SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Make School today announced $15 million in Series B funding led by venture capital pioneer Venrock, an early-stage investor in Apple and Intel.
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The college's unique bachelor's degree program, which is approved by the same accreditors as Stanford and Berkeley, was developed in partnership with Silicon Valley employers, including Lyft and LinkedIn.
"Make School graduates bring a powerful combination of not just tech skills, but soft skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving that are typical in top graduates of traditional colleges and universities," said Hannah Wolf of Spotify. "By eliminating the false choice between in-demand skills and the lifetime value of a degree, Make School's model has big potential to address diversity gaps in tech by making higher education work for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds."
Although just 15 percent of computer science graduates nationwide are black or Latino, nearly half of Make School's student population are underrepresented minority students. Over the last five years, Make School graduates have gone on to work with top tech employers including Google and Apple.
"Make School is tackling the three big issues in higher education: cost, relevance, and equity," said Tom Willerer, Partner at Venrock, who previously served as Chief Product Officer at Coursera and VP of Product at Netflix. "It's obliterating the historic distinction between in-demand technical skills and the value of a degree. By de-risking a student's investment in a rigorous, computer science education, they're also expanding access in ways that have profound potential to close equity gaps for tech employers."
Founded in 2014, Make School's unique pay-for-performance model only requires students to make tuition payments if their income exceeds $60,000 after graduation. Because it can be completed in as little as two years, the degree program is designed to create a more direct connection between education and employment for high school graduates.
With the new investment, which brings its total funding to $30 million, Make School plans to scale to serve thousands of students in San Francisco and prepare for the launch of a New York City campus. The college also plans to add new degree programs in computing-influenced STEM fields that are in increasing demand from high-growth employers, such as computational biology.
"We're rethinking what it means to be an elite institution -- rooted in the progressive value system that inspires the diverse community of learners and makers we serve," said Ashu Desai, co-founder of Make School. "To realize that vision, we've designed an inclusive admissions process eschewing SAT scores and traditional metrics, we've ensured every student can afford to attend, and we've built an education that has enabled our students to outcompete their peers at schools like Stanford and Berkeley for careers at top tech companies."
ABOUT MAKE SCHOOL
Make School is redesigning college for the 21st century. Each year, our graduates launch careers in tech at leading employers including Google, Apple, and Tesla. Together, we're making higher education work for today's students by building faster, more affordable pathways to a degree for students of all backgrounds. Make School is in an incubation partnership with the Dominican University of California for WASC accreditation. Make School was founded in 2012 and is funded by Learn Capital, Y Combinator, Kapor Capital, Fresco Capital, Tim Draper, and Alexis Ohanian. For more, visit makeschool.com.