18 05 2017


Codecool programmer school boosts expansion abroad

PortfoLion Regional Private Equity Fund is assisting the international expansion of the coding school chain with a €2 million investment.

PortfoLion Regional Private Equity Fund is providing Codecool Kft. with a €2 million investment resource. Through this capital injection the Hungarian programmer school can continue its international expansion in the most promising segment of the educational services market. BnL Growth Partners was the exclusive advisor of Codecool in the transaction.

The IT labour shortage in Hungary is currently estimated at 22,000 people, and this figure approaches 1 million in the EU as a whole. Experts agree that the problem of the recruitment of IT specialists is an existing, and probably long-term phenomenon. A qualified IT labour force has become the most important factor in the future success and business growth of enterprises not only in Hungary but globally, too.

Recognizing this trend early on, in 2015 a group of Hungarian private individuals founded the Codecool IT specialist training company, which at the moment operates educational centres in Budapest, Miskolc and Krakow. Now in four grades, currently more than 300 students are taught programming as well as other skills ensuring their successful placement within the profession. During the Codecool course made up of 12 months of practice oriented and 6 months of on-the-job training, primarily 18-40-year-old career starters, or those switching careers, without any previous IT qualifications, are taught programming in coordination with the employer market, thereby guaranteeing graduates a job at the successful conclusion of the course. In addition to traditional secondary and higher education, this model supplies a high volume of recruits, which can be adjusted to specific corporate demands. The guarantee of a job and the post-financed training model are particularly attractive factors for applicants.

PortfoLion Regional Private Equity Fund invests primarily in Hungarian medium-size enterprises that have already been running for a few years, can show stable operations and realistic business plans, and have promising, international growth potential. “Beyond the Europe-wide presence of market demands, another factor in favour of the investment is that since its foundation, Codecool has rapidly proved the competitiveness of its educational programme on the Hungarian market, and with the expansion into Poland it shows the flexible international adaptability of the training,” says György Simó, investment partner of the fund manager PortfoLion Venture Capital Fund Management Zrt.

“Our start-up investment perfectly covered the costs of the establishment of the quality educational background as well as the cash-flow demand that goes hand-in-hand with post-financed training,” says Balázs Vinnai, a successful IT entrepreneur and one of the founders of Codecool. “Since our concepts were proven both by the professional and the corporate sides, now in two countries, we realized that the time had arrived for a further capital injection necessary for expansion primarily in Central Europe.” In the coming 12 months, Codecool intends to use the equity at its disposal to open two new schools abroad, thus expanding to 1000 the number of junior programmers it trains in one year. According to the plans of the founders of the company, Codecool schools will be operating in 24 cities in Europe by 2022.

Since 2016, support for programmes able to feed the labour market supply indispensable for the digital transformation ongoing in business and in society is set down at EU directive level, too. The ITC Association of Hungary (IVSZ) worked out and recently presented the Digital Labour Programme, in which particular emphasis is also laid on the necessity for a targeted and more rapid pace of specialist training. In April, the Hungarian government announced the latest phase of the Digital Welfare Programme (DJP 2.0), in which there is a special focus on the question of educational programmes answering the demands of the labour market. “All this indicates that the problem recognized by Codecool early on, and the programme offered as a solution to this issue is not only popular among applicant students and employer companies, but now a concern to the profession and regulatory authorities as well” says Balázs Vinnai, who as deputy chairman of IVSZ has been a committed advocate of this subject for many years. “In the future, work will be digitalized in every sector and at all levels. Therefore, there is a need for education taking a new approach and offering genuine professional knowledge. This is precisely why alternative school systems similar to Codecool will transform the education market with the same speed and profundity as Amazon.com and online shopping did in the commercial sector” Vinnai adds.