May was a big month for CodeBoxx Technology Inc., a company that trains people how to be web, app and software developers in as little as 16 weeks. After relocating from San Francisco to St. Petersburg earlier in the year, the firm on May 19 cut the ribbon on its new headquarters at Thrive DTSP, a co-working and shared office space located at 136 4th St. N.
Then, it filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had raised more than $1.6 million from the sale of shares, including some that were sold at a discount because they had been converted from simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) status. Between those two events, co-founders Nicholas Genest and Meg Charles managed to find time to visit the Catalyst studio for a chat.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Steinocher. The event also marked the official launch of the company’s first St. Pete-based cohort, which has drawn the enrollment of 100 people so far, according to CodeBoxx Business Development Manager Marc-Olivier Groleau.
Speaking to the Catalyst earlier this year, Genest said he was inspired to launch Codeboxx and then move it to St. Pete because he believed there to be a lot of untapped tech talent outside traditional IT hubs like Silicon Valley.
“The common theme across all of the teams I’ve built,” he said, “is that sometimes you can achieve more with dedicated people with grit and experience, knowing the right skills, than you can with Berkeley grads and Stanford grads who think they’re worth more than what you’re asking them to do.”
Genest said it’s unwise to judge a book by its cover when it comes to coding talent. He’s seen former nurses and teachers excel at the transition to coding, as well as Uber drivers and even Starbucks baristas.
“I’ve achieved more in my career with people like that than pedantic, pompous engineers,” he said. “So, I decided that I wanted to get more of this kind of people — people with grit, with business sense. So I created a four-month [coding] program and basically dumped my brain into that program. It’s a program that, if I were to hire a developer a job in my industry, here’s how I would like him or her to be trained.”
According to Genest, Codeboxx’s curriculum is constantly updated so graduates will always have the most current skills and knowledge when they’re ready to embark on their new careers.
“So far, we’ve delivered 12 cohorts of this program, and not once have we delivered it the same way,” he said. “We keep iterating the languages, the stacks, the types of technologies that are at play. We add on new APIs constantly. It’s a constantly evolving program.”
Successful Codeboxx applicants pay just $2,000 as a tuition deposit to get started in the program. If they complete the training, the deposit is refunded and the remainder of their tuition can be paid in installments once they land a job. Genest said Codeboxx has also been making money from employers, some of whom pay as much as “$15,000 a year in subscription fees to have first right of refusal on our top tier students.”
According to the Form D that Codeboxx filed with the SEC, about $379,000 worth of shares remain to be sold. The minimum investment from outside investors is $100,000. Some $80,000 of the funds raised so far will be paid out as bonuses to executives, according to the Form D.
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