Peter Kafka

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Codecademy Rounds Up $10 Million for Web Lessons

Codecademy has lots of users taking its free, self-serve computer programming courses, including New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Now it has a big slug of money, too.

The 10-month-old company has raised a $10 million B round, led by Index Ventures, along with Kleiner Perkins, Richard Branson and Yuri Milner. Many of the investors who chipped in on its $2.5 million A round last year are back, too.

Codeacademy was one of the buzzier start-ups of the last year, and helped kick off the “everyone should learn to code!” meme, at least among people who hang out around coders.*

So there was a lot of competition for the round. Co-founder Zach Sims won’t talk about valuation, but earlier this year I was hearing talk that the deal would end up in the $55 million range.

Sims will say that one of the reasons he’s happy to be working with London-based Index is that Codecademy has big international aspirations. So far, the start-up has served up 100 million coding lessons, and about half of its users live somewhere besides the U.S. “We’re going to hopefully be much bigger outside the U.S. than inside the U.S.,” Sims says.

Codeacademy relies on outsiders to create its online lessons for free, and it doesn’t charge users to take them, but at some point it will start figuring out how to generate revenue. Perhaps more important will be a move into teaching stuff besides computer programming, but Sims says that won’t happen soon. “For now, coding is at the forefront.”

*The counterargument to this is a must-read.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik