Kenzie Academy, an apprenticeship program that develops modern tech workers, today announced it has closed a $4.2 million seed stage investment, led by ReThink Education, which will enable the company to accelerate its ambitious plans to grow tech education and employment opportunities in Middle America. The announcement was made by Chok Leang Ooi, co-founder and CEO, Kenzie Academy Inc.
ReThink Education’s follow-on investment is supplemented by a follow-on investment from Learn Start, a fund affiliated with Learn Capital, as well as new investments from Gratitude Railroad, Kelly Services, and Butler University.
In addition, Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner at ReThink Education, will join the Kenzie Academy Inc. board.
“We know the education market is tough to navigate, and we look for organizations grounded in strong pedagogy with opportunity to scale,” said Greenfield. “Kenzie Academy fits that model perfectly—and we are excited to be joined by other like-minded investors eager to support the upskilling of individuals who can fill the in-demand jobs of today’s economy.”
Kenzie Academy’s college-alternative model combines one year of immersive learning with one year of paid work in Kenzie Studio, the company’s tech consulting subsidiary, providing students real work experience before they graduate. Due to this second seed round investment, Kenzie Academy’s rigorous curriculum – which launched with software engineering courses – will soon expand to include offerings in digital marketing and user experience (UX) design.
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Kenzie Studio will also benefit from the new investment. Kenzie Studio serves companies of all sizes looking for high-quality, cost-effective talent solutions for tech work needs. Kenzie Studio’s senior technologists oversee junior student consultants, delivering mid-to-senior level work product to clients at an efficient price point.
“Companies in Middle America are crying out for creative solutions to meet their tech training, hiring, and development demands,” said Mr. Ooi. “Kenzie is intentionally designed to meet employer needs and serve individuals from very diverse backgrounds through a reimagined, accelerated educational model, which combines foundational education from top industry experts with real-world work experience, better positioning graduates for tech employment success.”
Today’s funding news follows a previous $1.6 million seed raise in November 2017.