Ne-Yo Invests $2,300,000 Into Coding School

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

R&B singer and producer Ne-Yo is stepping into the tech space and has invested $2.3 million into the Holberton School for full-stack engineers. Ne-Yo hopes to help people from underrepresented groups learn to code.

“Everybody knows that tech and all these things are the wave of the future,” Ne-Yo told Tech Crunch. “I just love the fact of what they’re doing with the school—that they’re making it easier for underrepresented people in the world of tech. They’re giving them a platform and access to this knowledge that they probably wouldn’t get otherwise. I think that’s one of the coolest things about this whole situation.”

How the school makes it easier is by not charging tuition up front. But after students get a job, the school asks for 17 percent of their salary for the first three years. Holberton’s programs are face-to-face, last two years and are not part of a fast-paced boot camp program.


Ne-Yo said he didn’t invest in the school for recognition or praise but because diversifying tech is important.

“This is not, ‘Oh, let me attach my name to something.’ This is something that I’m genuinely passionate about,” he told me. “You know, diversifying the tech world. Tech is changing the world by the second, so it makes sense to get the people that live in the world to be part of this thing that’s changing it, as opposed to just this one group of people.”

Holberton’s current class is 40 percent female and 53 percent people of color.

Bye, Kinja! It's been fun (occasionally).

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Lady Commentariat

This is a really interesting funding model and I’m curious how final cost compares to comparable bootcamps or more traditional schooling of similiar duration. (Not to say that if it turns out to cost more, it isn’t worth it as some people have no choice but to defer all upfront costs given their situation. At at least they don’t pay until they find a job, and the pay is on a sliding scale which is more than traditional college students or bootcamp attendees can say.)

Their educational approach seems solid (given the lack of real detail online—you have to give them your name and email to get the syllabus), but I wish their website had graduate job placement statistics.

People with friends and family living in commutable distances will have a leg up because housing in SF is no joke.