Zuckerberg’s Newly Formed Venture Makes its First Bet

Deepa Seetharaman reported last week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg’s newly formed $48 billion venture is making its first bet.

Thursday, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC plans to announce an investment in Andela Inc., a New York-based startup that trains software developers in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is leading a $24 million Series B funding round. Others participating include GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc. previously known as Google Ventures.”

The Journal article noted that, “When they created the foundation, the couple pledged to fund it with 99% of their Facebook shares over the course of their lives. Those shares are now valued at about $48 billion. Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan said they would initially focus on ‘personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.’

By structuring the initiative as a limited-liability corporation, the couple freed it to invest in for-profit, as well as nonprofit, entities.”

The article pointed out that, “Andela, a for-profit company created in 2014, aims to train 100,000 developers over the next 10 years, Chief Executive Jeremy Johnson said in an interview. Mr. Johnson said many will come from Africa, where 60% of more than one billion people are under age 25 and many young people are out of work. Andela’s other investors include Spark Capital and the Omidyar Network.

“The two-year old startup says it has accepted fewer than 1% of the 40,000 applications it has fielded so far to be ‘Andela fellows,’ a four-year program where participants are paid to study web and mobile software development. After a few months, they also work for tech companies that hire Andela to offset what Mr. Johnson described as a shortage of engineers in the U.S.”

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