Nigerian IT company, Decagon, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round to support its mission of transforming exceptional software engineers, many of whom come from underrepresented backgrounds. It also plans to train and connect them with their dream jobs and funding.
Kepple Africa and Timon Capital led the round, with investments from Paul Kokoricha — ACA Managing Partner — and Tokyo-based UNITED Inc.
Additionally, it has raised a $25 million student loan financing facility. The funding was made possible by a partnership between the financier, Sterling Bank, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The startup claims to operate as an intersection of edtech, fintech, and the future of work. It specialises in software and mobile application development, website creation, UX design, and product marketing.
Founded in 2018 by Chika Nwobi (CEO), Decagon trains and connects engineers to work remotely with local and international companies.
Per TechCrunch, Nwobi said that tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have established engineering offices in Nigeria. Decagon helps companies unable to afford such offices to reach top talent willing to work as remote engineers.
The startup runs a six-month paid software engineering programme that costs $4,000.
However, if the trainees cannot afford the programme, student loan financing will cover the cost. Students who choose this option are expected to repay approximately $6,000 over three years.
This allows the company to offer a Pay-After-Learning plan that includes laptops, housing, Internet, meal allowance, and a stipend. According to the company, no upfront payment is required.
Decagon claims to be the first in Nigeria to provide students with such merit-based loan financing. It also claims to have accepted 440 candidates from a pool of 80,000 applicants for its programme.
Nwobi stated that the company has a 100% placement rate for its trainees, a 100% loan repayment rate, and a 410% salary increment made by its software engineers after placement.
The IT company plans to address the global underrepresentation of black people in the tech space, beginning with Nigeria. It also wants to promote gender inclusion by increasing female participation in its cohorts.
The funding will also be used to scale the company’s efforts in edtech, fintech, and the future of work.
Reacting to Nwobi’s claim that Decagon, a tech talent catalyst, is sustainable and growing at a rate of 500% per year, Timon Capital Partner, Chris Muscarella, said they are excited to collaborate with Decagon to identify and connect with vetted engineering talent in Africa.