African Leadership International Announces Agreement to Acquire Silicon Valley’s Holberton, Inc.

Acquisition will accelerate African Leadership International’s goal to develop millions of Digital Leaders in Africa, creating large scale impact across the continent and around the world.

Port Louis, Mauritius, July 13, 2022 – In a world where African startups have traditionally been acquired by Silicon Valley based companies, the African Leadership International (“ALI”) leads the way to a new horizon. The African organization announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Silicon Valley based Holberton, Inc., in a transaction that will give ALI ownership of Holberton’s suite of tools and technologies. This will enable ALI to train software engineers at mass scale and accelerate Africa’s role as the final frontier for technology talent in the world. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter. As part of the transaction, the Holberton School network will be separated into an independent organization.

Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton, Inc, founded the company in 2015 to transform how people learn and provide broader access to quality education.

“This acquisition will help address the global shortage of technology skills by combining our respective strengths with African talent paving the way. This collaborative, project-based environment makes every student workforce ready after graduating. Our software engineers will empower organizations around the world to rapidly scale their technology talent requirements,” – said Barbier.

The technology industry will face a shortage of 50-80 million people over the next decade. According to the 20th edition of the State of the Developer Nation report, a limited 26 million software engineers exist in the world, and only 700,000 of them are African. Yet, while other countries’ populations are aging, Africa has the youngest population where the average age is 19, and will have a workforce of 1.1 Billion people by 2035. This staggering figure will represent 40% of the global population by the next century.

ALI is on a mission to unleash this untapped talent by developing three million young leaders in Africa by 2035. The organization has focused on technology and is playing a critical role in establishing Africa as the new tech frontier. Through its ALX “training arm”, a skills accelerator training thousands of software engineers and other in-demand talent in Africa, ALI seeks to bridge the global technology talent gap by developing digital leaders and via its The ROOM “career arm,” connecting the trained engineers to career opportunities. The ROOM is the global community of extraordinary talent that is matching and connecting its members to global employment through custom technology developed in collaboration with AWS.

To scale the efforts of ALX, ALI and Holberton began a partnership over 2 years ago to enroll and train talented young Africans in software engineering. The companies combined ALI’s pool of African tech talent, with Holberton’s advanced technology education program to enroll an initial cohort of just under 50 students in September of 2020.

“Through our combined efforts to date, we have been able to deliver high quality learning experiences to young Africans at massive scale. This is unlike anything I have experienced in my 20 years of human capital development on the continent. With our current trajectory, I am confident that in the next decade we will develop millions of African digital leaders who can solve many of Africa’s greatest challenges. Our ambition is to become the largest single source of technology talent for the world,” said Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership International.

Today, almost 100,000 students (over 2000 times the initial cohort) have enrolled in the ALX program within the last 12 months, with 95% residing in one of the 54 countries in Africa. ALI believes that the program is on track to reach 250,000 enrolled students by the end of the year, which already represents 35% of Africa’s global total number of software engineers.


Once this acquisition is completed, ALI expects to position itself as the leading source of technology talent on the continent. It will accelerate ALI’s trajectory by extending Holberton’s intensive 12-18 month / 70-100 hours a week program to Africans across the globe. Holberton Silicon Valley graduates have been hired by some of the most prestigious companies in the world, including Apple, Google, Tesla, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Pinterest, Rappi, and Nvidia. With the combination of the ALX program, Holberton’s technology and The ROOM career placement, ALI seeks to put forward a world-class service that will solidify Africa’s place as the final frontier for technology, while providing a lasting solution to the global technology talent shortage.


More about African Leadership Group

For the past 17 years through ALA, ALU, ALX & The Room, African Leadership Group has been selecting, developing and connecting thousands of high-performing talent to the world’s most rigorous employers. African Leadership International is part of the African Leadership Group (ALG) ecosystem of institutions with a shared vision to harness Africa’s abundant human capital and develop 3 million ethical and entrepreneurial leaders from the continent by 2035. Click here to learn more.

East Wind Advisors, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Mazars provided financial, legal and accounting advice to ALI, respectively.

More about Holberton

Founded in Silicon Valley in 2015, Holberton’s innovative and flexible delivery of the “OS of Education” provides a unique portfolio of tools, auto-graded tailored curricula, and teaching methods to help its customers — education institutions, universities, corporations, governments and Holberton School franchisees — train the next generation of digital talent at scale.

Lowenstein Sandler LLP advised Holberton, Inc. for this transaction.