The Flatiron School announced this morning that it closed a $5.5 million funding round, led by Charles River Ventures (CRV) and Matrix Partners. Additional investments came from Box Group and other angel investors.
The money will allow the school — which offers intensive twelve-week courses in web and iOS development — to really focus on improving the quality of education it offers its students.
“Where most companies take capital to grow, we took it to slow down and make sure we could really get the product right,” Flatiron dean Avi Flombaum told Betabeat. “We can continue our interesting classes, and focus on quality and experience of education — and not just stamping out into other cities and homogenizing our brand.”
The idea of “slowing down” was something investors at CRV understood, Mr. Flombaum said. They were also already fans of Flatiron president Adam Enbar, who used to work at CRV.
“[Adam]’s had a very good relationship with them for a long time,” Mr. Flombaum explained. “They really believe in our vision of not incrementally improving education, but reinventing it from the ground up. They were interested in giving us money to slow down – not to increase enrollment and compromise quality of education.”
Specifically, Mr. Flombaum said they’ll use the money to “invest really heavily in teacher training, [work on] developing internal software, deliver content to students more effectively, [and] measure the quality of [their] labs.” He also said the school will start offering a more diverse array of courses beyond the current web and iOS programs.
“Ultimately our vision is really to create a super high-end vocational school,” Mr. Flombaum said. “You have Ivy Leagues, then great private schools, then great state schools… then community colleges, city colleges, and underneath there you have vocational schools. We want to create a high end vocational school for great careers. We think theres a new breed of hybrid blue-collar/white-collar jobs. They’re growing super fast. But there’s no vocational school that’s teaching those in a quick manner.”
Jon Auerbach, general partner at CRV, feels that the Flatiron School is aptly preparing students to find jobs in the tech industry.
“Our nation’s educational system has simply not kept pace with our economy’s intense and growing demand for top engineering talent,” he said in a press release. “It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs have taken the reins to reshape computer science education in the U.S. The Flatiron School is driving technical training into the 21st century with a model fiercely focused on quality that meets employers’ needs.”