Today, Academy, the startup that attracts, trains and accelerates a new diverse generation of tech leaders, has announced it has raised a €3.5 million seed round in its mission to build a talent and leadership infrastructure for the tech industry.
The funding boost for the Manchester-based startup is led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Emerge Education, as well as participation from current and former leaders from Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, Farfetch and GoCardless as angel investors.
Founded in 2020 by Ashley Ramrachia, Academy operates with a vision of ‘merit over means’ in training and talent acceleration. This strategy aims to convert high-potential into high-performance in tech, with an open door to anybody with the right aptitude, regardless of experience. It’s an approach that delivers both on delivery and diversity. Academy is embedding this model at the heart of the tech industry which has too long been defined by underrepresentation and is currently facing a labour shortage.
Ashley Ramrachia, founder and CEO of Academy said: “Too many of the most talented individuals are not able to access careers in technology – creating a talent bottleneck for the whole of the tech industry. If we are to build a globally successful tech industry then we need the best people starting their careers in technology at fast-growing companies – the exact talent blueprint that drove THG to its multi-billion dollar success.”
Academy plans to work with the most ambitious tech talent and companies to build a new generation of tech leaders from diverse backgrounds – creating an industry that is open to all and doesn’t discriminate. Boosting young diverse talent will be modelled on and inspired by the career trajectories of Academy’s angel investors such as Ric Lewis (Chair of the Black Heart Foundation), Angie Ma (Chief People Officer at Faculty) and Wing Chan (former CTO of THG).
Portfolio companies from Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures and Y Combinator – along with rapidly growing public companies like Soho House – are amongst the companies working with Academy to find and accelerate their future tech leaders.
Academy partners gain exclusive access to a premium community of diverse future leaders in tech. From a degree-agnostic background, Academy selects the top 0.5% of talent. According to the company, this is more selective than Google, and 10x more competitive than Harvard. Through a transformative rapid training experience, Academy accelerates these up-and-coming leaders into tech roles and leadership trajectories – with a training NPS of 75.
Academy is showing that high performance doesn’t have to come at the cost of high diversity – whilst just 0.5% of applicants are accepted, over 50% are female, over 60% are from minority ethnic backgrounds, and 30% identify as Black.
This is made possible by cutting through economic barriers: Academy’s training programme is zero-tuition, grant-funded and remote-first, making it accessible to anybody with an internet connection. It also makes Academy a pioneering and powerful source of social mobility.
The new funding will enable the social-impact minded company to accelerate creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable tech future across Europe and beyond.
Already, Academy is seeing some big successes in selling a career in tech to the best and brightest – enlisting trainees who have turned down or left graduate roles at BCG, Citibank and Deloitte, alongside others with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, law and public sector work.