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A Bridge to the Global Workforce: How CatalyzU is Unlocking Opportunities for African Talent

Jun 13, 2024 | Why We Invested

By Wairimu Gitahi

The number of formal jobs being created in Africa each year is woefully inadequate. There are only 3 million formal jobs created annually, but 12 million Africans enter the workforce yearly. This leaves an additional 9 million young adults without access to dignified, stable employment each year. At the same time, many developed economies are faced with declining youth populations and need access to talent to fill their workforce gaps. 

Recognizing this dire employment gap and opportunity, Luke Mostert and his co-founder Karl Nchite, both entrepreneurs who worked in venture capital, launched CatalyzU in June 2023. CatalyzU seeks to position African talent in the global remote-work ecosystem by upskilling local job-seekers and facilitating their placement at global companies.

As Luke explains, “Karl and I met when we were 25 years old. At that time, we didn’t know any other young venture capitalists. So we decided to put together a community of the best African VCs under 35 in a Slack group and called it Young African Catalysts.” It was through this community-building effort that Luke and Karl recognized that the gap was not only in the number of jobs available but also in a lack of skills among job-seekers in the formal job sector – particularly for non-technical talent. This includes roles in sales, marketing, business development, and customer success. 

CatalyzU’s Unique Approach

CatalyzU’s innovation lies in its unique, dual-sided approach. Their platform trains their talent in both non-tech skills, but also – upon graduation – places that talent at a job vacant within their Talent Marketplace. Rather than just operating a traditional job board or talent marketplace, CatalyzU takes a holistic and data-driven approach. Specifically, they source and vet candidates through aptitude tests and psychometric assessments to determine their strengths and best-fit roles. Next, the training itself is led by industry experts, not just generalized coaches. As Luke notes, “We’re not an educational institution that is hiring trainers who have, for example, been university lecturers for 50 years. Our talent pool is trained by people who are seasoned in the specific area they are training – such as those working as high-ranking executives at a leading startup or even venture capital firm. Currently, this includes Partners, Founders, CEOs, CMOs, and more.”

Therefore, CatalyzU’s value proposition is twofold: the end-to-end platform facilitates talent upskilling and the job-matching process. The edtech platform delivers curated role-specific content, live learning, tests, and chatbots to guide workers through training and prepare them for work. It then matches the job seekers who have completed CatalyzU programs with employers who have described their skills and employment requirements. As Luke explains, “When a company approaches us for talent, we collect data about them to understand exactly what skills they need; from there, we connect them with the right candidates.” The whole process is done digitally through their app and website.

CatalyzU’s Expansion Ambitions and Jobtech Alliance Partnership

By providing work-ready talent to growing companies, CatalyzU is positioning Africa as the premier source of talent for the global remote workforce. “If you give [employers] one bad candidate, we’re never going to have that customer back again. If you give them one good candidate the first time, they may be hiring hundreds from you for years to come,” Luke emphasizes. CatalyzU’s approach empowers Africans to participate in the global economy without having to leave their communities.

The Jobtech Alliance – a partnership between BFA Global and Mercy Corps– recognizes the transformative potential of CatalyzU’s model. As Luke notes, “Through this partnership, the Jobtech Alliance will enhance our data processing and machine learning capabilities to improve talent matching.”

In its first 11 months of operation, CatalyzU has already trained over 100 Africans from 23 different countries. While the placement numbers are still ramping up, the startup has already seen strong demand for workers, with certain companies seeking to hire in batches of five people. 

Looking ahead, CatalyzU’s ambitious goal is to become “the largest placer of African non-tech talent into the global remote workforce” – aiming to place 50,000 Africans per year in high-paying remote roles within just their fifth year of operations. As Luke says, “It’s ambitious, that would be beyond unicorn status.” Through its innovative training, vetting, and placement model – combined with the expertise of the Jobtech Alliance – CatalyzU is poised to truly transform employment opportunities for Africans and position the continent as a go-to source of premier, ‘work-ready’ talent. 


The Jobtech Alliance is an ecosystem-building initiative around inclusive jobtech in Africa launched in late 2021. We’re interested in digital platforms which connect people to work opportunities that build livelihoods – this includes gigmatching platforms, job matching, e-commerce marketplaces, and more. The Jobtech Alliance helps jobtech platforms to grow and create more jobs.


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