master’s schoolDescribing itself as a “network of technical vocational training schools,” announced today that it has raised a $100 million seed round (yes, that’s right — a $100 million seed round). The round was led by Group 11, with participation from Target Global, Pitango Ventures, Dynamic Loop Capital, Sir Ronald Cohen and a number of other strategic investors. The company declined to disclose its current valuation.
Like some of its competitors, Masters School students pay no tuition for the six to 12 months it takes to complete the program. After that, they pay back their tuition, which is usually somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 by giving 10% of their monthly income to the company. That’s a pretty standard model for coding schools. A twist here is that Masterschool also partners with a number of companies that pay the tuition fees for the students they hire themselves.
“Although our students don’t pay tuition, they invest a huge amount of time to build a new career. They trust us to deliver the best training with the best results,” said Otni Levi, co-founder and co-CEO of Masterschool. “Breaking this trust and not delivering on our promises is the biggest risk for us. This is what keeps us up at night and what motivates us.”
As Masters co-founder and co-CEO Miachel Shurp told me, he and Levi launched and started the company three years ago. It has since become a profitable venture, but the team now decided to raise money. “We chose to only raise money when we knew it was time to scale so we could grow the business and fulfill our mission,” he said. In addition, Levi noted that the team was looking for the right investors who would fit in with the company’s long-term mission “to ensure that everyone can build an inspiring career”.
The team argues that what sets Masterschool apart from some of its competitors is that it is a network of schools. So instead of enrolling in a traditional class, they choose a school, usually led by an experienced practitioner, and then follow that school’s program. The programs themselves are 100% online, and the team tells me that students should spend between 25 and 40 hours a week on live lectures, assignments, one-on-one sessions, classroom meetings, and more.
“There are currently over 1 million open IT jobs in the US alone. Each school and bootcamp to address this shortage plays an important role,” said Shurp. “That said, we need many more schools to fill this gap. That’s true master’s school comes into play. We are building a network of vocational schools and empowering industry leaders to build and run their schools on our platform. In the coming years, we will be launching thousands of vocational schools, enabling millions of students to build the careers they want.”