Startup Propel: Revolutionizing the Open Talent Economy through Tech Communities

Startups are essential for promoting innovation and accelerating economic growth in the fast changing technology world of today. One such startup, Propel, is on a quest to leverage the strength of tech communities to improve the open talent economy. Propel strives to create sustainable talent pipelines and reduce the risk associated with employing remote workers from emerging countries, notably in Africa, by bringing together varied talent pools and multinational corporations. We will look at how Propel is transforming the nature of employment and empowering IT communities throughout the world in this post.

The ICT sector in Africa has grown significantly in recent years, drawing billions of dollars in investments from both domestic and international companies. The region’s expanding talent pool is one of the main driving forces for this expansion. The number of software developers in Africa increased by approximately 4% to reach 716,000, citing Google’s Africa Developer Report. This expansion includes UI/UX designers, engineers, and other tech specialists in addition to developers.

A number of talent-matching platforms, including well-known ones like Andela, GOMYCODE, AltSchool, and Decagon, have developed in Africa in an effort to tap into this talent pool. The rise of tech communities across the continent has been facilitated by these platforms, which have been crucial in matching tech talent with employment opportunities. The 2020 startup Propel, with offices in Berlin and Lagos, intends to further the idea of talent-matching platforms. The company’s mission is to support international businesses with their hiring of remote workers from emerging markets, with an emphasis on Africa, by helping communities build sustainable talent pipelines for communities.

In a recent seed investment round led by Amsterdam-based No Such Ventures, Propel secured €2.5 million (~$2.74 million) in funding. Other participants in the round included APX, Golden Egg Check, and the Future of Learning Fund. With this investment, Propel plans to drive the roll-out and adoption of its community-as-a-service platform and generate €1 million in revenue for communities by the fourth quarter of next year.

Propel’s community-centered approach stems from its recognition of the crucial role played by tech communities in nurturing and shaping tech ecosystems, especially in emerging markets. These communities serve as the building blocks of any tech ecosystem, connecting like-minded individuals, providing opportunities for upskilling, and acting as a support system for aspiring tech professionals.

By focusing on communities, Propel aims to bridge the gap between talent and job opportunities. The startup noticed that while many tech communities excel at building pools of talent and upskilling their members, they often struggle with the last mile of converting these talents into actual jobs. Propel aims to fill this gap by acting as the distribution layer for the tech talent pipeline, connecting community members with companies in need of diverse skill sets.

To fulfill its mission, Propel offers a comprehensive pipeline for talent within tech communities. The startup connects these communities with a network of companies driven by diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) mandates and specific job roles that need to be filled. In return for providing last-mile infrastructure, Propel gains access to a diverse pool of talent spanning various skill sets, including software development, design, data science, and digital transformation.

Global companies can leverage Propel’s community-as-a-service model, which offers a pipeline of talent from multiple tech communities across 15 African countries. This approach allows companies to tap into a diverse talent pool and fulfill their hiring needs while actively promoting DEI initiatives. Propel has already collaborated with renowned companies such as Porsche, Mercedes, Orange Telecoms, and Stepstone, among others.

Propel goes beyond talent matching and offers a comprehensive “value stack” to tech talent within these communities. This all-in-one platform provides access to various benefits, including healthcare, workstation access, and, in the future, financial services such as loans and asset financing. By partnering with service providers, Propel aims to empower tech talent and provide them with the resources they need to thrive in their careers.

Propel’s unique approach not only benefits tech talent but also empowers the communities themselves. When a community member is successfully placed in a job, the community receives a fraction of the revenue generated through placement fees and rebates. This creates new financial revenue streams for communities, reducing their dependence on grants and sponsorships. Propel envisions supercharging communities and enabling them to grow to the next level.

With over 100+ tech communities on its platform, spanning diverse locations, gender distributions, and tech stacks, Propel has already amassed an ecosystem of nearly 400,000 members. The startup’s goal is to expand to 500 communities with 1 million members across the board by 2024. This growth will not only benefit Propel but also generate substantial revenue for these communities through commissions from jobs, perks, and finance offered on the platform.

First reported by TechCrunch.