By Juliet Umeh
Tech start-up, Decagon, has closed a $1.5 million seed equity round from early-stage VCs as well as a $25 million student loan financing facility from Sterling Bank.
Founder of the company, Mr. Chika Nwobi, said: “We were already profitable and growing 500 percent per annum but 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.
“Decagon aims to address the under-representation of black people in technology globally starting in Nigeria, where youth unemployment is about 50 percent.”
He noted that funding for local start-ups is growing massively but companies now face a shortfall of skilled tech talent.
According to him: “United States, Germany, and United Kingdom-based companies are also looking for the best talent from all over the world but often need help accessing Africa’s best. Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have all invested in building engineering offices in Nigeria but most other companies can’t afford to do that, so we help them access top talent to work as remote engineers,” Nwobi added.
Also, Divisional Head, Sterling Bank, Obinna Ukachukwu 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.”
Similarly, the funds will assist to deepen the company’s pursuit of gender balance by increasing female participation from 25 percent currently to 50 percent by 2024. The company is passionate about creating opportunities for women and is helping achieve a gender-balanced workforce amongst its partner organizations.
Partner at Timon Capital, Chris Muscarella, also added: “We’re thrilled to work with Decagon to build up the top 0.5 percent 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.”