On August 17, 2021, ADPList – a global mentorship platform – announced that it has raised an amount of $1.3 million in funding from Surge – a rapid scale-up program by Sequoia Capital India for startups in India and Southeast Asia – to help professionals and students get instant access to mentorship.
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.
The platform was co-founded by James Baduor, a Ghanaian; and Felix Lee, a Singaporean.
James, an alumnus of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), 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 startups to validate their MVPs and launch their products. He is one of Webflow’s top creators in the world, with the number one most viewed project on the platform.
Felix, on the other hand, 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 pursue his entrepreneurial pursuits.
ADPList started in 2020 as a list of names, sprouted by James and Felix’s 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, which received the most clicks. This eventually inspired the founders to build this into a platform, and that’s how Amazing Design People List – ADPList – was born.
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.
“Felix and I met on LinkedIn. When the pandemic started and the designers were losing jobs, we decided to find a way for them to get jobs so we rolled out a google sheet which later on turned into a website,” James Baduor told Kuulpeeps.
The company, however, was incorporated in 2021 in Singapore.
According to the founders, 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.
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 also offers small group mentoring, town hall-style talks and other formats.
ADPList mentors work at companies like Spotify, Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nike, Netflix, Twitch, Coinbase and many more.
Speaking on what he and his co-founder, Felix, have been able to achieve so far, James said: “Great opportunities seldom come our way, but the little ones are always around us. And I thank God for helping me realize I could give myself for such a cause.”
“Coming from Africa, making this much impact, I feel there is an opportunity for everyone (does not matter where you come from) to realise their purpose and execute at scale.”
“This is just the beginning of what we have started. Now we are in about 70 countries, but we want to reach everyone globally, if possible. We want to provide access and democratize mentorship and education to everyone. Think about the child in a small village in the Volta Region, yes, we want to reach that child. That is the kind of exposure we want to create for everyone,” he added.
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