Eight years later, Codeacademy achieves what many coding schools do not: it’s cash-flow positive

Codecademy, the New York-based online interactive platform that offers coding classes in a wide variety of programming languages, is a little like background noise; it’s been operating reliably since founder Zach Sims created the company while still a Columbia University student in 2011. It’s a brand that people know and that millions have used, but…

Eight years later, Codeacademy achieves what many coding schools do not: it’s cash-flow positive

Codecademy, the New York-based online interactive platform that offers coding classes in a wide variety of programming languages, is a little like background noise; it’s been operating reliably since founder Zach Sims created the company while still a Columbia University student in 2011. It’s a brand that people know and that millions have used, but because it has grown steadily, without headline-making funding rounds — or, conversely, newsworthy layoffs —  the 90-person company doesn’t routinely attract a lot of press attention.
That’s fine with Sims, who we spoke with last week following the most recent bout of bad publicity for Lambda School, a younger rival that has raised $48 million from investors, compared with the $42.5 million that Codecademy has raised over time. Sims says his capital-efficient company is continuing to chug along nicely.
The question, increasingly, is whether that’s “nice” enough for VCs. Indeed, Codecademy — like a lot of startups right now — is in the awkward position of being a smart, solid, fast but not massively growing business. In the year 2020, that raises questions about next steps.
The last time we’d spoken with Sims, roughly two years ago, Codecademy — which struggled for years with how to produce meaningful revenue —  had recently launched two premium products. One of these, Codecademy Pro, helps users who are willing to spend $40 per month (or $240 per year) to learn the fundamentals of coding, as well as develop a deeper knowledge in up to 10 areas, including machine learning and data analysis. Sims says this has taken off, and that it now has 100,000 paying members.
A second offering, Codecademy Pro Intensive, that was designed to immerse learners from six to 10 weeks in either website development, programming or data science, has since been dropped.
Who are the company’s paid users? Sims says they tend to fall into one of two bucke
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