Byte Academy, an affiliate of New York-based analytics firm Byte Consulting, is expanding to Singapore and establishing its regional headquarters in the city-state following an S$3 million ($2.67 million) Series A investment from Tri5 Ventures.
Established to address the scarcity of qualified programmers in the finance sector – an increasingly automated field – the firm was launched to cater to this niche, training developers and providing them with a technically adept developers. The capital for the investment originates from Tri5 Ventures’ Education Growth Fund, which targets education-related investments.
Slated to open in late 2016, it will be launching 12-week programmes in the Python programming language, data science and fintech development, in addition to four-week courses in coding.
Setting up a base in Singapore will see it eventually expand to other locations across the Indo-Asia Pacific, including regional countries and other locations across India, as well as fuel its expansion within the US market.
Byte Academy is also a partner of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for the inaugural FinTech Festival, scheduled for November this year.
Christopher Quek, Managing Partner at Tri5 Ventures, said, “Singapore needs 30,000 trained programmers by 2020 in the ICT sector, with major focus on verticals like fintech and data science.”
Highlighting the need to build a local talent pool that could sustain the growth of the city-state’s native entrepreneurial ecosystem, it is hoped that Singapore’s edition of Byte Academy can train up to 2000 programmers over the next five years.
Talent scarcity a major issue
The addition of Byte Academy to the city-state’s talent development pipelines is timely, given that the shortage of engineers – and particularly programmers – has been cited as a national risk and has been highlighted as an issue of concern as far back as 2007. It has already been highlighted as a major deficit in Singapore’s ecosystem that requires a solution.
According to Byte Academy co-founder Rak Chugh, a key player in the decision to expand to Singapore and establish a regional base there is Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who connected with Chugh and discussed the opportunities presented by Singapore’s Smart Nation and fintech initiatives.
“I was further convinced of this in my recent visit to Singapore, where there is a growing finance community of programmers and startups, similar to New York in its early stages. We believe we can be a great contributor to the growth of fintech and the finance community in Singapore and ASEAN, just as how we have been in New York,” said Chugh in an official statement.