How ISA's Entered the Mass Market w/ Kush Patel (CEO of App Academy)

Kush Patel, Founder & CEO of App Academy, and I discuss the history of App Academy and how Income Share Agreements (ISA's) entered the mass market and kickstarted the Coding Bootcamp revolution. We also discuss the role that career accelerators and other bootcamps will play in the role of economic recovery given the recent outbreak of COVID-19. App Academy: https://www.appacademy.io/ Virtually: https://tryvirtually.com/ Music: R.O.A.S.N by Gil Wanders.

NOTE: The following transcript was AI-generated and likely contains many errors.


App Academy (Kush Patel)
Kush: [00:00:00] Five hours on top of that, and you'd be putting in close to a hundred hours a week I mean, I literally dreamed in code.  it was wild. I never thought anything like that could happen 
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[00:00:08]Ish: [00:00:08] What's up everybody? My name is Ish and I am the founder of virtually, and this is the virtually podcast where we discuss everything online education, including higher ed, online trade schools, bootcamps, ISA, , and so much more. . 
[00:00:22]This week's conversation was with kush patel We talked about the founding of app Academy, which may very well go down in history as a major turning point for education. Specifically, we talked about the very first income share agreement that hit the mass markets and kickstarted the coding bootcamp revolution. This conversation was absolutely fascinating and i hope you enjoy it as much as i did  
[00:00:46]Hey, everybody.  My name is Ish and I'm the founder and CEO of virtually, and I'm joined today by Kush Patel, the founder and CEO of app Academy.
[00:00:55] Kush, would you be able to introduce yourself real quick.
[00:00:59] Kush: [00:00:59] Hey folks. I'm, I'm happy to join the program today. I, I've been running app Academy for the past almost eight years now. And, yeah, I hope to be able to share, some, some insights about the bootcamp marketing software during the market.
[00:01:15] Ish: [00:01:15] Yeah, that sounds exciting. And we're going to get into app Academy a lot more, to actually start us off. I think for helpful context for the audience, today the date is April 9th, and we are very much in the thick of things when it comes to the coronavirus and the quarantine thing.
[00:01:30] And so that is going to be a big kind of focus and kind of topic for us to discuss, especially about higher ed bootcamps and the implications of all these different programs moving forward, especially given the fact that 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the month of March alone. and we're all, we're all going to get to that, but right now I would love to go back to June, 2008 so at June, 2008, I believe at this point, you were in Mumbai, India, is that correct?
[00:01:57] Kush: [00:01:57] Yes, correct.
[00:01:58] Ish: [00:01:58] Okay. So could you tell us what you were doing there? Wow.
[00:02:02] Kush: [00:02:02] Yeah, so that was actually, There was an internship that I had a junior year of college. those may, that was a hedge fund job. So I was, I was doing like, multi-strategy value investing. So, investing across all different kinds of asset classes, mostly equities, across a broad, different portfolio of, of, of, industries. I focused on real estate, financial, so banks mostly. but, yeah, well, looked at a lot of different kinds of companies. But, yeah, that was, that was my first, I kind of had edge fund internship and, and, and, got me into the hedge fund industry. So ultimately ended up joining that company after college as well.
[00:02:37] But, 2008 was a very exciting time to be, in the, in the equities markets. the  2008 great recession, was, was kind of unfolding. you know, as, as that internship was, was happening, that, it, you know, to have a front row seat for, you know, to that, to, to, to have that be the, they kind of come back down context for this.
[00:02:55]you know, markets, education for me was, this was pretty exciting.
[00:03:00] Ish: [00:03:00] no, totally. And again, it's interesting to reflect on the 2008 crisis and kind of all the implications that had for education and then also come and look at, you know, the current crisis and what the implications are there. But I'm really quick, curious about, I guess. How did your experience in Mumbai kind of shape you?
[00:03:17] What were the big learnings and how would that ultimately lead you to start app Academy?
[00:03:23] Kush: [00:03:23] Sure. So, I've learned, I learned a ton, at that, at that job. So a lot of it was, I had the chance to sit down with, with CEOs, all day long and ask them questions about how, you know, they, they ran their business, how they saw the future outlook, how, you know, they were positioning themselves, et cetera.
[00:03:38]and, and really getting kind of in the . Into the weeds of it. So, from that angle, you know, I think that was kind of my crash course MBA, to some, to some extent. I also had a chance to sit on the board of some of some public companies there and, and see that kind of in the, the, the, you know, kind of from a firsthand point of view how boards should be run, what could go wrong, how to, all the, all the kind of, Background stuff that you never really read in the business school textbooks, if you will. So, that, that was a great learning opportunity for me. I think also just, being in that, that, you know, fast forwarding a little bit to, to, you know, after college when I was doing that full time, Seeing all the opportunity that was there, both in the emerging markets.
[00:04:17] So it was, I was in India goes mate, this huge opportunity, and this was before the second wave of tech had really taken off there. So before the web, I guess two or 3.0 you can call it really, really took off there. So, so a lot of low home recruits, one of opportunities are there, but, but also got a, got a chance to see, kind of the ways that entrepreneurs would go and tackle booze, tackle those.
[00:04:39]opportunities very differently. and then folks kind of start to build a business in the us, but, still very, realistic to be able to start a company there, which somehow made it real in my mind. So I, I, you know, I think it was always this thing that I thought, Oh, I know, I don't really understand how a person could start a company.
[00:04:56] Like, it seems like this big, this huge undertaking, but, it's certainly become a lot, a lot realer to me. And, and, I think that's where also that pretty excited about starting my own thing.
[00:05:06] Ish: [00:05:06] Yeah. And so while this was going on, were you thinking that, Hey, after this I want to start a company, or do you just kind of stumble across it.
