India's InterviewBit secures $20M to grow its advanced online computer science program

Manish Singh

InterviewBit, a Bangalore-based startup that runs an advanced online computer science program for college graduates and young professional engineers, has raised $20 million in one of the largest Series A financing rounds in the education sector.

The five-year-old startup’s Series A round was led by Sequoia India and Tiger Global. Global Founders Capital and some others participated in the round. The startup said it is also rebranding its online coding program, earlier called InterviewBit Academy, to Scaler Academy. Two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the financing round valued InterviewBit between $100 million and $110 million.

InterviewBit pivoted nine months ago to operate on an income-sharing model, where students have the option to pay much of the coaching fee after they have landed a job. The concept, also known as human capital contract, has been around for decades, but is beginning to see some traction now.

The startup said more than 2,000 students have enrolled in its six-month program to date, where it runs live-streamed sessions to coach aspiring software engineers for competitive job interviews in their industry. It has so far run seven batches, one of which is being conducted in the U.S.

At stake is the future of millions of students who graduate each year in India, but are massively unprepared to secure a good job. A recent study by Aspiring Minds found that the employability of Indian engineers continues to be as low as 20%. "With that in mind, Scaler Academy’s meticulously structured six-month online program effectively enhances the coding skills of professionals by creating a modern curriculum with exposure to the latest technologies," the startup said.

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InterviewBit said it has received more than 200,000 applications to join these classes. And “several hundred” of those who enrolled in the program have landed jobs at tech companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Students enrolled in Scaler Academy are mentored and taught by tech leaders and subject matter experts working with organizations including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix. The startup says it works with more than 600 companies.

The startup, which is part of Sequoia India’s Surge accelerator program, will use the new fund to scale up its enrollment and launch in new markets. It also plans to invest in its curriculum and live teaching product.

"Within a short period of time, Scaler Academy has made a huge impact on the capabilities of our students, who spend, on average four-five hours/day on our online and live learning platform," said Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of InterviewBit.

"We are very excited that our work results in a step function change in the careers of our students -- and so we have rebranded it to Scaler Academy, a platform for pursuing excellence in software programming," he added.