TalentQL has raised $300,000 (₦114.3 million) in a pre-seed round led by Zedcrest Capital.

TalentQL is a talent outsourcing and incubator company founded by Adewale Yusuf, Opeyemi Awoyemi and Akintunde Sultan in November 2020. It hires, develops and manages remote talent for companies globally. To lead TalentQL as the CEO, Adewale has stepped down as the publisher of Techpoint Africa.

Opeyemi is the founder of WhoGoHost and co-founder of Jobberman. He's currently a senior technical product manager at Indeed and TalentQL's Head of Business and Partnership. Akintunde, the founder of DevCareer, is the Head of Talent Management at TalentQL.

While Adewale and Akintunde will be running the operations of the new startup in Nigeria full-time, Opeyemi will be running TalentQL operations in the U.S.

Tidbit

The QL in TalentQL means Quiet Location, Query Language, or however you want to interprete it.

— Adewale, CEO of TalentQL

Zedcrest Capital, which led the pre-seed round, is the venture investing initiative of Zedcrest Group — a seven-year-old securities and investment firm. Launched in 2019, Zedcrest Capital has now invested in 20 African startups, including Utiva, Helium Health, Bankly, and Youverifi.

Other investors that participated in the $300,000 (₦114.3 million) pre-seed round include Kola Aina, founding partner at Ventures Platform, and Prosper Otemuyiwa, co-founder and CTO of Eden Life.

The $300,000 pre-seed investment in TalentQL is reportedly made at $2 million valuation.

"We are excited to be backing TalentQL, the 20th firm in our Ventures at Zedcrest initiative", CEO of Zedcrest Group, Adedayo Amzat, said. "African talents are undoubtedly competing favourably globally, and TalentQL's work will expand the available talent pool to further improve Africa's representation in the global technology talent space".

Betting on TalentQL is a no-brainer, Adedayo added. "The founders are entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses, and we have no doubt they will replicate the same success here", he said.

Related Article: uLesson secured $3.1 million in a seed round led by TLcom Capital three months before it launched.

Touted as the home of Africa's top talent, TalentQL currently has nine roles open for developers, engineers, and data scientists.

How is TalentQL different from other talent outsourcing companies?  

There are a plethora of human resource outsourcing companies across Africa. More so for tech talent hiring. Notable among them are Andela, Workforce Group Tech Recruitment Service, Gigson by Devcenter, eWorker, and Enyata.

Adewale explained that TalentQL is different in that campuses are provided for the remote team it hires and manages for companies globally. And it also has a talent pipeline programme that provides entry-level for jobs for people (say junior developers) and upskill them.

"Our mission is to help progressive companies build solid remote teams and a pipeline of quality of talent. This pre-seed funding allows us to kickstart our mission", Adewale said. "We are convinced that what we are doing at TalentQL will change the African talent landscape".

Talent is the greatest export of Africa and, as such, needs to be developed and refined, Adewale added. "With over 60% of the Nigerian population being under the age of 25, there is no better place than this country to begin building a home for Africa's top talent", he said.

Adewale Yusuf, TalentQL CEO
Adewale Yusuf, TalentQL CEO

TalentQL focuses on talent outside of Lagos, the commercial capital and tech hub of Nigeria. The first set of TalentQL campuses would launched in Ile-Ife, Osun State, and subsequently in Enugu and Kaduna.

Speaking on how the campuses work, Adewale said the campuses in Ile-Ife would function as co-working spaces with internet and electricity. And in the future, we're going to have a bigger place where people can live and work from, including those in our talent pipeline. "In the meantime, accomodation is provided for some of the people that move to Ile-Ife to work with us".

While TalentQL's main outsourcing service caters to hiring and managing senior-level talent for companies globally, its talent pipeline programme aims to provide job opportunities for entry-level talent and upskill them. The first cohort of the programme would focus on banks and fintechs and it is scheduled to launch in 2021.

Once you pass through TalentQL's rigorous application process, you will be matched with a fintech or bank that you would be working for remotely from TalentQL's campus. The company would be paying you a monthly stipend, while TalentQL will be training you to become a world-class talent.

The talent pipeline programme is a six-month programme and would feature trainers from top companies. Some of the trainers expected to be part of the first cohort include people working at Stripe, Square, Monzo, and N26.