curriculum of technical and business courses.
How WilmerHale Will Help
Ultimately, the people behind Andela make Gammell most excited to work with the company. “They are so passionate about their mission,” he says, “and are all so impressive.”
He will support Andela’s leaders by heading the team that will handle all of the company’s corporate matters, which will likely include leasing work in the US and in Africa and domestic and international tax structuring work. Andela will also benefit from the advice of the firm’s strong technology licensing and intellectual property lawyers.
“This is an opportunity where, as a corporate lawyer, I get to give back a little bit,” says Gammell.