Trilogy Raises $50M to Bring Bootcamps to Universities Around the Globe

Digital Learning

Trilogy Raises $50M to Bring Bootcamps to Universities Around the Globe

By Sydney Johnson     May 31, 2018

Trilogy Raises $50M to Bring Bootcamps to Universities Around the Globe

After a series of bootcamp closures last year, including Dev Bootcamp and the Iron Yard, some insist that the coding bootcamp industry is in a downturn phase.

But one continuing-education provider, Trilogy Education, is taking a different approach by offering short-term coding and other tech-skills training programs directly to universities. And they’re growing.

Today Trilogy announced it has raised $50 million in a Series B financing round led by Highland Capital Partners, Exceed Capital and Macquarie Capital. Existing investors Rethink Impact, City Light Capital and Triumph Capital LLC also added to the round, which comes nearly a year after the company raised $30 million. The latest raise which brings the company’s total equity funding to $80 million.

Founded in 2015, the New York City-based startup is partnering with 35 universities, including UC Berkeley, Columbia University and Rutgers, to provide intensive training programs in areas such as coding, cybersecurity and data analytics. Partner institutions pay Trilogy to set up and market the these programs, which usually last six months and are white-labeled with the school’s brand.

Trilogy last year expanded to universities outside of the U.S. and currently works with Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and the University of Toronto in Canada. With the most recent fundraise, Trilogy is now looking towards markets beyond North America as well. “We’re in conversations with universities around the globe and hope to reach more students internationally,” Trilogy CEO Dan Sommer wrote in an email to EdSurge.

Trilogy is “certainly growing the footprint beyond North America, and that is something we look for in the companies we back,” echoed Victor Hu, co-founder and CEO at Exceed Capital.

Hu and Sommer would not specifically say where the company is looking to expand, but Hu added that areas with strong concentrations of top universities, such as the U.K., Australia or China, would make sense given the company’s business model is tied to universities.

Sommer also wrote that the company is planning to use the funds to grow its program offerings “in other high-demand tech fields,” and will be introducing new scholarship and financing models for students.

While a large funding round could be interpreted as a sign of success, it remains to be seen how many students are benefitting from Trilogy’s programs. The company did not share any information on completion rates or student outcomes for its programs when EdSurge requested it. In a press release, the company did claim that students have landed jobs at companies including Google, Salesforce and Bank of America.

“[Trilogy] is very cautious about how they position to students and don’t want to be in the place of making certain claims or promises that give propel the wrong impression,” said Hu, citing how many for-profit coding bootcamps have come under fire for false and misleading reporting on student outcomes.

Not sharing any outcomes, however, could also stir up concerns. Darrell Silver, co-founder and CEO of boot camp Thinkful, and Liliana Monge, co-founder and CEO of boot camp Sabio, both previously told Inside Higher Ed that “Trilogy will need to become more transparent about its outcomes to survive.”

Also uncertain is whether or not Trilogy will remain focused on working with universities, or expand to work with corporate clients and learners—a popular trend among postsecondary edtech companies. Hu said it would be “natural for Trilogy to be working more and more with employers over time.”

By working with universities, rather than positioning itself as an alternative, Trilogy’s strategy relies the brand recognition of some of world’s top institutions. Hu thinks the method has enabled the startup to continue to grow even as other coding bootcamps have shuttered in the last year.

“One of the key challenges of standalone bootcamps is they need to build their own brand from scratch, acquire students into their standalone physical spaces that they are renting at high costs, and build all of this content from scratch,” Hu said. Trilogy hopes to sidestep these difficulties.

But as Inside Higher Ed reported, that has some critics concerned that students may be misguided or unaware that the program is hosted by a third-party. “Some students… report feeling "blindsided" when they realized that their boot camp was run by Trilogy, not the host university,” the article reads.

Sommer declined to answer if Trilogy is profitable or share any information about the company’s revenue.

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up