The tech space is highly dominated by men and in recent times women have begun to change that. However, the ratio between the ratio of men is still far higher than that of women of tech. Society and a number of other seemingly minor factors contribute to this and this is why individuals, startups, etc., are starting to push for more female inclusion in the tech world.
Entity Academy, a women-focused edtech startup is pushing for female inclusion in tech with its platform. The startup has raised $100 million in a recently concluded round and plans to continue to provide women with training in areas like data science and software development, mentorship and job coaching. Entity Academy wants to contribute its quota to bringing the dream of having an equitable number of male and female workers in tech, equitable remunerations, etc., to life. The funding comes amidst continued business growth and will help fuel the edtech’s desire to contribute to creating an equitable state of affairs in the tech world. The funding comes from Leif, another startup that provides edtech platforms with funding so that they can offer their students income share agreements ( known as ISAs – an arrangement where students are not required to pay back tuition loans until they get a job).
Entity Academy was created back in 2016 by Jennifer Schwab with no external funding and has helped a handful of women to take on tech roles as well as stand up to their male counterparts. According to the company, the funding of $100 million is a forerunner of its VC-led equity round that is around the corner.
Equity Academy said the latest financing will be used to provide assistance for students; it will be used to finance tuition which cost about $15,000. The startup does not create the content it provides student for their academic journey, instead provides online courses in data science, fintech engineering, software development and technology sales in a “boot-camp” style courses. These courses can be taken over a course of twenty-four to thirty-three weeks.
Entity Academy’s business surpasses the courses it provides. It also depends hugely on data it collects to build its strategies and business operations. The edtech’s user base includes majorly women between the ages of nineteen to twenty-three who are completely new to tech and want to pave a career and women between the ages of 30-39 who want to improve their careers in tech. The edtech is leveraging on the fact that times are changing and more women are pursuing careers in STEM. “A number of our students would not have pursued STEM programs in the past, so we are building skillsets from the ground up”, the startup’s founder and CEO Jennifer Schwab said. Financing is a major challenge for students, especially women, who want to take on STEM courses and this is why Entity Academy is creating new ways to ensure that this challenge is mitigated.
The edtech saw impressive growth during the pandemic as the stay-at-home mode of living, working and even learning helped push its operations. Speaking on the company and her dream to help push up the number of women in tech, Jennifer Schwab who once worked at Ernst & Young said that “my original goal was to change how women approach careers globally. How to mentor women better was the impetus because I did not have female mentors when I started at Ernst & Young”. Feeling like you are on an island is bad in itself, but it was a quick evolution into education and job placement alongside that mentoring because “we identified these [as other reasons] why women don’t pursue tech careers”, she added.
When it started, Entity Academy did not pay its business but that has changed. “Now we pay mentors, and we bring in professional moderators to keep mentor-led discussions at a decent pace. Often speakers will donate their fees to scholarship and childcare funds. There are some 250 mentors in the Entity network now, with some focused on lectures to groups of students while others work individually with them, usually, in connection to the technical subjects, they are studying. That number is expected to double to 500 next year”, Jennifer Schwab revealed.
Alongside other startups and initiatives, Entity Academy is helping the increase the number of women in tech roles.