The Internet has fundamentally changed the workplace. While technology is replacing more and more jobs on the one hand, the sector is creating new opportunities for skilled workers on the other. For the moment there is often a lack of well-trained employees for technology and Internet startups to hire.
Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
CareerFoundry is an online educational platform for tech skills in Web Development and UX Design. Students are guided through online courseware by an expert mentor in either field, with whom the student can regularly communicate via Skype, email and instant messaging. CareerFoundry strongly believes that the key to building a sustainable career in tech is continued, affordable and easy access learning, together with a personal mentor-student relationship. The core value of the startup is innovation: to never stop inventing new ways to enhance the pedagogic method, by focusing on personalisation and blended-learning, as well as an outcome and competency-based education experience for all its students.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
The co-founders are Raffaela Rein and Martin Ramsin who met at a tech conference where Raffaela was giving a speech. Raffaela is CEO and Martin is CTO.
How was the idea for your startup born?
The idea for CareerFoundry was born from Martin Ramsin’s own personal struggle to learn how to code. Martin taught himself to code using free, online courses and, like many before him, struggled to stay on track. Eventually he found himself a mentor, a friend who was already working as a full stack web developer, and Martin soon noticed the huge difference this made to his learning curve. Martin not only learnt to code a lot faster, he also learnt best practices (crucial for web developers) and how to work as part of a team. Learning alongside an expert in his field motivated and inspired Martin to keep going as he was now accountable to somebody other than himself. His mentor was able to advise him not only in a technical sense but also on how to proceed along his career path in web development.
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
At CareerFoundry we are looking to help bridge the tech skills gap. With over 1 million jobs in technology expected to open up in the next year alone, CareerFoundry is here to help bring complete beginners up to employable standards in Web Development and UX Design. CareerFoundry is stepping into the breach where universities and schools have failed students: with so many vacancies in this ever-expanding industry, and not enough people with the right skills to fill them, a radical move is needed from startups and entrepreneurs if we as a society are to continue to rely upon technology as much as we currently do. CareerFoundry is here to train up the next generation of programmers launching them into new careers in tech.
Who are your competitors? What sets you apart from them?
Although CareerFoundry has a number of competitors in the online and offline space who are also teaching Web Development and UX Design, our courses are unique because of our mentored approach. Treehouse, Bloc, General Assembly, Udacity, Codecademy and Thinkful are all successful in this area. Treehouse teaches Web Development but it currently does not teach UX Design. General Assembly is mentored, but it is offline and vastly more expensive (10 x the price of CareerFoundry). It also does not teach UX Design. Codecademy is free, online but not mentored and only teaches programming. Thinkful is similar to CareerFoundry in that it is mentored and online, but it does not teach UX Design, and its focus is less on employability and career readiness.They are also much more focused on the US market. Udacity’s course program offers a variety of different learning goals, that are not necessarily interconnected. The focus is more on enhancing specific skills, rather than building an entirely new career from those skills. Our closest competitor is Bloc which teaches UX Design and Web Development and is mentored, however their courses are considerably more expensive than ours.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
Our head office is based in Berlin, Germany, however we have mentors and students all over the world.
Who is your target audience.
Our target customers are men and women who are looking to make a career change, with their approximate age ranging from 25 to 35. Many of our students already have a university degree but not all. Out target customer is someone who has started out on one career path and realised they are not being challenged in this line of work, cannot make an impact or are struggling to find work or earn enough money. What all of our students have in commons is a desire to kickstart their new career, but may not have the time or money to go through more traditional routes to retrain, or access other tech skills programs which take place offline, typically in large cities.
On the B2B side we are also developing an extensive program in which businesses, such as dt. Post, Axel Springer, Sump and others will hire our services in order to train whole teams in Web Development and UX Design.
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
We engage with our audience through content marketing and social networks. We write extensively on our own blog platform and others offering advice, information and news on every aspect of the technology industry.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
We offer a 3-month course and a 6-month course in Web Development which both cost €1500. We offer a 3-month course and a 6-month course in UX Design which both cost €1500.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
We’re currently raising a seed round of €1Million after an angel round of €350k in Jan. Next year we’re planning a substantial A round. The company is not yet in profit.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
There is not a single vocational education institution that can boast international recognition for the quality of its education services. Especially in the online world, most institutes are rather localised and old school. We want to be that company that customers worldwide can trust for outstanding technical training, as well as global recognition of this training.