A $4.2 million investment round has tech training school Kenzie Academy Inc. gearing up for growth. The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco and has its first campus in Indianapolis, is looking to expand its learning tracks and, eventually, its number of campuses. Co-founder Chok Ooi says Kenzie Academy oversubscribed on its second seed stage of funding and actually had to ask some investors to dial down their backing. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Ooi said the investors’ eagerness demonstrates the high demand for the academy’s offerings.
"The funding really shows that there’s a lot of enthusiasm for supporting technical apprenticeship programs like this," he said, "but also a lot of appetite to building up schools like this and building up these kinds of opportunities here in Indianapolis and in the Midwest." Between the latest infusion and its initial seed round, Kenzie Academy has secured $5.8 million in investment in less than a year.
Ooi says the funding will help "rapidly expand" the roll-out of new programs, including new user experience design and digital marketing pathways in September and October, respectively. The academy’s first class is halfway through the immersive learning portion of training and on the way to working as apprentices for the company’s Kenzie Academy, a consulting arm that Ooi says will partner with companies in the Silicon Valley, East Coast and Indiana.
In a news release that detailed investors led by New York-based ReThing Education and supported by Butler University, Learn Start, Gratitude Railroad and Kelly Services, Ooi added "companies in Middle America are crying out for creative solutions to meet their tech training, hiring, and development demands. Kenzie is intentionally designed to meet employer needs and serve individuals from very diverse backgrounds through a re-imagined, accelerated educational model, which combines foundational education from top industry experts with real-world work experience, better positioning graduates for tech employment success."
A spokeswoman says specific locations for potential new campuses have not yet been announced, but Kenzie Academies is "definitely looking at expanding."