Malaysia: Coding school NEXT Academy raises $300k from 500 Startups

NEXT Academy founder and CEO, Josh Teng (centre) with his team.

Malaysia-based coding school NEXT Academy has secured a $300,000 capital injection from 500 Startups, which it will utilise to launch new programmes and set up resources for its graduates.

The academy is targeting to produce 1,000 coding graduates this year, with its new programmes. It has a student intake of 20 per class.

The company told DEALSTREETASIA that it will be introducing new programmes for mobile bootcamps, data science, growth marketing, as well as explore different formats, such as night schools.

To empower its increasing pool of alumni, NEXT Academy will also work on building up resources to help its graduates start their own startups or also to seek employment in different countries.

The academy’s goal over the next five years is to create a pool of graduates, and hence a community, large enough for its alumni to tap into.

NEXT Academy is hoping that, through its coding and growth hacking programme graduates, it will be able to impact a million people in the Southeast Asian tech industry. It said its beta phase focused on coding, where 150 students from a multitude of backgrounds have spent nine weeks each in full time classes.

NEXT Academy takes in students with zero coding knowledge who have thus far achieved a 95 per cent graduation rate.

Every graduate could code at a level where they got a job at a regional startup or multinational company, became a freelancer, or start their own companies, the academy said. Graduates who have transitioned into working as coders are now in companies such as KFIT, MindValley and Manulife.

Graduates have also founded or are founders of startups that had subsequently received VC funding, like CoinPip and GoGet. Recently, some graduates represented Southeast Asia and became the first champion of MasterCard Masters of Code Global Hackathon, beating participants from USA, Europe, Israel and others, to bag the prize worth $100,000.

“Salaries for great coders have risen above average in comparison to other careers in the past five years. This trend will continue as software disrupts all industries from agriculture, to banking to transportation to retail. This represents a great opportunity,” NEXT Academy founder and chief executive officer Josh Teng said.

500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng said: “The education system we grew up with was built for and led by the industrial revolution. We’ve been in a software revolution for more than 20 years now, and our education system continues to hold us back! I’m pretty sick of it.”

“Then you see teenagers, housewives, mechanics learn tech skills and tripled their pay all because of a nine-week programme, you are seeing the future of education, right here,” he commented on the academy’s track record.

While there are many universities teaching students how to code, NEXT Academy’s curriculum is inspired by a similar coding school in Silicon Valley which Teng attended prior to starting the academy. He realised that a programme that is more agile, adaptable, delivered in practical formats and intimately linked to employers is the only way education can catch up with the rate of innovation in technology.

Prior to starting NEXT Academy, Teng was a co-­founder behind Televate, a Singapore government and venture capital backed enterprise software company.

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