Codecademy secures $10 million from Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Richard Branson, Yuri Milner, Union Square Ventures

Zach Sims
Zach Sims

Zach Sims

Codecademy, the simple, free, teach-yourself-coding platform now used by millions worldwide, just secured a fresh $10 million of funding led by Index Ventures, joined by Kleiner Perkins, Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures, and billionaire entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Yuri Milner.

It’s the second round of funding for Codecademy, founded by Zach Sims (pictured) and Ryan Bubinski in August 2011, after a $2.5 million round in November last year led by Union Square Ventures and joined by several others including Yuri Milner.

Sims, 22, currently in London for LeWeb, told VentureVillage Codecademy’s top priority for the next year is to become more international – 50 per cent of Codecademy’s users are already based outside the US. This means new spoken and written languages (including German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese) and more dedicated community building.

“There’s a real opportunity to extend Codecademy to places where there just aren’t computer science teachers,” Sims said.

Codecademy is also looking to add more languages to the current repertoire of Java, HTML and CSS – Ruby and Python among them – and plans to increase the current team of nine to about fifteen (we hear Rails Girls founder Linda Liukas might be among the new hires).

Making money while changing the world for the better

Sims and Bubinski started Codecademy for themeselves after becoming frustrated with existing self-teaching materials. The ultimate vision is now to create something that can be used by everyone, everywhere, and that covers all programming languages.

It’s a vision shared by their investors – Index Venture’s Saul Klein apparently once told Sims he wanted a world for his kids where code was a foreign language as important as Chinese and English for people to learn.

So, with so many big-name investors now on board, will Codecademy be feeling pushed to monetise the platform? According to Sims, there is little pressure to do so for now – the team is still focused on building a “really awesome product” and, while it sounds they’ve got a direction for monetisation in mind, they’re still “keeping options open”.

It’s unlikely, though, that Codecademy will charge for its lessons in the near future. “A lot of the content is created by users so we’re focused on preserving their rights as well.”

It’s clear Sims is in this for the long-term. “I’m hoping that we’ll get to do this forever,” he said. “It’s rare that you get to build something that’s both good for the world and that has a huge impact, and that’s able to make money as well. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

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