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Updated: Much-vaunted New York teaching startup Codecademy is taking on a new round of funding, adding Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins as investors — and raising $10 million to help it expand globally.
It’s fair to say that the site, which provides game-like online courses to teach people how to code, has had a blockbuster year so far. It’s spent 2012 seeing enormous growth, adding new marketplace features, and gaining a legion of fans, including New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
But even though the site has seen a breathless rise to prominence, the money isn’t just being used to keep the servers spinning while demand grows: it’s got ambitions too.
Ahead of an on-stage interview with me at LeWeb London on Tuesday, co-founder Zach Sims told me that the new funds “give us the ability to go international” — something useful given that 50 percent of the company’s user base already comes from outside the U.S.
And in a post on the company’s blog, he explains his belief that the latest investors are well-placed to help it achieve that expansion.
“A few weeks after we launched Code Year, we met Neil Rimer and Saul Klein of Index Ventures. Saul told us, about the world he wanted for his kids – one where code was a foreign language as important as Chinese and English for people to learn. Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins visited our office around the same time and painted a picture of a few industries that needed to be shaken up – education chief among them.”
“It became clear that we needed partners who both understood the importance of a global company… and the process of scaling a company far beyond the nine people we have grown to now.”
It’s actually the first investment from Index’s new €350 million early stage fund, but still, it’s only eight months since the business announced its last round of funding, a $2.5 million round from investors including Union Square Ventures, Ron Conway’s SV Angel and Michael Arrington’s Crunchfund.
This time round Union Square is following up, with Index’s Saul Klein leading the round and KPCB’s Mary Meeker joining in too.
So what do they see in it?
Index’s Klein told me that he was excited by Codecademy for many reasons, but not least because “it’s not a content-needy educational publisher” but “a marketplace for students and teachers.”
He also pointed out that with a global depression, it made sense to back a company that gives people the chance to learn new skills and potentially find jobs that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access.
That seems a proposition that is not just popular with VCs but also a magnet for billionaire tycoons: not only did Bloomberg express his support for the site, but investors include Russian Yuri Milner (who adds to his previous investment) and Virgin founder Richard Branson.
Here’s my chat with Zach Simms at LeWeb:
Photograph of Codecademy founders Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski used under Creative Commons license courtesy of Hack NY