Skills Fund Raises $11.5 Million in Seed Capital

Funding Supports Partnerships with Top Coding Bootcamps and
Accelerates Student Access to Innovative Educational Programs

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Skills Fund, a student financing and quality assurance platform for
coding and data science programs, announced today it raised $11.5
million in seed capital to issue loans to students of leading
high-quality accelerated learning programs.

Select launch partners include Dev Bootcamp, Metis, Galvanize,
Hackbright Academy, CodeU, and Sabio. In partnering with high-quality
programs that target diverse student populations, Skills Fund will
accelerate bootcamp industry growth and student access to skills
training for millions of high-paying, unfilled tech jobs in America.

“The only way to guarantee successful student outcomes is for all
stakeholders – lenders, accelerated learning programs, and quality
assurance entities – to share in the risk when students invest their
time and money in education,” said Rick O’Donnell, founder and CEO of
Skills Fund. “By only partnering with bootcamps on whom we’ve performed
due diligence on their quality and outcomes, providing students full
transparency in annual percentage rate of their loan before applying,
and tying all stakeholder’s financial success to that of students,
Skills Fund is supporting a revolution of higher education quality and
student loans.”

The Department of Education’s recent announcement
of the Educational Quality and Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP)
initiative reinforces the need to enable access to skills education for
a diverse set of Americans and perform program and outcome quality
assurance. Skills Fund is positioned to do both.

O’Donnell is the former chief of all consumer protection agencies in
Colorado as well as the former secretary of higher education in the
state of Colorado. He currently serves on the federal advisory committee
overseeing college accreditation agencies.

Iowa Student Loan, a nonprofit with $2.6 billion in active student
loans, formed a strategic alliance with Skills Fund and provides a
source of funding. Iowa Student Loan will also provide customer service
for Skills Fund loans through its subsidiary, Aspire Resources Inc.

“We’re excited for the opportunities this alliance with Skills Fund will
create for software engineers,” said Steve McCullough, Iowa Student Loan
president and CEO. “By ensuring access to funding for accelerated
learning programs we’re helping boost their earnings potential and fill
high-need jobs, benefitting economic growth.”

Partner accelerated learning programs are located throughout the United
States, and are focused on promoting access for a diversity of students.

“Our mission at Galvanize is to provide learners of all backgrounds with
access to new skills and amazing job opportunities. Our new partnership
with Skills Fund provides Galvanize students with a simple, hassle-free
way to fund their education,” said Jim Deters, CEO and co-founder of
Galvanize. “Together, Galvanize and Skills Fund are changing the future
of education and making transformative opportunities accessible to
anyone. We’re excited to work with them and have their team on our
Austin campus in 2016.”

With the demand for coding and data science education rapidly
increasing, bootcamp and lender partnerships solely focused on student
access and post-graduation results have become critical.

“We partnered with Skills Fund because of our shared belief in
developing enduring relationships with our students and broadening
access to both the Dev Bootcamp and Metis immersive programs,” said
Tarlin Ray, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate
Strategy for Dev Bootcamp and Metis. “Fostering a culture of inclusion
and diversifying the technology sector have been at the core of our
vision from the beginning, and Skills Fund allows us to further that
mission with a breadth of financing options unique to Dev Bootcamp and
Metis students.”

In partnership with bootcamps, student access will equate to a
high-quality education, a means to obtain well paying jobs, and
fulfilling urgent employer demand.

“Every year, we continue to provide passionate women with the software
engineering skills that render them valuable players in the tech
industry. Our partnership with Skills Fund allows for affordable
financing options – paving the way to accessibility for more students,
and helping us achieve impactful change in the industry even faster,”
said Paria Rajai, Director of Marketing for Hackbright Academy.

Austin-based Skills Fund is combining the functions of lender and
quality assurance entity to align all financial incentives around
student success.


: A student financing platform that facilitates the growth of
high-quality, innovative higher education providers. How? First, we
ensure that coding, data science, and other accelerated learning
programs meet our quality standards, including strong graduate
employment outcomes. Second, programs that meet those standards obtain
access to competitive financing products for their students. In
partnership with one of the largest nonprofits in the student loan
industry, Skills Fund is combining the functions of lender and quality
assurance entity to align all financial incentives around student


Skills Fund
Lauren Bauml,