December 9

Press Release: Henry Closes Us $1.5 Million Seed Round Led by Accion Venture Lab to Provide Technical Education to Students in Latin America

Henry (YCombinator company) is an online computer science school that trains software developers at zero upfront cost, announced that it has raised US $1.5 million in seed funding in a round led by Accion Venture Lab. Emles Venture Partners, Noveus VC, well-known edtech angels investors and tech-entrepreneurs from Latin America also participated in the round.

Henry aims to broaden access to high-quality technical education and improve long-term earning potential in Latin America, where extreme income inequality, high unemployment, and a skilled worker shortage have created a dire need for such efforts. Only 14% of the population has access to higher education. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unemployment in the region to rise from 8.1% pre-pandemic to 12.3% in July 2020, further widening the income gap and providing significant barriers to education. Henry estimates that there are more than 1 million software engineering job openings in Latin America, but less than 100,000 professionals with the training necessary to fill those roles.

Henry offers virtual coding courses to students in Latin America in exchange for graduates’ future income, also known as an income-sharing agreement (ISA). Once a student completes the coursework, Henry helps them get placed in a technology career. There are no upfront costs to the course, and students only start making payments once they get a job after graduating.

“Henry was founded to challenge the status quo of education in Latin America by giving access to high quality tech education to anyone who’s willing to participate” said Martin Borchardt, CEO and Founder of Henry. “Our model aims to close the inequality gap in the region, by allowing anyone to have a career in software development no matter their location, gender, or background. Bringing onboard strategic partners will allow us to scale our business and keep on delivering our impactful mission in Latin America.”

Since its launch in March 2020, Henry has enrolled more than 800 students, and Henry graduates earn on average more than three times more than their previous incomes. Once graduates are employed, they are only charged 15% of their salary for two years, with a maximum total of US $4,000. Henry’s innovative and responsible approach to the ISA model has a lower impact on graduates’ salaries compared to similar offerings, and eliminates the potential for students to incur debt from the program.

“Henry’s role in providing affordable financing for high quality technical education can help address the multifaceted challenges of persistent income inequality, high unemployment, and a skilled worker shortage facing both students and employers in Latin America,” said Michael Schlein, CEO and President of Accion.

“Henry is emblematic of what Accion Venture Lab sees as the next phase of inclusive fintech – startups that are thoughtfully and responsibly embedding financial services into their product offerings that address a real societal need,” said Vikas Raj, Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab.

“We invested in Henry because the team is talented and mission-driven,” said Tim Brady, YC Group Partner. “Given the large unmet demand for software engineers, creating a school in Latin America to develop those engineers is a big opportunity, and this is the team to succeed.”

“Emles Venture Partners is proud to invest in Henry. We are dedicated to empowering companies that will positively change society – and Henry’s mission of providing high quality technology education in an emerging region is exactly what we look for in a partner.” said Emanuel Zareh, senior Vice President, Emles venture partners.

Henry’s completely remote courses allows students to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic, and graduates have been able to secure remote employment at leading tech companies across Latin America and the US. The virtual model has also allowed Henry to expand beyond its headquarters in Argentina to Latin America Henry currently offers a four-month full stack developer career program, which covers fundamental coding tools such as Javascript and front and back-end development, and gives students experience solving coding problems for real companies. The course is completely online but is interactive with classes occurring live, instead of pre-recorded and self-paced.

In early 2020, Henry raised an angel round from investors including Y Combinator, the world’s largest accelerator that invested in Rappi and Airbnb, and Tim Draper, who has invested in SpaceX, Skype and Tesla.

Photo courtesy of Danial RiCaRoS.

Source: Accion (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, startups