Holberton School for Software Engineering Closes $8 million in A Round Funding

With funding led by daphni and Trinity Ventures, joined by new investor Omidyar Network, the college alternative aims to graduate more software engineers than Stanford and Harvard combined

SAN FRANCISCO, April 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The San Francisco-based Holberton School, a college alternative for training full-stack software engineers, announced today that it has raised an $8.2 million Series A funding round led by current investors daphni and Trinity Ventures and joined by new investor Omidyar Network. The Series A brings the school’s total funding to $13 million and will be used to fund the rapid expansion of the school.

Holberton previously raised a $4.8 million in seed investment from AME Cloud Ventures, Partech, Reach Capital, all are also part of the new round.

The school’s population has exploded 6 fold to more than 200 students in just under two years causing it to recently move into a new location that can eventually accommodate up to 1,000 students annually. At that time, Holberton will graduate more qualified full-stack software engineers than Stanford and Harvard combined.

“The need for qualified software engineers is greater than ever, as is giving people an alternative way to pursue the American dream without the heavy burden of student loans,” said Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton. “We thank daphni, Trinity Ventures, Omidyar Network and all of our current investors who believe there is a better way.”

Launched in 2016, Holberton is free until students find a job. There is no upfront tuition; graduates are asked to contribute a percentage of their future salaries for the first three years of their post-Holberton employment. This enables students to benefit from the free tuition structure and focus on their studies, while also creating a virtuous cycle of alumni who pay it forward for the next generation of students. The curriculum combines project-based and peer learning, so students help each other learn. There are no lectures and no teachers. Instead, tech mentors provide guidance to the students both on the curriculum and on their careers. Students acquire practical skills and an understanding of theory through hands-on learning; guaranteeing that they possess the skills necessary for the technology industry's most demanding jobs. Holberton will soon graduate its first “cohort” of students, which are already working at companies such as Apple, Tesla, Docker, Dropbox, LinkedIn, IBM and more.

“Holberton is not just supplying the STEM community with the highest level software engineers, they are offering everyone, regardless of race, age, sex or family background the opportunity to be part of this amazing industry,” said Marie Ekeland, daphni co-founder. “With the backing of industry heavyweights like Docker’s Solomon Hykes, Upwork’s Stephane Kasriel, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and even Grammy-Award winning recording artist NE-YO and now the resources to reach even more students, Holberton is on its way to changing the world.”

The school's students have published articles on popular websites and gone on to challenging work; like participating in the future of self-driving cars at Tesla and even a coveted internship at NASA's SETI Institute, guarding the earth from asteroids. Holberton is the winner of the EdTech Digest Awards Program 2017 and was featured in The New York Times emphasizing diversity.

“Silicon Valley faces two major challenges: a lack of diversity and a shortage of high-caliber engineering talent. Holberton addresses both,” said Dan Scholnick, general partner, Trinity Ventures. “Holberton imbues high-potential diverse talent with both the hard, technical skills and the soft, collaboration skills required by today’s leading employers. My fundamental belief in the power of their mission is why I invested in them from the very beginning.”

“Everyone deserves a first-rate education. Students at Holberton come from all walks of life, from cashiers to musicians to poker players (as well as right out of high school) without the money, background and education needed to be ‘Ivy League material,’” said Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton. “With Holberton, they now have the same opportunity as the more fortunate and they leave with skills to learn for a lifetime. Our students compete (sometimes after only 9-12 months) with Ivy League graduates and get the jobs.”

About daphni
daphni invests in European startups that will change how the world works. For good! To support founders, daphni built a digital platform and a closely knit community of entrepreneurs, executives, academics, artists and advisors. They provide the right connexions and insights to grow faster.

About Trinity Ventures
Trinity Ventures is a top-tier venture capital firm combining business insight, practical expertise and a personal touch to help start-ups win big. For over eleven funds, Trinity has helped passionate entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas transform markets and lives. Trinity's investment team takes a collaborative approach and believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment to deliver outsized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The firm invests in early stage technology companies with emphases on Cloud, Digital Media, Social Commerce and Entertainment, and Software as a Service. To learn more visit: www.trinityventures.com.

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit http://www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork #PositiveReturns 

About Holberton School
Using project-based learning and peer learning, Holberton’s mission is to train the best software engineers of their generation. At Holberton, there are no formal teachers and no formal courses. Instead, everything is project-centered. Holberton gives students increasingly difficult programming challenges to solve and minimal initial directions on how to solve them. As a consequence, students naturally look for the theory and tools they need, understand them, use them, work together, and help each other. Holberton School teaches how to learn instead of teaching a specific tool or programming language. Holberton School is based in San Francisco and supported by leaders from the technology industry. Go to www.holbertonschool.com to learn more.

Editorial Contact
Joe Eckert for Holberton School