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Edtech startup Forward School banks USD 500k to add more tech-focused programs

Forward School plans to use the new funds to create more tech-focused programs in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

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Malaysian edtech startup Forward School has raised USD 500,000 in pre-seed funding to build out its offerings and eventually expand to other Southeast Asian markets.

The startup received the new funds from angel investors such as Exabyte’s Chan Kee Siak, Vitrox’s Chu Jenn Weng, AIMS Group’s Chiew Kok Hin, Zaid Ibrahim & Co.’s Ang Siak Keng, and Seacliff Partners’ Brian Wong, according to a statement.

Founded just last year, Forward School provides students with hands-on project-based education. It aims to build a pool of experienced software engineers and programmers that are capable of landing lucrative job offers from both local and global tech companies.

With the fresh investment, Forward School plans to move into its new campus that combines co-learning and co-living, with an aim to immerse its students in a wider tech-driven community.

Howie Chang, the startup’s founder and CEO, told Tech in Asia in an emailed statement that the campus, set to officially open on April 20, will have 17 co-living studios open for both students and professionals.

Forward School will also use the new funds to create more tech-focused programs in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) fields, which are seeing increased employer demand from software engineering and mobile app development firms.

Currently, the startup offers bootcamps for Android and iOS app development, React Native development, data science, and user experience design. There’s also a two-year NitroDegree in applied software engineering, where students study and work under the sponsorship of key local tech players for a minimum starting salary of MYR 3,000 (USD 725).

Chang said that the company is currently working with approximately 15 hiring partners for the program, a number it looks to increase to 100 by the end of the year.

“Our strategy is to focus on strengthening the local and regional tech ecosystem, so our plan for later this year is to see closer collaboration with the industry on our two-year NitroDegree in applied software engineering [program],” said Chang.

He also said that his company plans to grow its subscription-based offering for corporates and individuals, which provides a number of classes and workshops.

“National and international demand for students with innovative digital and creative skills will only continue to expand as Industry 4.0 sweeps the globe,” Chang said. “The challenge is not just for individuals to keep pace with technological developments but for learning institutions to lead the way.”

This article first appeared in Tech in Asia