Holberton raises $20 million Redpoint eventures-led round: a big part of it towards Latin America says CEO

Holberton has partners in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and Uruguay; it aims to fill the system development professionals gap in the region

Holberton students in Tulsa before the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Courtesy/Holberton
  • The startup has a goal of training one million students around the world by 2030, directly via its Holberton School Network, or indirectly with education institutions and training centers;
  • The startup has partners running in-person and online programs in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay and, Brazil.

US-based Holberton, a software engineering edtech, raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Latin America‘s fund Redpoint eventures with new investor Pearson Ventures and participation by existing investors Daphni, Imaginable Futures, Reach Capital, and Trinity Ventures.

In talks with LABS, Julien Barbier, co-founder, and CEO at Holberton, said that a big portion of this round will go towards growing Holberton’s footprint in Latin America and helping its partners in the region to deliver the best education possible, at scale.

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“Today, most of our students and partners are in Latin America, and the region is a big focus for Holberton. Obviously, Brazil is a key market, and we have just started there with Pearson Brazil,” he said.

Julien Barbier, CEO and co-founder at Holberton. Photo: Courtesy/Holberton

Manoel Lemos, a managing partner at Redpoint eventures, told LABS that despite being born in Silicon Valley, the problem that Holberton solves is universal: the training of technology professionals at scale. “We follow this pain closely in all companies in our portfolio, in fact, in all types of companies and segments, in Brazil and Latin America,” he said.

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According to Lemos, Holberton already has a very strong presence in Latin America and has just announced its first movement into Brazil. So, the decision to invest in it came due to the impact of a solution like theirs for the region – such as “the size of the demand to be met, which continues to grow – what they created in terms of technology and methodologies and the quality of the team.”

Manoel Lemos, managing partner at Redpoint eventures. Photo: Courtesy/Redpoint eventures

What does Holberton do?

Founded in 2015 as a coding school, Holberton pivoted to be an edtech and has been providing education to thousands of students around the world, training for tech jobs as high-paying ones at big techs such as Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, and Tesla.

Building on its success with Holberton Schools, the edtech today provides a portfolio of programs and tools that customers can pick and choose among to make their teachers and students successful. It includes a complete off-the-shelf franchise model, as well as tailored curricula, auto-graded projects, tools, and methods.

Today, the firm’s customers include Holberton School franchise campuses, education providers like Pearson, and universities like Honoris United Universities.

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The startup has a goal of training one million students around the world by 2030, directly via its Holberton School Network, or indirectly with education institutions and training centers.

Holberton has created a new concept that it calls the “OS of Education”, where customers choose what they want or need to fulfill their education, beyond software engineer training.

“The potential for Latam is enormous. The demand for system development professionals continues to grow. We are talking about a few hundred thousand positions to be filled in the coming years,” added Lemos. “Holberton brings a true Operating System for Education, which gives a lot of scale and quality to anyone who is investing in training these professionals, besides the social impact that this type of training can have on students’ lives.”

Worldwide, the new funding will speed up the startup’s global expansion of its network of 18 campuses and the delivery of the OS of Education to universities and training centers.

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Holberton’s partnerships in Latin America

In Latin America, Holberton has partners in Colombia, the first country where it started to operate in the region. There, the firm has four schools using its tools, and Rappi is a big hiring partner, according to Barbier.

“The success there is so big that even the government knows about us and we even met with Colombia’s President Ivan Duque and the first lady when they came to San Francisco.”

Holberton’s CEO Julien Barbier and Colombia’s President Ivan Duque. Photo: Twitter/Julien Barbier

The startup also has partners running in-person and online programs in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay and, Brazil, where Pearson just announced scholarships). “More partnerships from more countries are about to be announced,” said Barbier.

READ ALSO: Brazil still has a large number of unemployed, but more people are looking for a job again

Latin America is a very different market and culture than the US. Inside LATAM, each country has its market, business, and cultural specificities. Fortunately, we work with local partners who know their market best.

julien barbier, ceo and co-founder at holberton

As Holberton helps its partners with software and tools and programs it has developed over the years, localization is key. “Because every market and culture is different, we tailor tools, methodologies, and programs based on their feedback and requests.”

According to Barbier, one of the things that had struck the firm since it started working with partners and their students in the region is the mindset of Latin American students. “They are driven, with a lot of will, working very hard all the time, and learning so fast as a result. It’s incredible to see this new generation, you can see the potential for LATAM to build an incredible future thanks to this generation. I can’t wait to see what they are going to create.”

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