“Having a partner that gives you the resources and experience to do things you’ve always wanted to do but can’t in a cash-strapped startup, it’s exciting.”
’Tis the season, where acquisitions fly like honking geese through the air! The latest — DevMountain, one of the nation’s leading coding schools headquartered in Provo, has been acquired by publicly-owned Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA).
“The coding school market is extremely competitive, I’m not just talking about Utah, I’m talking about everywhere,” said Cahlan Sharp, CEO of DevMountain. “There are certain players starting to emerge, the market share is starting to get a bit more saturated, there’s more and more competition. We came to an understanding that unless we partnered up or found some kind of vector to differentiate ourselves and grow, we were always going to be middle-tier….The more we talked with Capella and talked through the possibilities they could help us accomplish — what we couldn’t on our own — it made sense.”
If this seems like a meteoric rise, that’s because it is. Co-founded by Tyler Richards, Colt Henrie, and Sharp, DevMountain began ramping up in late 2013/early 2014 with full-time, immersive courses dedicated to coding after Sharp left his prior job to act as DevMountain CEO. Beehive’s own Clint Betts profiled DevMountain’s beginning and was decidedly nostalgic when news broke yesterday:
*— Clint Betts (@clintbetts) *May 4, 2016
Demand was high and DevMountain quickly expanded beyond Provo, launching locations in Salt Lake City and Dallas to cover the coding clamour. Fast forward to present day, where Capella has paid up to $20 million ($15 million immediately, up to $5 million based on revenue/metrics for the next three years) to own DevMountain and continue its operations as a subsidiary of Capella.
“Having a partner that gives you the resources and experience to do things you’ve always wanted to do but can’t in a cash-strapped startup, it’s exciting,” said Sharp. “You can do all these things you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the resources to do before. Capella is a large public company. Everything that comes along with that, entire teams of lawyers and people and financial planners, the amount of personnel is staggering and they are really interested in giving us the resources we need.”
Acquisition aside, business should continue as usual for DevMountain. Full-time, 12-week software coding programs that include free housing will still be offered, in addition to part-time programs concentrating on web development, iOS development, and UX design. Aspiring coders, rest assured that your needs will still be met.
“I care a lot about education and I care a lot about student outcomes,” said Sharp. “Yesterday, when I was getting messages from students saying, ‘Thank you for everything, DevMountain changed my life,’ that’s what brings me through those tough times in a startup when you’re ready to throw in the towel. Those students and their outcomes is what kept me going this entire time.”