Announcing Edlyft’s $1.4M Raise to Create the Next Wave of Engineers

Today, we are thrilled to announce a major milestone that will allow us to equip more students to excel in courses preparing them for in-demand careers they’ll love. We have raised over $1.4M in funding from venture capital funds, friends, family and angels to embark on our next chapter.

We’re in awe of the incredible people we have as investors, who are taking a bet on us as we build towards our vision of equipping every student to learn the most in-demand skills, regardless of background.

Equipping Students to Achieve What They Thought They Couldn’t

Arnelle and I started Edlyft because studying computer science changed our lives. Like so many, when we met in high school, we never imagined coding was something we could do or was “for us.” If we listened to the world or our own self doubt we wouldn’t be here today.

The combination of compassionate mentorship (mentors we could see ourselves in), supportive peers and encouraging tutors became the difference between us trying CS once and becoming engineers. This experience is what we set out to scale using tech with Edlyft– packaging the resources we gathered for ourselves so that anyone in the world, regardless of background, could learn skills that’ll prepare them for in-demand careers.

We should not be “the exception” as two people who were initially intimidated by CS, but who then went to work at some of the top tech companies, like Google and Facebook.

Disrupting Who Can Be an Engineer

Since launching, Edlyft has now supported well over 150 students across UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and UCB (University of California, Berkeley) through Computer Science, Data Science and Math courses – many of whom are women or community college transfer students.

We’ve already started to see the impact an Edlyft mentor and platform can have. Gillian Vaughn, a junior Electrical Engineering major at UCLA, first joined Edlyft after feeling overwhelmed by her computer science projects. This path usually leads students to dropping their STEM major; Instead however, Gillian joined Edlyft and describes her experience as one that “gave me a sense of community where no questions are dumb and everyone is there to help!” Edlyft had such a positive impact that she wanted to pay it forward for future students and became a mentor, “to help create that [same] sense of confidence and community with others.” In addition to growing confidence, we’ve started to see early academic outcomes as well. For example, one of our cohorts at UCLA this past spring scored significantly higher on their midterms than the class average.

This is how we are disrupting the cycle of who can be an engineer. Edlyft is open to students of all backgrounds and committed to equity. Our model reflects this, designed so that with every student who pays to join, we can provide support for another student to be admitted with need-based financial aid.

Our Next Chapter

To scale our product and reach more schools, we have raised a $1.4M Seed from Y Combinator, Kapor Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Village Global VC, Backstage Capital, January Ventures, Concrete Rose, 27V and prominent angel investors including Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn Chairman), Nick Caldwell (Twitter VP), Emilie Choi (Coinbase COO) and Ryan Roslansky (LinkedIn CEO).

In the next chapter of Edlyft, we look forward to expanding to more colleges and universities. In addition to UCB and UCLA, this spring, we will be expanding to schools across the country including University of North Carolina and University of Michigan. You don’t need to be enrolled at one of our target schools to sign up, just taking or auditing a STEM class for which you’d like a study group and mentor.

If you know a student at UCLA or UCB taking CS, Math or Data Science courses, let them know they have a community ready to support them this fall. Moreover, if you’d like to support our mission, we also have a model where anyone, including companies, can provide a student with a scholarship to do a course on Edlyft for a term free of charge,

Warmly,

Co-founder & CEO, Edlyft – Erika Hairston

Co-founder & CTO, Edlyft – Arnelle Ansong

Special thanks to our earliest backers: Amber & AJ Tennant, Brian Rumao, Caroline Gaffney, Clement Akomea-Agyin, Dan Shapero, Deborah & Vernon Ellinger, Dr. Walter Lee, Emmanuel Klu, Erika Lucas, Harold Hughes, Harrison Wheeler, Holly Liu, Janhavi Vartak, Julian J. Eison, Kapor Capital, Kenneth & Paula Hairston, Keren Baruch, Kumaresh Pattabiraman, Lou Dalrymple of Whoa Ventures, Madeline Duva, Marc Brown, Marie Rocha, Mitchell Adler, Nikita Miller, Nir Dremer, Potter & Robin Stewart, Renee Reid, Rev. Evans L. Spagner, Sandy & Jon Bloom, Sarah Alpern, Scott Roberts, SIAN Ventures Investment, Susan & Jerome Hairston and William Yelverton.