Lambda School Raised $30M Series B To Empower Underserved Adults With Free Online Education. What’s Next?

Lambda School, a for-profit online coding bootcamp with Income Sharing Agreement (free until hired for more than $50,000/year and then pay 17% monthly salaries capped at $30,000 tuition in total) that Zillionize seed invested from YC S17 batch, announced its $30M Series B funding in January 2019. This round brings the total capital invested in Lambda to $48 million at a post-money valuation of $150 million.

Lambda School Cofounder Austin Allred. COURTESY: LAMBDA
As the founder and CEO Austen mentioned in this Forbes article, this round actually came inbound other than traditionally active fundraising effort. “I was getting a dozen emails a day from potential investors,” he says. “I think we were the first coding boot camp to put all the pieces together, and word gets around in Silicon Valley.”

In this post, we’ll share some more exciting news since their Series B announcement.

  • International Expansion. You may find out more here regarding its EU/UK program, and here about its partnership with PayStack to expand in Africa.

  • $2,000 Monthly Living Stipend. You may participate in the Q&As here via hacker news or apply to join their waitlist on their website here
Check out the blog post here
  • Loaner Laptops. You may read more about Anthony’s story on his own blog here

  • Charity Fund. You may kindly donate here to help cover internet bills, rent checks, etc for Lambda School students who are out of options financially. True story: a mere $400 was separating a student from graduating and 2 months after Lambda briefly covered his rent, he got a full-time job making $70,000/year.
  • “Summer Hacker Program for Women launched by YC co-founder Jessica Livingston with Lambda School. “I’m going to give 40 women $9000 stipends to cover their living expenses while they take Lambda School’s programming course. Lambda School has created a 15-week program designed to fit during the summer break and have generously agreed to cover these 40 students’ $12,000 tuition. We’re calling it the “Summer Hackers Program.” And you may read more why Livingston started this program here.
  • Inspiring success hire stories @HumansOfLambda. My most recent favorite would be this unnamed hero beating all the odds to find her way to a better life: single parent with 5 small children, no work experience and half a degree, teenager kid challenge, early stage cancer diagnosis, enrolled in and graduated from Lambda School with 6-figure salary (and more than one job offer)!
In addition, feel free to check out Lambda School’s CIRR Outcomes Report for H1 2018 cohort to let these numbers convince and impress you!
You may also listen to Austen’s podcast with YC to learn more about this non-traditional founder building a non-traditional but life-changing startup.

    1. grew up in Utah
    2. served as a Mormon missionary in Ukraine before college
    3. dropped out of college
    4. lived in a car for 3 months in Palo Alto
    5. hustled to sell 300 football tickets to pay for car tow
    6. failed a previous startup with Series A investor pulling out last minute, but hence published a successful book writing about growth (Cindy’s note: I actually had to dig into my notes 2yrs ago to find this reddit thread that got me convinced (together with his other qualities) to back Austen on his new venture: “I’ve been doing whatever the hell you call this my whole life. SEO, ads, CRO, SQL, a little data modeling to make it work at scale. Even wrote a book about it that I’ve made $130k from in the past year.”
    7. launched Lambda School with a fellow BYU dropout Ben Nelsonor
    8. the rest is history (in the making)

Better yet, follow Austen on Twitter to see why the hype?! Like me, you may not even need your 2nd cup of coffee everyday after reading all those inspiring stories from Lambda School graduates! 🙂
https://twitter.com/Austen

Chewse – Online Office Catering Service in California Raises $19M

Raising the total funding amount to $33.9M, Chewse – a San Francisco based online office catering service with corporate meal programs has bagged another $19M after going through its Series C funding round. The funding round was led by Foundry Group with participation from other investors including 500 Startups and Gingerbread Capital.

Chewse was added to our portfolio in 2014. In September 2015 and June 2017, Chewse went through Series A and Series B rounds respectively. Now, Chewse is serving Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Silicon Valley markets.

“We initially started with a contractor model but then very quickly started to realize our customers often mentioned the host or the driver in their feedback,” Chewse CEO and co-founder Tracy Lawrence told TechCrunch.

“I know there’s a lot of other companies that are like food tech or logistics but for us, it’s all about elevating and improving company culture,” Lawrence said. “We have technology but we’re investing in it to create an exceptional real-life experience.”

