NEW YORK — Fullstack Academy, the Y Combinator-backed top coding bootcamp in the U.S., has introduced Fullstack Fund, a new initiative to invest in promising startups created by its graduates.
“Students who complete our software engineering program go on to work for great companies like Google and Amazon, but some have opted for the entrepreneurial startup environment,” said David Yang, CEO and co-founder of Fullstack Academy. “So we asked ourselves — how can we better support alumni with a strong entrepreneurial slant? The Fullstack Fund will empower some of the amazing teams and products that are coming out of our school.”
Fullstack Academy was launched in Y Combinator in 2013, and the model of the Fullstack Fund follows YC’s successful Fellowship Program. Fullstack Academy will provide $20K in seed capital, a co-working space on its New York City campus and mentorship in areas like product design and growth hacking.
Each admitted startup will work full-time for 8 weeks on the NYC Fullstack Academy campus, with the goal of securing another round of funding after the program — by getting accepted into a top accelerator like Y Combinator, raising an angel round, or figuring out how to bootstrap its growth. Fullstack Fund will use the same terms that Y Combinator uses in its Fellowship Program, and will take 1.5% equity in a convertible note.
“YC started its fellowship program as an experiment, and it has proven to be a great way to fund very early-stage startups,” said Nimit Maru, CTO and co-founder of Fullstack Academy. “We’re launching Fullstack Fund as an experiment as well, and funding it ourselves initially, but we plan to open it up to outside investors before the end of the year. We expect to grow the initial fund to $10MM, so that these investors can get access to the engineering talent and ideas coming out of the #1 coding bootcamp in the U.S. At that point, we expect to be making larger investments into each company, and participating in follow-on rounds alongside other investors — including angels and early-stage VC’s.”
According to the founders, the launch of this fund is the next logical step in the growth of Fullstack Academy. Said Yang: “We launched Fullstack in 2013, with the idea that students would pay tuition of about $17,000 to go through the ‘MIT of coding bootcamps.’ We found that many of our students were actually recent graduates from universities like MIT, Stanford and Princeton — who graduated with Computer Science degrees and wanted to come to Fullstack to learn the most practical, modern web development platforms. This model has worked so well that our acceptance rate is now somewhere between 8% and 10% for each cohort. It has worked so well, in fact, that last year we launched another elite coding school, the all-female Grace Hopper Academy, where we actually pay the student’s tuition until they get their first job as a software engineer. And now with the launch of Fullstack Fund, we’re taking it to the next level once again. We’re investing even more in our graduates, so they can start launching their own world-changing startups.”
The Fullstack Fund is also focused on increasing the diversity of founders, since graduates from Grace Hopper Academy (as part of the Fullstack network) will be eligible to participate in the fund.