Seattle-based coding education startup Educative on Wednesday announced it has raised a $2.3 million seed round to help it further develop its professional learning platform, one designed to keep software developers up-to-date on programming languages.
The company says the round, led by Trilogy Equity Partners, also includes participation by SK Ventures and other angel investors. Educative was founded by Fahim ul Haq and Naeem Ul Haq, software engineers from Facebook and Microsoft, and its platform launched in March 2016. The company said total funding to date is $2.6 million, including the seed round.
Educative took part in the Techstars Seattle startup accelerator and had been bootstrapped as it built its way to $500,000 in revenue last year. At Techstars Seattle Demo Day in April, Yuval Neeman, a partner at Trilogy and a former Microsoft executive, announced on stage that his firm would lead the seed round. Educative now says it’s more than doubled its 2017 revenue.
The company says its secret sauce is that its interactive learning platform was built from the ground up to allow both professional and aspiring software developers to practice programming as they are learning the techniques. This means students don’t have to configure and switch to a developer environment after watching videos or using another instructional approach. Educative says it’s integrated a preconfigured virtual machine and complete development environment in the browser for working on exercises and coding challenges.
“All of the courses featured on the Educative site are designed to be fully interactive, embracing the notion that software developers learn best by doing and continuous feedback,” said Fahim ul Haq in a statement. “Our platform also makes it easy for authors to create and publish their courses, providing them with an opportunity to share their expertise and generate revenue.”
Ul Haq said the ability for Educative to provide a programming course marketplace is key to its vision, with 70 percent of revenue from approved courses going to that course’s author. “We have created some courses on our own, but that’s not the primary model,” ul Haq told GeekWire.
Currently, the company said it hosts close to 50 coding courses, including Java, Python, and React. “We are now launching one course per week, and we will soon go to two courses per week,” ul Haq said.
Also in the plans is an adaptive learning feature that the company expects to add to its custom-built platform in 2019, “adapting the courses to match the ability of the learner.”
“We are also ramping up our operations,” ul Haq said. “We are now a team globally of 24 people.” With five staff in Seattle and 19 in Lahore, Pakistan, the company is still hiring. “By the end of the year will be 30-35 in total,” he said.
Educative says more than 65,000 users from over 90 countries have registered on its platform since it launched, and more than 23,000 individual courses have been purchased.
While individuals have been a primary focus of Educative so far, ul Haq said the new funding will allow them to expand their efforts to sell to enterprises. He said, ultimately, its platform is for all developers who need to keep their skills current, as a kind of coding continuing education.
“Most of our developers are professional developers, already in jobs,” he said.