By Nancy Dahlberg
Ironhack, the Miami-based tech school with campuses in nine cities worldwide, has now raised $7 million in venture capital. What's ahead?
Ironhack, a Miami-based tech school with nine campuses in the U.S., Europe and Latin America, has raised an additional $4 million investment, led by JME Venture Capital.
For Madrid-based JME Venture Capital, it’s the second Ironhack investment in two years. Additional investors in this round include All Iron Ventures and Brighteye Ventures, and it brings Ironhack’s total funding to $7 million.
Ironhack said it will use the funding to ramp up for further global expansion in 2021, particularly in Latin America, as well as strengthening its product offering and beefing up its leadership team.
Ironhack currently offers 9-week-long full-time courses in Web Development, UX/UI Design and Data Analytics as well as part-time programs in the three areas. It holds its classes at Building.co in Miami, and also has campuses in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Lisbon.
Since 2013, Ironhack has graduated over 3,000 students (about 600 locally). Locally, they are working at companies including CareCloud, Royal Caribbean, Miami Heat, American Express, Visa, Office Depot and Carnival. Its global job placement rate within six months of graduating is 85%, Ironhack said.
So what’s ahead? Co-founder Ariel Quiñones offered the lowdown in an interview with Refresh Miami.
On the product front, Ironhack will also be focusing on helping companies reskill their existing workforce. It’s already started working on this with a retailer in Germany.
“We found an interesting opportunity in how we help our hiring partners not only with junior talent but with retooling and retraining their existing workforces,” said Quiñones. “About 50 percent of the roles out there will be meaningfully transformed in the next couple of years. That trend of how do you reimagine the roles your employees are currently working in and how do you help get them to that next step reinforces our core idea of connecting talent with employers.”
Over the next 12 months, you’ll also see more hiring, particularly in the leadership ranks and based in Miami, he said. Ironhack is currently hiring for a vice president of education. The company currently has 100 full-time employees globally.
Ironhack, founded in 2013 in Spain by two Wharton MBA grads, Quiñones and Gonzalo Manrique. moved its base to Miami in 2015, initially offering bootcamps in Miami, Madrid and Barcelona. But Ironhack has come off a blitz of campus expansions, going from 3 to 9 locations in the last two years, Quiñones said.
“We opened two locations in Latin America – Mexico in early 2018 and Sao Paulo early this year. They are both doing great. We are focused on ramping up those locations this year, but next year I anticipate opening new Latin America markets. Colombia and Chile are on our radar.”
Closer to home, the company announced a $250,000 scholarship program with Facebook in April. Over 100 students in the Miami area benefitted from that scholarship fund. Some of them are in three cohorts now and some will participate in future cohorts.
The response showed a need for more access, Quiñones said.
“A lot of our prospective students don’t have the savings to enroll in our courses or don’t have access to credit. When we do things that alleviate the financial burden for prospective students, we get massive inputs of applications. Facebook scholarships are an example of that. We want to be more flexible to give more people access to a program like Ironhack regardless of their FICO score or their savings in their bank account.”
To that end, Ironhack plans to begin rolling out a new option:
Income-Sharing Agreements (ISAs). Instead of charging a student up front, the company be paid by taking a portion of the student’s salary but only if he or she gets a job through the course. It plans to run its first pilot in Miami for about 20 students later this summer.
Investors are pleased with the company’s progress and plans.
"We have been supporting Ironhack since its first financing round and they have shown impressive execution and managerial skills,” said José María Hernanz of JME Venture Capital. “We are thrilled to participate in this round to continue supporting its vision of how education should be transformed. In addition, we are happy to welcome new partners like Brighteye that bring a lot of experience on the EdTech arena.”
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