Lambda School, a remote coding boot camp providing extensive hands-on training to become a web developer or data scientist and get a job quickly has raised $30M in Series B. The funding round was led by ex-Partner of Founders Fund & Founder of Bedrock Capital, Geoff Lewis and GGV Capital in participation with Y Combinator, Vy Capital, Pioneer Fund, Dunce Capital’s Managing Partner, John Danner, GV and actor, Ashton Kutcher.
Among the glut of unaccredited coding schools, Lambda stands out for two reasons. It has no campus, so all of its more than 1,000 students take courses online. Second, it allows students to pay for its 30-week software engineering courses with an increasingly popular arrangement called an income share agreement, or I.S.A. Students can either pay $20,000 in tuition up front or opt to pay zero in exchange for signing an I.S.A., which obligates them to pay 17% of the salary they earn from a job that pays at least $50,000 annually for two years. Lambda caps the I.S.A. payment at $30,000, and if a student doesn’t find a well-paying job within five years, she owes nothing to Lambda.
Cofounder Austen Allred, 29, grew up in Utah and served as a Mormon missionary in Ukraine before starting college at Brigham Young University in Provo. He dropped out after a couple of semesters. “I just felt like I wasn’t learning anything,” he says. “It was really slow, really frustrating.”
For the Series B, Allred says he did no fundraising. “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.”
Lambda, an obscure name Allred says he chose because it is a term he liked that describes a form of mathematical logic, draws most of its students from a low-earning demographic. The average annual income for Lambda students when they enter is $22,000, Allred says, and the average Lambda graduate increases his or her income by $47,000. Lambda’s staff of 50 full-timers and 110 part-timers includes eight career coaches who have helped 83% of Lambda grads land jobs at companies including Google, Amazon, United HealthCare, Best Buy, AT&T, and Verizon, Allred says.
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