Treehouse: The Company That Is DEMOCRATIZING Tech Education
Over the past 5-10 years, coding schools, or “boot camps,” have skyrocketed in popularity. The promise of gaining highly valued, marketable tech skills in under a year is attractive to many students looking to build careers in programming or software engineering. However, these schools can be very expensive and tend to require large upfront payments, creating a high-cost barrier that is challenging for many students to overcome. Fortunately, entrepreneur Ryan Carson recognized this problem and decided to do something about it.
Treehouse, a Portland-based online coding school, allows students to pay for their education in small monthly installments as they work to gain career-transforming skills. Since 2010, the company has trained tens of thousands of students and helps some of the world’s most innovative companies recruit and train their workforces.
“Affordable Tech Education To People Everywhere”
Treehouse equips students with employable tech skills in 3-12 months depending on their career goals and interests. With rigorous curricula delivered by full-time, expert teachers, the school helps students build professional portfolios that can be used to find attractive jobs in the tech space. The Treehouse platform offers over 300 courses, 1,000 video tutorials, quizzes, coding challenges, and projects covering 23 disciplines, or “tracks.” The school currently educates over 50k students in 190 countries.
Rather than requiring students to make large, upfront payments, Treehouse education is purchased with a monthly subscription. The school’s Basic offering costs $25/mo and comes with video tutorials, interactive practice sessions, and access to an online community of students. The Techdegree program costs $199/mo and includes video downloads for offline learning and portfolio projects. Beyond the programs for individual students, the school also offers training packages to companies wanting to invest in the development of their employees. Employed students can sign up for Treehouse classes to upgrade their existing skill sets, forge new careers paths, or seek out new peers to enhance the diversity of their work teams. Treehouse’s business continues to grow rapidly in this area as more and more companies are interested in developing their tech capabilities.
Ryan Carson: Not Your Average Startup CEO
Treehouse was founded by Ryan Carson, an entrepreneur and computer science expert who has been providing tech education for over ten years. In many ways, Carson is an unusual CEO as he has worked hard to preserve a healthy work-life balance for himself and for his employees. Up until 2016, the Treehouse team only worked four days a week and there were no managers throughout the company. Given the startup’s explosive growth, three-day weekends are no longer feasible, although Carson is still deeply committed to maintaining a healthy work culture and environment.
Today, Treehouse has over 100 employees in offices in Orlando and Portland. The company generates over $15M in revenue a year and has raised $12.4M in funding over three rounds. Despite being supported by investors such as Kaplan Ventures and Social Capital, Carson still controls a majority of Treehouse, allowing him to maintain oversight over many aspects of the company’s operations.
An Economic Model Designed With The Customers In Mind
This Untold story provides a tangible example of how impactful a company’s economic model can be on its overall success. For the most part, Carson’s online coding school offers a very similar educational experience to the plethora of alternative options out there today. But, Treehouse’s monthly payment model dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for potential students and gives them the opportunity to thoroughly test the experience without having to spend thousands of dollars.
If you can keep operating costs low in your venture, you may be able to create financial flexibility that can be passed on to your customers. If your product or service is excellent, you will have no trouble building a loyal following! And for those of you who are interested in seeing what Treehouse is all about, start your free 7-day trial today!