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Ghanaian co-founder of ADPList and partner raise US$1.3 million to help students get access to mentorship

ADPList is a platform for people to find, book and meet mentors around the world, and provides everyone with access to some of the best minds

James Baduor, a Ghanaian co-founder of the global mentorship platform ADPList, and his partner have announced a US$1.3 million in funding from Surge, a rapid scale-up programme by Sequoia Capital India for start-ups in India and south-east Asia.

ADPList is a platform for people to find, book and meet mentors around the world, providing anyone with access to some of the best minds – starting with the design and product management community.

At present, there is no shared platform that makes cross-border mentoring easy, or offers a global network of mentors with different skillsets and at different levels. In the current creator economy, where people are keen to share, support and teach others, ADPList’s instant, one-click access to a global network has made it one of the industry’s most prominent platforms.

Peer support

What initially began as a means for designers to provide peer support, share career opportunities and offer mentorship to others impacted by the pandemic, has since organically grown to over 20,500 mentees, 2,500 mentors and over 5,000 booked sessions per month.

“We started ADPList during the height of the pandemic, and the success of the platform has since shown us that there is a global network of people ready to connect and provide support for others in their communities. The evolution of ADPList today continues to build on the belief that every mentor’s voice can transform people’s career anxiety to agency, and our platform provides them with an entirely new, accessible and engaging way to do so,” said Felix Lee, co-founder of ADPList.

“From the first moment I started mentoring with ADPList, I knew it was more than an act of ‘passing on knowledge’. After clocking 6,000-plus minutes across ten time zones with 100-plus mentees from more than 15 different counties, I can tell you one thing for sure: every session is a unique exchange of our lives, our stories and our dreams. There is no better feeling when Amazing Design People find each other!” said Michael Tam, global design director at IBM iX.

Virtual sessions

On ADPList, mentors can indicate their availability on a shared calendar for mentees to select and schedule virtual sessions. Video calls are conducted within the platform along with feedback and ratings after each session. Beyond one-on-one mentoring, the platform offers small group mentoring, town-hall-style talks and other formats.

ADPList started in 2020 as a list of names, sprouted by the founders’ desire to help the many designers who found themselves out of a job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One tab in the open-source spreadsheet focused on mentoring, and it received the most clicks. This eventually inspired the founder to build it into a platform, and that is how Amazing Design People List – ADPList – was born.

ADPList mentors work at companies such as Spotify, Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nike, Netflix, Twitch, Coinbase and many more.

The company was incorporated in 2021 in Singapore by Felix Lee and James Baduor.

Felix is a product designer-turned-tech entrepreneur. He was the design lead at Gotrade and co-founder at Packdat, which was acquired in 2018. He completed his studies at Singapore Polytechnic but decided not to go on to university, and instead further his entrepreneurial pursuits.

Based in Ghana, James is passionate about community and design education, and taught himself Webflow and other NoCode tools. He has helped numerous students build design careers and worked with start-ups to validate their MVPs and launch their products.

James is one of Webflow’s top creators in the world, with the number-one most viewed project on the platform.

Angel investors

The funding is supported by prominent angel investors Crystal Widjaja (ex-Gojek executive), J J Chai (chief executive of Rainforest), Quek Siu Rui (co-founder and chief executive, Carousell), Ting Feng Toh (co-founder of GetGo) and the Zopim founders (Royston Tay, Wen Xiang Wu, and Yang Bin Kwok).

ADPList is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals live, work and learn better in a rapidly evolving south-east Asian landscape.

Founded in 2020 and headquartered in Singapore, ADPList is a platform for people to find, book and meet mentors around the world, providing anyone with access to some of the best minds in the design and product management community. The company is on a mission to democratise mentorship and make it accessible for everyone through a community platform where people can find, book and meet mentors around the world.

Surge is Sequoia Capital India’s rapid scale-up programme for start-ups in India and south-east Asia. Surge combines US$1 million to US$2 million of seed capital with company-building workshops, a global curriculum and support from a community of exceptional mentors and founders. The programme’s goal is to supercharge early-stage start-ups and give their founders an unfair advantage, right out of the gate.

For more information on Surge, visit www.surgeahead.com.

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