Rocket Academy, a Singapore-based EdTech startup that provides online coding courses, has raised S$1.5 million (around US$1.1 million) in pre-seed funding from 50 angel investors and venture capitalists in Southeast Asia.
The round also saw participation from 99.co founder Darius Cheung, Carousell co-founder Marcus Tan, DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang, Payfazz co-founder Hendra Kwik, investment community XA Network, and VC firms Taurus Ventures and Hustle Fund.
The capital raised will be used to grow the company into the leading coding school in Southeast Asia helping to address the current industry-wide shortage in software engineers.
Rocket Academy offers coding bootcamp, interview preparation solutions, project-based learning solutions, instructors, and more. The platform has developed two courses to date, Coding Basics, an introductory course for beginners to learn the basics of coding, and Software Engineering Bootcamp (SEB), which prepares students for a career in software engineering.
Founded in 2020 by Kai Yuan Neo, Rocket Academy holds regular live classes over Zoom for students to clarify concepts with instructors, apply learning in pair exercises, and network with classmates. Classes are online allowing greater flexibility and efficiency, and the course platform allows high levels of engagement between students and teachers.
Responding to the latest move, Kai Yuan Neo, Founder & CEO of Rocket Academy, said,
"There is a mounting global talent shortage of developers around the world. As of December 2020 this amounted to 40 million developers worldwide. By 2030, that is expected to reach 85.2 million. Not only this but companies worldwide risk losing $8.4 trillion in revenue because of the lack of skilled talent. Rocket Academy exists to solve this equation and we are on a mission to scale further and faster. Getting our students good jobs is our top priority. The better jobs our students get, the stronger our alumni network becomes, which enables us to find better jobs for future students."
Neo said the demand for its SEB graduates from businesses has doubled over the past months. He claimed that the company has successfully placed all its SEB graduates and is confident that all its SEB graduates will find coding jobs. He also said that the company will refund students' fees if they still cannot find a job 6 months after their graduation.
In addition to teaching, Rocket Academy helps its SEB graduates find their dream software engineering jobs through resume development, portfolio development, and interview preparation. It leverages its network of companies sourcing for software engineers, makes referrals, and helps set up job interviews for SEB graduates.
The company also works with graduates of its training programs to help them secure jobs. It has built links to a network of businesses recruiting coders, to whom it makes referrals and sets up interviews.
Rocket Academy has ambitions to expand into Hong Kong and Australia in the short term, and across other Southeast Asian markets over time.