• 2018/10/2

be absorbing most students

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  Instructors on the school’s staff include former teaching staff from Ivy League institutions such as Stanford and Berkeley. But the program is structured to scale its top teaching expertise across hundreds of students simultaneously, delivered via one-to-many lectures, using additional instructors to oversee individual classes and group work (each cohort is broken down into groups of around 20). Allred says this is how it’s able to afford top tier instructors.

  But given the school is likely to be absorbing most students’ tuition fees up front, there’s a clear need for it to raise enough capital to sustain itself and the program — i.e. until students are in a position to be able to start paying back its investment in their “untapped potential”.

  On the funding front, Allred says the longer term plan is to raise its own fund to sustain the marketplace they’re aiming to build. Though initially they do intend to raise some VC, around demo day, so they can get on with building out course content.

  “We have a lot of interest in purchasing the income share agreements at the point of graduation, from investment funds and that kind of thing,” he notes. “So there are a variety of different ways that we could fund the company.

  “Eventually we’ll be raising an investment fund specifically for investing in our students the same way any other investment fund would exist to — for example — to fund student loans. So we’ll be raising some equity, a fund to be clear, but that’s still a long way away.”

  “A lot of what we’re interested in long term is figuring out how we can get outside money to funnel into these underrepresented groups that don’t have any other options,” he adds. “Right now there’s very little incentive — there’s just not a marketplace in which you can invest in those folks.

  “We can show that we can take somebody from making $20k per year to making $80k per year, so that’s a valuable model not only to the students, but also to society and to all sorts of other things. So there should be a market around making that possible but there isn’t one currently. And so we’re going to create that.”

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