“On the tech side, we’re using a ton of machine learning and algorithms to learn what people like to eat and create custom meal schedules,” Lawrence said.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

Drivezy – Self Drive Rental Service in India Raises $20M

Two years ago, we added Drivezy (formerly JustRide) to our portfolio and in such a short span of time, Drivezy has become one of the biggest marketplaces in India for renting cars and motorbikes.

Drivezy is constantly adding more funds to keep its fuel tank full for a long and successful journey. For instance, it has raised $20M in Series B round led by Das Capital (other investors include Yamaha Corporation, Axan Partners and IT-Farm). Not just that, Drivezy has also signed a $100M asset financing deal with Japan based ICO (Initial Coin Offering) advisory service, AnyPay which is great. Keep driving forward, Drivezy!

Abhishek Mahajan, one of the company’s five co-founders, told TechCrunch in an interview that the fleet should add a further 50,000-60,000 new vehicles, 75 percent of which would be two-wheelers, thanks to the AnyPay deal.

Mahajan said that Drivezy is currently market leader when it comes to self-drive two-wheelers — “self-drive” meaning vehicles that can be rented for a trip — with motorbikes and scooters accounting for “the bulk” of transactions, but just 20 percent of revenue. (That’s opposed to 80 percent for cars.) Revenue itself is 25 percent of the cut of a rental.

Aside from the asset financing deal — which will see AnyPay’s Harbourfront Capital vehicle own the new assets — Drivezy uses peer-to-peer and dealership partners for its fleet. The peer-to-peer appeal centers around increasing the utility of vehicles (and providing additional income to owners); that’s a similar pitch to car dealerships, who can draw income from vehicles used on Drivezy that would otherwise sit idle waiting to be purchased.

But the AnyPay deal is a “game changer,” according to Mahajan.

“When we fast-forward five years, we can’t imagine a scenario that car ownership in India goes from eight percent [right now] to U.S. level of 80 percent. India will have to skip a cycle on the culture of ownership and move into a sustainable sharing of cars model,” he added.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

People.ai – AI-Based Revenue Intelligence Platform Raises $30M

Graduating from YC Summer 2016 batch and starting as a report card of sales people, People.ai has now turned into a revenue intelligence platform for enterprises that intakes data from 90+ sources and analyzes it with specially designed AI algorithms to deliver insight on revenue opportunities. To improve their technology and expand their business further, People.ai has raised another $30M in Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from GGV Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Y Combinator.

The startup, founded by Oleg Rogynskyy, previously raised $7 million. It started as a software meant to give sales managers a predictive playbook for the best way to close a deal, but investors have a master plan for the long term.

While Rogynskyy tells me he’d eventually like to take the company public, People.ai first needs to solidify itself as an AI solution for enterprises. To do so, the founder says they will use about half of the Series B investment to fund commercial expansion and customer acquisition (something the Andreessen network will undoubtedly catalyze) and the other half to fuel data science and engineering advancements within the business. The San Francisco-based company has also opened offices in Boston and Los Angeles, and is considering building out an engineering-focused team in Canada.

“We’ve expanded so that we don’t solely work with salespeople. We now work with everyone who touches the customer interactions, including marketing, inside sales engineers, customer success and sales support services. People.ai not only captures the activity of salespeople, but now gives teams a 360 degree view of everything that is happening with a customer across an entire team,” explains Rogynskyy.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

Wallarm – AI-Powered Application Security Platform Raises $8M

Wallarm – a platform leveraged by three-layered machine learning architecture to protect applications, micro-services and APIs from security attacks, has raised another $8M in Series A round led by Toba Capital in participation with Partech, Gagarin Capital and Y Combinator.

Wallarm mainly offers three products: NG WAF (for real-time protection), Wallarm DAST (for vulnerability and incident detection) and Wallarm FAST (for automated security testing) at the moment and provides a variety of security solutions to online businesses. This round sets Wallarm’s total funding amount to $10.8M since its seed round in 2016.

In addition to funding, the company said it’s nearly doubled the number of customers it serves in the past year. Wallarm says it grew recurring revenue by 100 percent, year-on-year, in Q3 2018 as well.

