As edtech churns out more copies of masterclasses and coding bootcamps, it’s becoming increasingly clear that students need better ways to navigate the cluttered world of online learning.
career karmafounded in 2018 by Ruben Harris, Arthur Meyster and Timour Meyster, wants to help. The startup brings a game of picks and shovels to the coding bootcamp world: instead of creating its own development program, the startup lets students find the best bootcamps for their price and career goals.
Simply put: Career Karma does not compete with Lambda School, but rather serves as a funnel student matchmaker for Lambda School and other boot camps.
Because as distance education drags on, students are unsubscribing from school held on videoconferencing software and opting for alternative programs. General Assembly, for example, saw enrollment in immersive career-changing programs increase by 20% in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019, as well as a 330% growth in live online courses between the second quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020.
Harris sees the move to near-term accreditation as good news for the startup, since its customer base — coding bootcamps — is enjoying a tailwind. Despite early COVID-19 layoffs, Lambda School has raised $74 million. Coursera, a massive provider of open online courses, has raised $130 million for its short-term accreditation product. Other Henry and Strive School bootcamps have launched and successfully raised seed towers.
The next iteration of Career Karma will aim to become a “basic habit that people use every day”. The roots are already in motion: Career Karma has evolved from a matching tool to a global service over the past year.
Once a student enters a coding school, Career Karma places coders in small peer-mentoring groups, called Squads, to provide support to students during the program and in the job search process. . Instead of acting as a teacher, he wants to be the upper class students helping younger students understand the right resources and pathways to follow.
Career Karma works in one of the blind spots of coding bootcamps. A common criticism of coding bootcamps is that while they help students get their first job, the degree may not do as well as a degree in future career mobility. To offset this dynamic, coding bootcamps may invest in alumni programs or community features, such as Career Karma, to bolster their pipeline.
Currently, Career Karma only makes money one way: it charges bootcamps a fee when it successfully places a student in one of their programs. The fee is typically 10% of a placed student’s tuition, which can range from $10,000 to $50,000, Harris says. It should be noted that a school pays Career Karma upfront, regardless of which funding option the student chooses, by taking money from its marketing or admissions budgets.
The biggest hurdle for Career Karma was stress-testing early in the pandemic: Because the startup is so heavily dependent on coding bootcamps running smoothly, what happens to coding bootcamps in a market bearish? When unemployment was high, coding bootcamps were under threat because it took away their ability to successfully place graduates in jobs.
“It affected us,” Harris said. “But now everyone is back to building their workforce quickly,” given the nature of venture capital-backed startups. Career Karma clients have placed coders in jobs at Stitch Fix, Tesla and Gemini.
Despite only having one way to monetize, Career Karma has been profitable for the past five months and has grown revenue by 20% per month. Although Harris declined to divulge specific numbers, he said that over the past year, Career Karma has placed more than 3,000 people in job training programs. If I do my math correctly, that means Career Karma could have brought in between $3 million and $15 million in revenue this year alone.
“Once we create a platform where workers regularly receive career advice to advance their careers, whatever skill set they want,” he said, “we’re in able to charge more”.
Today marks Career Karma’s next big growth spurt. The startup announced it raised a $10 million Series A round, led by Initialized Capital.
Kim-Mai Cutler of Initialized Capital, who previously worked at TechCrunch, said she doesn’t view Career Karma solely as a matter of bootcamps.
“It’s been clear and obvious for some time that people will need lifelong learning to retrain and retrain throughout their careers and the mainstream education system hasn’t supported that,” she said. declared. The company’s Garry Tan told Harris how to get into Y Combinator, so when it came time to lift the Series A round, the collaboration made sense.
Other investors in the funding include Jack Altman of Lattice, Jewel Burks of Collab Capital and Amira Yahyaoui of Moz.
“Now we can not only be a player that matches people with bootcamps, but also with trade schools, colleges, universities, and really build a community that goes beyond just a matching platform. “Harris told TechCrunch.