SOURCE: Holberton School

April 27, 2017 10:00 ET

Three-Time GRAMMY Winner NE-YO Invests in Holberton School for Full-Stack Engineers

NE-YO joins school's Board of Trustees; commits to promote greater diversity in tech industry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - April 27, 2017) - Holberton School, the two-year school for full-stack software engineers, today announced that GRAMMY award-winning artist NE-YO has joined a prestigious group of investors and mentors already affiliated with the school. In addition to investing in Holberton's $2.3 million round of funding, NE-YO has joined the school's Board of Trustees to take an active role in attracting underrepresented groups to software engineering.

"I believe that a major key to success in life is the presence of opportunity. Tech is an ever-growing, evolving industry, and I want to assist in opening doors for people across the country," said NE-YO. "Holberton School is in a unique position to train people of all backgrounds to lead in the digital age. I couldn't be more excited about Holberton's mission and model."

The school offers an alternative to college, online courses and coding bootcamps for training world-class full-stack software engineers in only two years, leveraging a proven system long-used in Europe. Holberton's first class of students, due to graduate early 2018, have already been hired or completed internships at top-tier Silicon Valley employers such as Apple, Dropbox, NASA, LinkedIn and Docker.

"When I first met NE-YO, we talked at length about the lack of diversity in tech generally and Silicon Valley specifically. I shared my excitement about Holberton School's disruptive approach, as well as its early success in developing one of the most welcoming, varied and balanced peer groups in Silicon Valley. He was instantly intrigued and wanted to get involved," said Anjula Acharia, partner at Trinity Ventures. "Moving forward, NE-YO can help push the boundaries even further. He can use his voice as a platform to reach demographics that haven't traditionally been represented or included in the tech industry."

Holberton already boasts a remarkably diverse student body. Its automated admission process was designed to reduce human bias, resulting in one of the most diverse learning institutions in the tech industry. Even as women (40 percent) and people of color (53 percent) comprise its student population, Holberton is committed to taking the next step, assisted by NE-YO, to further increase the representation of underrepresented groups -- particularly blacks and Hispanics.

The school's curriculum is based on the progressive education concept, a methodology that combines project-based and peer learning where students help each other to learn and reach goals. At Holberton, there are no lectures and no formal teachers. Students acquire practical skills and an understanding of theory through hands-on learning and development of actual systems and applications. This practical, hands-on knowledge guarantees that students possess the skills necessary for the technology industry's most demanding jobs. Students are also closely advised by mentors from Silicon Valley's leading tech companies.

"When we started Holberton (which is named after a giant in tech, Betty Holberton) just over a year ago, we wanted to give everyone who had an interest in software engineering the skills to effectively fulfill the demand for highly-skilled tech talent," said Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton and former head of Growth & Community at Docker. "Now, as we are on track to enroll more than 100 students this year, we want to offer this opportunity to even more people. As our first class prepares to graduate and move on to successful jobs at high-profile companies, with NE-YO's commitment to our diversity initiatives, we will be able to further expand the program's reach to people who may never have thought about high tech as a career."

The school charges no upfront tuition. Instead, graduates are asked to contribute a percentage of their salaries to the school for the first three years of their post-Holberton employment, giving back to the next generation of software engineers. Since students pay nothing to the school if they're not hired, their success is the school's success.

To learn more about Holberton School enrollment and opportunities, visit www.holbertonschool.com.

About Holberton School

Using project-based learning and peer learning, Holberton's mission is to train the best software engineers of their generation. At Holberton, there are no formal teachers and no formal courses. Instead, everything is project-centered. We give our students increasingly difficult programming challenges to solve and minimal initial directions on how to solve them. As a consequence, students naturally look for the theory and tools they need, understand them, use them, work together, and help each other. Holberton School teaches how to learn instead of teaching a specific tool or programming language. Holberton School is based in San Francisco and supported by leaders from the technology industry. Go to www.holbertonschool.com to learn more.

About NE-YO

GRAMMY Award-winning singer, composer, producer, and actor NE-YO (born Shaffer C. Smith) is a talent sought by many artists. Not only does NE-YO have three #1 albums, over 10 million albums sold worldwide and three GRAMMY Awards of his own, he has also written and produced chart-topping hits for today's biggest stars including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion and many more. In addition to music, NE-YO's solid career in film includes credits in George Lucas's RED TAILS (2012), Stomp The Yard (2007), Battle: LA (2011), and Save the Last Dance (2006). Recently, NE-YO joined the judges' table for a new dance competition show titled World of Dance premiering May 30th on NBC.

About Trinity Ventures

Trinity Ventures is a top-tier venture capital firm combining business insight, practical expertise and a personal touch to help start-ups win big. For over thirty years, Trinity has helped passionate entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas transform markets and lives. Trinity's investment team takes a collaborative approach and believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment to deliver out-sized returns to entrepreneurs and investors. The firm invests in early stage technology companies with emphases on Cloud and Mobile infrastructure, Software-as-a-Service, Digital Media and Social Commerce and Entertainment. To learn more visit: www.trinityventures.com.

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