Commenting on the new funding, Wallarm co-founding CEO Ivan Novikov observed in a statement from the company that, “Many companies in Silicon Valley strive to raise vast sums of money, but strategically, we’ve decided to only raise what we need and fund the rest of our growth organically.”

As part of the Series A transaction, a number of individuals will be joining the company’s executive team and its various boards. Speaking of sales and marketing: Johan Nordstrom, a former executive at Imperva and Arbor Networks will join Wallarm as its chief business development officer and HyTrust cofounder Renata Budko joined as chief marketing officer.

On the board side: Rajan Aggarwal, a partner at Toba Capital, will join the company’s board of directors. Reza Malekzadeh of Partech will join as a board observer. Wallarm is also beefing up its advisory board with the addition of two folks: LendingClub CISO Richard Seiersen and Randy Bias, who serves as Juniper Networks’s VP of technology and strategy.

Please read the full story at CrunchBase.

Paperspace – GPU-Powered Cloud Infrastructure Platform Raises $13M

In 2015 when we added Paperspace to our portfolio, it was offering full computer in the cloud accessible through any web browser. By “full”, we really mean it because you could play games and perform heavy duty jobs like using 3D CAD softwares, rendering 3D simulations and video editing etc. However, now Paperspace has walked an extra mile by offering GPU-powered cloud infrastructure for machine learning and data science.

Their new product, Gradient running on Paperspace cloud makes it possible with a suite of tools (like 1-Click Jupyter Notbooks, Job runner and Python module etc.) for data scientists to just focus on code and building models leaving rest of the management to Gradient. Not just that, advanced GPUs offered by Paperspace for machine learning, are more powerful yet less expensive than cloud giants like AWS, GCP and Azure.

With machine learning going mainstream these days, this new direction of Paperspace is quite strategic for their future growth and not just us but other investors also validate it by providing $13M in Series A funding to Paperspace.

Best of luck to Paperspace with finding their own space in the world of data science!

Battery Ventures led the round with participation from SineWave Ventures, Intel Capital and Sorenson Ventures. Existing investor Initialized Capital also participated. Today’s investment brings the total amount to $19 million raised.

Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner with Battery Ventures sees Paperspace as being in the right place at the time. As AI and machine learning take off, developers need a set of tools and GPU-fueled hardware to process it all. “Major silicon, systems and Web-scale computing providers need a cloud-based solution and software ‘glue’ to make deep learning truly consumable by data-driven organizations, and Paperspace is helping to provide that,” Thakker said in a statement.

Paperspace provides its own GPU-powered servers to help in this regard, but co-founder and CEO Dillon Erb says they aren’t trying to compete with the big cloud vendors. They offer more than a hardware solution to customers. Last spring, the company released Gradient, a serverless tool to make it easier to deploy and manage AI and machine learning workloads.

“It’s really a greenfield opportunity, and we want to be the go-to platform that you can start building out into intelligent applications without thinking about infrastructure.” With $13 million in hand, it’s safe to say that they are on their way.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

Flutterwave – African Online Payments Service Raises $10M in Series A Extension

Last year, Flutterwave – a digital payments technology service based in Africa had a Series A round in which $10M funding was raised and now they have got another $10M in the extension round raising the total funding amount of Flutterwave to $20.1M. With Flutterwave’s simple APIs, businesses and individuals in Africa can easily make payment integrations with their websites and apps.

Even just launched in 2016, Flutterwave has already processed 100M transactions of payments worth $2.5B which is a great achievement for this young fintech startup. Flutterwave also has business partnerships with Uber, Booking.com, TransferWise and Flywire in Africa.

The latest round of financing includes investments from Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, and Raba Capital, among others, and means the startup has now raised over US$20 million to date. Its largest investors include Green Visor Capital and Greycroft Partners.

As part of the financing, current Green Visor capital chairman and general partner, and former Visa chairman and chief executive officer (CEO Joe Saunders, has joined the Flutterwave board of directors.

Flutterwave co-founder Olugbenga Agboola will replace Iyin Aboyeji as CEO.

“On behalf of the entire Flutterwave team we wish Iyin luck in his future endeavors. Moving forward, the entire Flutterwave team and I are excited for Flutterwave’s future and look forward to growing the company,” Agboola said.

Please read the full story at Disrupt Africa.