Helping people realize their potential to build satisfying careers has never been more urgent. COVID-19 jolted not only our economy and the job market, it’s also forced a reckoning in education. Students and families have known for a long time that the status quo of incurring debt to get a degree and hopefully find a career on the other side simply isn’t cutting it. Amidst the urgency of COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, we believe more deeply than ever that new models and out-of-the-box thinking will define the future of our education system.
Today we’re announcing that Lambda School has raised $74 million in a Series C funding round led by Gigafund, which is known for its large investments in companies like SpaceX. Gigafund only invests in companies that it believes will reshape the world's most important industries, and we’re honored to be included in this portfolio. In conjunction with the funding, Gigafund co-founder and managing partner, Stephen Oskoui, will join our board. This new financing will support our mission to unlock student potential, regardless of circumstance, by developing career-oriented educational programs and reducing the financial risks to pursuing a better career.
“My co-founder and I built Gigafund on the investment approach we used together at Founders Fund, focusing on ambitious entrepreneurs with a multi-decade vision for their companies,” says Stephen Oskoui, co-founder and managing partner at Gigafund. “We back the world’s most transformative entrepreneurs and look forward to Lambda School leading the revolution in education that we’ve all been waiting for.”
Our approach has remained the same since day one: invest in students, align incentives, and lower barriers that prevent students from reaching their full earning potential. Student debt has reached alarmingly high levels, and the current pandemic has students feeling even less aligned with the interests of traditional educational institutions. Increasingly, students feel treated as a means to an end. Almost every day, journalists report on the denial of housing refunds on closed campuses, additional coronavirus-related fees for safety equipment or university decisions to not reduce tuition despite the shift to online learning.
In contrast, incentive-aligned institutions invest in their students. And as more people search for better careers and higher incomes, this new funding will enable Lambda School to invest in improving and expanding our programs to deliver positive student outcomes. Specifically, we’ll continue refining our coursework and curriculum, evolving and refining our model, and optimizing the way we support successful employment after Lambda.
This new funding will also accelerate initiatives we’ve been focused on for the last several months. So far in 2020, we’ve been heads down not on growth for growth's sake, but on pursuing excellence. We knew we had to concentrate on optimizing the student experience. We've taken steps to focus admissions targets, make critical team hires, and expand accountability for student outcomes and diversity and inclusion, among other efforts. We’re proud that Gigafund believes in what we’re building.
Lambda School is poised for growth, especially as traditional higher education faces unprecedented uncertainty and dissatisfaction. Students seek new, alternative paths to gain the skills they need. It will take creativity and iteration to build a new future for education that’s truly centered around student success. Every day, we’re inspired by our own students — and we’re up for the challenge.