Codeacademy Pulls $30 Million in Latest Investment Round

(Photo: Pixabay, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pixabay, Creative Commons)

Online education service Codeacademy has raised $30 million in a Series C round, which they say will be used to boost the expansion of the company both geographically and academically as well as increasing its mobile access.

The latest investment round was led by Naspers, a media company based out of South Africa.  Additional funding was received from existing investors, including Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Index Ventures, and Sir Richard Branson.

“Since we founded Codecademy in 2011, we have seen an explosion of interest in learning to code as a key component of a 21st-century education,” stated Zach Sims, the company’s CEO.

Originally launched in 2011, Codeacademy was one of the first to offer online, browser-based coding exercises and tutorials.  Sims said that when the New York City-based startup was first founded, he had been “told repeatedly that this would not be a skill that would be taught in schools.”  He said this attitude has changed due to efforts made by businesses, Code.org, and local governments in “creating an attitude shift toward programming education.”

The company offers tutorials for close to a dozen coding languages and boasts over 25 million users.  Nearly half are located outside of the United States due to partnerships with foundations and government bodies that support the translation and implementation of the service in a number of countries including Brazil, Estonia, France, and the United Kingdom, writes Tony Wan for Edsurge.

The startup came out with Codeacademy Pro last year, a subscription service that offers users a personalized learning plan in addition to additional content, quizzes, projects, and on-demand access to an advisor.  The service comes at a cost of $20 per month.  Sims said it currently has “tens of thousands of active users.”

Although around 25% of customers are students between grades K-12, Sims said the company is “doubling down on our original approach” in a push to serve more lifelong learners.  In order to accomplish this, the company plans to add mobile support, increase the number of products they offer, and boost the number of employees they have from 29 to 50 full-time employees by the end of the year.

While other programming options currently on the market today, such as video tutorials, MOOCs, and off-line coding bootcamps, offer users certificates upon completion or, in some cases, a money-back guarantee if they are unable to find employment, Sim said he does not believe in these azpproaches.  Instead, he said the learner’s project portfolio will show the skills they have acquired.  To that end, he said he is committed to “giving opportunities to anyone and everyone to learn new skills for economic mobility opportunities.”

Course Report, the company responsible for annual reports on the topic, found 91 coding bootcamps in existence today graduating an estimated 18,000 students each year.

Naspers has made three education technology deals in the past three months, including a $60 million Udacity investment in June and a lead role in the $15 million Series B round for Brainly.  “With these companies, we still think they are all in the beginning of the journeys but have the global platform and potential to grow across the world,” says Jill Williams, Communications Partner at Naspers Ventures.