Treehouse raises $7M from Kaplan for tech education

The site's 26,000 students are learning everything from Web design to Ruby on Rails coding

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
April 9, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2e9c

Technology is upending education as we know it, but one of the key ways students are benefitting is through accessibility. Pure and simple, the Web makes it possible to learn from the comfort of your own kitchen table. This is particularly good news for those areas that aren’t commonly taught in school, like Web design and app development. For that, there’s Treehouse, an online learning site for anyone looking to gain technology skills that are becoming increasingly crucial to the new economy. The company announced Tuesday that it has raised $7 million in a Series B round led by Kaplan Ventures, with help from The Social+Capital Partnership. 

The site currently offers over 650 videos created by its own full-time teaching staff on subjects ranging from Ruby on Rails and PHP coding, Web development, and Web design, to iOS development, Android development, and how to start a business. The company has some 26,000 students who pay a monthly subscription fee to access the materials. And while many online education sites curate videos created by teachers from around the Web, Treehouse videos are created by Treehouse’s full-time in-house teaching staff.

Prior to starting Treehouse, CEO Ryan Carson headed a company called Carsonified, which produced events like “Future of Web Apps” and “Future of Web Design.”

“At those conferences people would tell me that they wished the learning and great experience could continue online,” said Carson, who added that his team built Treehouse to make it easier for people to learn and update their tech skills, “and to welcome new people into our industry by teaching them the basics.”

As students progress through the courses, they can earn badges that accumulate into a sort of portfolio that can be seen by recruiters and potential employers. The skills gained through the site are considered acceptable by major companies such as Twitter, Airbnb, Square, Disney, Aol, and Zappos, among others.

"Treehouse is already the biggest computer science school in the world and has the potential to be one of the most important," said The Social+Capital Partnership's Chamath Palihapitiya, in a statement. "They're creating an education model that massively reduces debt, increases job readiness and drives value in today's economy. This is exactly what America needs right now."

Ryan Carson says that the company plans to use the new capital to grow its student user base, add to its curriculum, and hire additional team members, including designers, developers, and video staff. 


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