In founding the Holberton School in San Francisco in 2016 , Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier had a clear goal: to train tens of thousands of students and become the largest computer engineering school in the United States.
After raising $8.2 million to expand their campus in April, the two French co-founders are nearing the goal by conquering the east, and more specifically New Haven in Connecticut.
“Today, we have students in all the best companies in Silicon Valley, from two-person start-ups to Tesla, Apple, Facebook, Google or NASA,” says Sylvain Kalache. “Our students find work, the feedback from managers is super positive. We thought we were ready to expand.”
Why shun New York or Boston and bet on Connecticut? “This is a state that is historically known for innovation,” comments this former LinkedIn engineer. To take advantage of the attractiveness of the region, the co-founders of the Holberton School have teamed up with David Salinas, serial entrepreneur behind District New Haven , a new digital campus.
“There are a lot of successful companies that are not necessarily in” tech “like in Silicon Valley but are transitioning to digital. For that, they of course needed talents. So there is a very strong demand, ” observes Sylvain Kalache.
Another important argument for Holberton School students, who only start paying for their training after finding their first job (at 17% of their salary for three years): the cost of living is much more affordable in Connecticut, says the young entrepreneur.
“We have a lot of students who pass the selection process but unfortunately can not come because of the excessive cost of the city of San Francisco,” says Sylvain Kalache, adding that “the cost of living in New Haven is one third of San Francisco’s.”
The new campus, already open to applications , will host a first volley of 30 students in January 2019 and will receive three promotions a year, in January, June and September, said Sylvain Kalache. “We are targeting the same growth model as in San Francisco,” he says, noting that the California campus can now accommodate up to 500 students per year.
The creators of the Holberton School do not intend to stop there. ” We want to have up to 1,000 students a year in the next few years, which would double the number of computer engineers trained in the state of Connecticut.”
Dennis Wheeler is the lead editor for Beatnick Report. Dennis has been working as a journalist for nearly a decade having published pieces in many print and digital publications including the New York Post and the Huffing Post. Dennis is based in Hartford and covers issues affecting his city and state. When he’s not busy in the newsroom, Dennis enjoys playing golf.