School of coding Holberton announced an agreement to acquire African Leadership Group (ALG). The seven-year-old company, which has physics schools around the world in addition to its main online platform, will split in two. The Holberton technology platform will become part of the existing ALX online learning platform and the existing 34 physical offices will be spun off into a stand-alone business under Holberton’s current COO Florian Bucher.
As Holberton co-founder Julien Barbier told me, the pandemic has obviously put a lot of pressure on the company, given its early focus on face-to-face learning. When these places closed, Holberton quickly moved its curriculum online, and last year Holberton turning to mainly focus on SaaS and started to offer others a white label online learning platform. Barbier, whose co-founder Sylvain Kalash left the company at the start of the pandemic, said he was approached by several potential buyers last year, but he doesn’t think they’re a perfect fit either. a lot of money in the bankthere was no pressure to sell. ALG, however, seemed like a good fit, and while neither side disclosed the acquisition price, Barbier, who will join ALG along with most of Holberton’s technical team, said he was “happy with the numbers”.
ALG started out as a Holberton client, Barbier said. “There are a lot of similarities between the two companies and the missions we pursue,” he said. “The conversation about the acquisition at some point came very naturally. When you achieve such great results with a partner, do you start to think, is there a potential for a merger? Does it make sense to merge the two companies? And it made a lot of sense, and that’s how we started talking about it – first in jest, and then very seriously.”
And big numbers are what ALX is from ALG. Founder and CEO of ALG Fred Swaniker started the organization as a leadership academy (now African Leadership Academy) for small groups of students. He then added the African Leadership University to reach a wider group of students but still focus on leadership and entrepreneurship. With ALX, the group is now focused on teaching technical skills not only to thousands but potentially millions of technical workers.
“Four years ago, we realized that the world was going through a digital transformation and skills like software engineering, data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity would be required, and so we created ALX,” Swaniker explained. “This is not a high school. It’s not a university, but it’s for people who already have college degrees, and then we retrain them for those jobs in the fourth industrial revolution.”
According to him, the goal here is to train about 200,000 students a year. ALX currently has just under 150,000 students, up from 2,000 last October. “The reason for this is that young people in Africa have realized that their future is in technology,” he said when I asked how he explains this rapid growth. “There is a huge shortage of technology talent in the world, and traditional sources of finding this talent such as China, India and the United States are aging, so we see a huge opportunity to really solve this global technology talent shortage by training millions of software engineers. in Africa and then make it available to the whole world.”
This is where the ALG business plan comes in. Swaniker noted that the traditional coding school model of providing free tuition to students and then earning a share of the graduate’s income after graduation would be challenging. So instead, ALG takes a two-pronged approach. First, there is Room, the recruitment agency ALG and its B2B arm for giving businesses access to technology talent (and ALX will use Holberton’s existing curriculum to train them). But perhaps more importantly, Swaniker hopes to build a technology services business that can offer technology solutions and staffing to other businesses. Together, these two businesses will bring in enough revenue to fund the educational side of ALG/ALX.
As Swaniker noted, ALX’s task now is to build its B2B brand and realize its vision. “We are not limited in capital, we have the technology, and now it is about implementation,” he said. “Can we effectively build our brand with corporate clients? Can we purchase them? Can we provide the talent they are looking for? Can we provide the solutions they are looking for and can we continue to grow with excellence even as we scale?” He also noted that in the current geopolitical climate, there is some risk that could push companies to become more isolated as governments begin to do the same.
Credit: techcrunch.com /