Rocket Academy, a Singapore-based startup providing online coding courses, announced today it has received S$1.5 million (~US$1.1 million) in pre-seed funding from a slew of angel investors and VCs.

The list of investors includes Darius Cheung of, Marcus Tan of Carousell, Stanley Tang of DoorDash, former Singapore Ambassador to the UN Kishore Mahbubani, XA Network, and VC firms Taurus Ventures and Hustle Fund.

The startup will use the money to strengthen its flagship courses’ curriculums in coding and software engineering and boost the student experience on its learning platform. A portion will go into market expansion, specifically in Hong Kong, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

Founded and managed by Neo Kai Yuan, an alumnus of Stanford University, Alibaba and Facebook, Rocket Academy came to life in 2019 as an online coding school to address the mounting industry-wide shortage of software engineers.

According to the company’s founder, Rocket’s speciality training courses are designed to be longer and more comprehensive than traditional coding boot camps, yet shorter, more practical and affordable than university courses. 

Rocket Academy offers two courses: Coding Basics (an introductory course for beginners to learn the basics of coding) and Software Engineering Bootcamp (which prepares students for a career in software engineering).

Given the pandemic-induced social distancing measures, many companies build and maintain digital products to reach their homebound customers. This accelerates the global demand for skilled software engineers.

“The world is undergoing a massive transformation to a globally –accessible workforce. Rocket Academy is at the heart of the action, arming talent with the skills (both hard and soft) to compete and thrive,” said Shiyan Koh, managing partner at Hustle Fund, one of the investors in this pre-seed round.

Also read: Edutech is opening up opportunities, but we need to get it right

Rocket Academy leverages a pre-recorded online model to provide courses that allow greater flexibility and efficiency for students to review and complete at their own pace. The company claims it achieves high levels of engagement between students and teachers on its learning platform. 

One of Rocket’s regular activities is the live classes over Zoom for students to clarify concepts with instructors, apply learning in pair exercises and network with classmates.

“We are regularly in touch with businesses to understand technical skills that software engineers need. This allows us to refine our curriculum to make it relevant and appropriate for students looking for rewarding software engineering careers,” added Kai Yuan.

Besides teaching, Rocket Academy also connects its alumni to software engineering jobs through resume development, portfolio development, referrals, and interview preparation and setup.

The company boasts of 100 per cent success rate in placing its graduates in software engineering jobs within companies and organisations such as, Xfers, Glints, GovTech, and GoTrade.

“Over the past months, the demand for our SEB graduates from businesses has doubled,” said Neo Kai Yuan. “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.

According to US Labor statistics, as of December 2020, the global talent shortage amounted to 40 million developers worldwide and is expected to reach 85.2 million by 2030. Companies worldwide risk losing US$8.4 trillion in revenue because of this lack of skilled talent, opening up room for innovative solutions in both edutech and human resource (HR) tech.

The global market of HR tech is set to hit US$35.68 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.8 per cent in the forecast period, as per Fortune Business Insights’s report

Meanwhile, the global edutech market size was valued at US$89.49 billion in 2020. It’s expected to witness a CAGR of 19.9 per cent from 2021 to 2028.

Image credit: Rocket Academy

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