Thinkful Expands Online Education Portfolio, Raises $4mil Funding


Online coding education services provider Thinkful has received a boost of $4.25 million in investments led by the Floodgate Fund to enhance its education portfolio for programmers and developers.

The NYC company grew five times in size to more than 3,000 students last year to form the largest global network of software engineers to teach students technological skills for those who consider changes in career. It also claims a 70 percent completion rate (higher than other online programs) and aims to utilize the fresh injection of funds to provide career services.

The new influx of funds follows the steps of a $1 million seed round initiated by RRE Ventures, Peter Thiel's FF Angel, Quotidian Ventures and others in February 2013.

Founded by Darrell Silver and Dan Friedman in 2012, the coding and design education company connects professional programmers and developers through student online mentorship. Thinkful acts as a cheaper and lighter alternative to Developer boot camps and professional education companies, both of which have grown in prominence over the past few years; according to Silver.

"We've found a way to get a lot of professional engineers excited about helping people learn. You see a lot of students learning online much more effectively online and much more cheaply and that's noteworthy. And it's because of these experts working with these students"

The program currently offers 10 online courses to students mainly between the ages of 20 and 40. The classes range from basics such as introductory web design to expert ones such as data science and backend development in Node.js, writes Tony Wan of edSurge.

Thinkful charges a price tag of $300 to $500 per month for each course, with a completion period of 90 to 120 hours. Students can work at their own pace and are allowed to distribute their time between self-driven learning (through text and video instruction and quizzes), constructing projects (around 5 to 15 per course) and obtaining personal feedback and advice from one of the 250 professionals employed by the company.

Silver aims to launch a modified curriculum with the new funds that will be more selective and allow the program to easily track and record the success of its student population, writes Jonathan Shieber of Tech Crunch.

Founding partner of the Floodgate Fund Ann Miura-Ko will be partnering with the company's board of directors.

"Thinkful is the first and best platform to provide human-driven learning. Thinkful's rapid growth can be attributed to the power of their mentor network and the acknowledgement that people are just as important in teaching as the content. The impressive student testimonials make me very excited to work alongside Thinkful as they hit a new inflection point in growth."

The program continues to face close competition from various other online coding providers such as Bloc, One Month and Udacity which offer a similar course outline.

Coding schools have grown rapidly, mostly in response to an increased demand for STEM workers, mainly software engineers. These "bootcamps" have generated high venture capital and promise jobs with high starting salaries. However most of these schools tend to be concentrated in urban areas and charge tuition costs above $10,000.

According to Silver, Thinkful is "perfect for people who don't want to quit their job, move or go into debt".

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