San Francisco – Monday, July 1, 2019 – SV Academy, the first tuition-free, online vocational school that guarantees non-coders access to high-growth sales careers, today announced a $9.5 million Series A led by Owl Ventures with participation from Bloomberg Beta, Kapor Capital, Rethink Education, Strada Education Network, and Uprising. This funding will be used to expand the number of student seats with the goal of helping more people across the country land high-paying tech jobs without having to learn how to code. This will allow the company to meet the demand from employer partners who are on a waiting list to hire SV Academy’s pool of qualified and diverse graduates.
SV Academy enrolls students in a 12-week, tuition-free business development training program that teaches human-centered skills to place them in sales roles at eminent tech companies. The part-time, fully online program requires 20-25 hours a week and links students with mentors at Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others. 100% of SV Academy’s graduates receive a full-time job offer with a median starting package of $79,000 plus benefits and often equity, access to a vast network of industry connections who can help secure future job opportunities and close deals, and ongoing training and mentorship for a year post-graduation.
“I grew up in government housing and never earned an undergraduate degree,” said Rahim Fazal, CEO and Co-founder of SV Academy. “All bets were against me from the get-go. The only reason I am where I am today is because someone in my life believed in me. We want to do that for a million people in the next ten years.”
The Non-Coding Way to Make it in America
Rahim Fazal and COO Joel Scott co-founded SV Academy in 2017 to help underrepresented communities, including women and people of color, break into the tech industry. It provides access to business development and sales careers at more than 150 top technology companies, including publicly traded companies like PayPal, SurveyMonkey, Palo Alto Networks, Pure Storage, Yext and others. To date, SV Academy has already generated over $20 million in full-time starting offers for its students, consisting of 40% African Americans or Latinx, 60% women, and 70% first-generation college graduates. In addition, 70% of graduates are promoted within the first year, with all demographic groups advancing at the same rate. The company has grown 30x in the last two years and is on track to generate $100 million in full-time offers over the next twelve months.
“In my 20 years of scaling SaaS companies, I’ve seen first-hand how the hiring systems we build restrict access to non-traditional talent,” said Joel Scott, Co-founder and COO of SV Academy. “Making real change is hard, and it doesn’t happen without a lot of intentionality and effort from both employers and job seekers. By expanding our capacity for motivated students, we can give even more underrepresented groups access to high-growth careers, and make a real impact on Silicon Valley’s diversity problem.”
Watch this video to meet some of SV Academy’s graduates and employers: https://www.sv.academy/our-employers-and-graduates
“SV Academy opened up doors I never knew existed,” said Sasha Green, an SV Academy graduate. “A few years ago, I graduated from an MBA program costing thousands of dollars out of pocket and couldn’t land a job anywhere. SV Academy turned my world around. Through the fellowship, I received a mentor from Google, job placement at Experity and access to a network of thousands of tech leaders. SV Academy was a launchpad for my career; my experience took me from sales to customer success, and now I have come full circle, returning to the company as a member of the admissions team.”
Although there’s a common misconception that you have to learn to code to have a successful career in tech, most people aren’t interested in coding — only 3.14% of the nearly 1.9 million American college graduates major in computer science. Additionally, as coding jobs become increasingly automated by artificial intelligence, SV Academy knows employers will look to fill more roles requiring human-centered skills. That’s why the company created an alternative path for those who want to work in tech but don’t want to code.
“We are always on the lookout for companies solving education problems head-on,” said Amit Patel, Managing Director at Owl Ventures. “With SV Academy, we saw a great opportunity to partner with an organization changing the online education landscape. By focusing on human-skills like problem-solving and efficient communication, SV Academy equips graduates with expertise impossible to replicate with computers.”
In addition to the funding, Tabreez Verjee, Co-founder of Uprising will be joining SV Academy’s Board of Directors as a board observer.
“We invest in deeply mission-driven startups that are transforming the systems and culture in the industries that they touch, like Lyft, Devoted Health, and the Long Term Stock Exchange,” said Tabreez Verjee, Co-founder and Partner at Uprising. “The SV Academy team is redefining many dimensions of how people jumpstart their careers, and we’re grateful and excited to be on this journey with them.”
To begin your career in tech, visit sv.academy
About SV Academy
Founded in 2017, SV Academy is the non-coding way to make it in America. Through a tuition-free, online 12-week fellowship program, SV Academy offers under-resourced, underrepresented communities access to sales and business development careers in the tech industry. The company provides mentorship, job placement assistance, and post-hire support such as alumni networking events and coaching, with 70% of its graduates promoted in the first year. The company is backed by leading venture capitalists including Owl Ventures, Uprising, Bloomberg Beta, and Kapor Capital. To learn more, visit sv.academy.