Five Years: A Message to The Starter League Alumni and Community
After five incredible years of running the first ever “code bootcamp” and helping pioneer the industry, my cofounder Mike McGee and I are happy to announce we’ve sold our company. Below are details of the deal nested into a thank you message to our alumni and friends.
I just want to start by saying you’re crazy.
You slid a check across the table before we even had a space to teach you in.
You flew across the country for an interview we could have conducted over Skype.
You tattooed our logo onto your leg.
You sold your home and relocated to Chicago with your wife and kids.
You cashed out your 401k to put a downpayment in for Web Dev.
You quit your job to start your life.
You made The Starter League happen.
When Mike and I launched The Starter League in 2011, everyone told us a coding school for beginners was a horrible business idea. A lot of people shook their heads, laughed at us, and said we were crazy.
I guess we’re all a little crazy.
Five years later, we’ve taught more than 1,500 people who’ve flown in from all over the world — from over 40 states and 15 different countries.
We were the first tenants and helped launch 1871, partnered with the City of Chicago to bring tech education to kids through CPS, and have become fully ingrained into Chicago’s tech ecosystem.
Since our launch, a movement of “coding bootcamps” have come to rise, and an entire industry has been created. And it’s all because of you.
Today, I’ve got some big news to share with you.
We’ve been acquired by New York-based and Y Combinator-backed Fullstack Academy.
So what does this mean?
We have a beginner-focused program with an entrepreneurial bent; and Fullstack has an advanced software engineering curriculum, with a CTO track. To us, this deal is akin to Tony Stark getting the arc reactor in his Ironman suit so he can take off to save the world. It became clear that David and Nimit, the co-founders of Fullstack Academy, understood The Starter League in a way nobody else did. We were aggressive about working with them because of that energy and connection. You can read more about it here.
As for Mike and I — we’ll be helping Fullstack to facilitate this transition. I’ll be hands on, getting operations off the ground, and infusing Fullstack with the energy and culture that we’ve built over the last five years. Mike is helping as well but in a different way. He’ll be catching his breath after a five-year sprint. And he’ll be working with me to share our legacy and lessons learned over the past nine years of working together.
What does this mean for you?
None of this would be possible without all of you amazing Starters. You are and always will be Starter League alumni. You’re pioneers. You tried something before anyone else would. You took a chance on something that was unproven and unfounded. You helped instigate the creation of an entire industry. We’re proud of that and hope you are too. You are our investors, and we will forever be indebted to you for choosing us. You put your lives and careers on the line by trusting us.
In the coming months, you’ll find me spending most days in 1871 (I don’t think they’ll let me use the razor scooter anymore but we’ll see). We’ve come full circle and will be launching our classes in 1871’s new expanded space. And of course, you’ll find Mike during your next bar crawl, concert, or bowling session on any given night. We’re here for all of you now and always. And we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve been able to accomplish together over the past five years.
Here’s to you Starters, thank you for everything and look forward to even more from your friendly neighborhood co-founders.
Neal + Mike