The gap between the growing demand in the market for technology professionals and the contingent of skilled labor available in Brazil – the area will demand about 420,000 professionals by 2024, but the country trains only 46,000 people a year, according to a report by the Association of Information Technology and Communication Companies (Brasscom) -, motivated the founding of Driven, an edtech startup specialized in training for the IT area.
Founded only eight months ago, the startup raised a Seed round of BRL 16 million led by venture capital manager Iporanga Ventures and followed by ONEVC, FundersClub and 3G Radar funds, in addition to angel investors such as Patrick Sigrist (iFood), Sergio Furio (Creditas) and Brian Requarth (VivaReal). They joined current partners Arpex Capital (Stone), Daniel Castanho (Ânima) and Pedro Thompson (Exame).
Driven argues that besides the deficit of professionals, junior programmers who recently graduated do not have the autonomy required by companies. Driven proposes to accelerate the formation of what it calls “future technology leaders” by selecting people who already have resilience and a solid background in problem-solving. The program primarily seeks university students or graduates from the exact areas in the country’s leading colleges.
“We saw that by selecting people who have good logical reasoning and putting them through intensive training, we were able to develop a professional who can become a tech lead in one to two years,” says Paulo Monteiro, one of the cofounders of Driven, together with Michel Nigri and Pedro Barros.
According to Driven’s business model, called ISA (Income Share Agreement), instead of paying for the course normally, with monthly fees that can reach BRL 2,000, the Driven student only pays for the course when he is employed, with 17% of his salary until he reaches the value of the training.
Also because of this, explains Monteiro, the selection process is very competitive. The first class had 20,000 applicants, of which only 140 became students, and of these, 75 have already completed the course. According to Monteiro, 100% of the graduates already hold positions as digital engineers and developers.
Driven has partnerships with more than 40 companies with a strong technological base, such as iFood, Stone, Itaú, and Loggi, among others. “Regularly, executives from these companies are called for talks with the students, and often open job positions for Driven students,” says Monteiro.
The Seed round will be invested in expanding the team and structuring a training program that can be scaled to more students.
The courses last from six to nine months. Most of the course load, 70%, is geared towards the development of technology projects validated with partner companies. The students also have classes on the fundamentals of computing, algorithms, and data structure, and classes focused on the so-called soft skills, with training in communication, time management, career mentoring, and technical tutoring.