[00:05:13] Kush: [00:05:13] Yeah. So I think I kind of developed that desire, to some extent while I was on the job. So I think, you know, meeting all those CEOs and getting a sense of, you know, what was actually involved in it. You know, company building was a big piece of it. it was that I was lucky enough to be born into a family where my dad, was, was an entrepreneur.
[00:05:31] So he worked as an engineer for a couple of decades and then he went out and kind of, you know, hung up his own shingle, you know, starting a company. So, having that partner center there as a child, also was very helpful and made it, and also, gave me the support of my parents in making this leap, which is a big thing that I, that I don't take for granted.
[00:05:51] Ish: [00:05:51] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I know, I know in our last conversation you said you were feeling homesick, and so I believe the year is 2012 that you decide to return to the United States. Is that correct?
[00:06:02] Kush: [00:06:02] Yeah. I think it was basically ended cause we haven't like just the beginning of 2012. Yeah. So at that point I was starting to, you know, my friends, family, everybody I knew was halfway across the world. I, I definitely made some, some, some really great friends in, in India, but, you know, the folks that I've grown up with, they were all.
[00:06:19] Mostly back in the U S so, at that time, I, you know, I, at that point had been at the hedge fund for, you know, almost three years or so, and on a fair amount of experience there with spree niche, this niche job, which was investing in India, specifically in financials and real estate. So, so I thought I'd felt this expertise here.
[00:06:37] I'd always go back to if I, if I want to, but let me, let me take another risk and, and, and jump. You know, back to back to the U S and specifically into the game, just go Barea and, and specifically into the startup flexing there. So, It's a catalyst for me actually moving back, to, to, the U S was a hacker news post.
[00:06:55] So this was a hacker news post by the founder of dev bootcamp, which, basically kicked off. I'd say that the coding boot camp, revolutions, and this was, you know, guy offering. Note the post on, you know, just, you know, his interest in teaching folks how to code. he was, he was charging a pretty small amount upfront and, and he was also saying, Hey, you know, for the folks that were interested in getting a job, that he would actually refund the money if he was actually able to place people into that job, and, and, and earn the recruitment fee.
[00:07:24] So for myself, I didn't really have an interest in. you know, pursuing a software development job. But I, at my hedge fund job, and actually before college had seen per se, and the power of supply engineering. So, you know, a few computer science classes in college, but then also being able to hook up, you know, BBA scripts that could automate workflows.
[00:07:43]you know. Pull data, analyze it, you know, spit it out again, that kind stuff, you know, pretty easy scripting kind of stuff. showed me how, how, how powerful software could be. So I was pretty excited about checking it at that point. It was, again, it was an eight week course, so it would course, you know, and it was like one guy, that was running the entire company, teaching everything, do everything.
[00:08:03] So, it was, you know, it was a lot cheaper as well. Back then it was about 6,000 bucks, I believe. But, Yeah, no, it was, it was, got me pretty excited. And, I actually took that, with, with my brother as well.  once I saw the posting, he was the one that I recommended to first Keene road, and then I thought, Oh wait, wait a second.
[00:08:19] I think this may be a fit for myself as well. So, we both, took the course actually along with
[00:08:24] about 18 other folks.
[00:08:26] Ish: [00:08:26] So,  just for, I guess, context, you had never really done, you've maybe taken computer science classes here and there, but you weren't a software engineer.
[00:08:34] Kush: [00:08:34] Yeah, correct. Yeah. No, so I had an experience. I believe actually nobody in that course, had, you know, like any form of software during the experience. So yeah, he was taking folks from all over and, yeah, it, it was a  pretty exciting time. It, it was 20 folks, and I think of those 20 about.
[00:08:50] 10 to 15 have started companies that are, you know, fairly successful. So, let me say it was a really interesting group of folks that, that decided to sign up for that course.
[00:08:59] Ish: [00:08:59] Yeah, and it's actually crazy that you mentioned that hacker news post a while preparing for this. I actually found it. I stumbled across
[00:09:05] it and I actually love to read it right now. so the post was actually posted. it looks like November 22nd, 2011. Does that sound about right?
[00:09:14] Kush: [00:09:14] Yes. Yeah.
[00:09:16] Ish: [00:09:16] Okay, well here's, here's what the post says.
[00:09:18] Want to become a web developer? Are you based in the Bay area? Can you take next February and March off? I want to teach six people Ruby on rails from scratch, hands-on in person five days a week for eight weeks. No computer science background required. There is such a high demand for good Ruby devs right now.
[00:09:38] I'm willing to invest my time, money, energy upfront to get you in good enough shape to land a job as a junior rails developer, I will line up several companies that would be very interested in interviewing with you. If you get the job with any of them, they'll pay me your tuition so you get the training for free.
[00:09:54] What do you think now? Is that the post you're referencing.
[00:09:58] Kush: [00:09:58] Yup. No, that's it.
[00:10:00] Ish: [00:10:00] Wow. Yeah, I, you know, it's, it's crazy because I actually do think that like, we're going to look back on this post maybe 20 years from now, maybe 50 years from now. But I think that post was the first time I had ever seen the ISA model leverage in software engineering.
[00:10:14] And in the recent years we've really seen kind of what impact that's have had and it'll continue to have an impact, at least what I think. 
[00:10:22]Kush: [00:10:22] just, just a clarification there is that they actually, interestingly enough to use an ISA, they just use a traditional , like most of it's just paid, I think if it was like five or 6,000 bucks, and then, what coding schools used to do back then was that. they will develop partnerships with companies and they would earn recruiting fees by placing those students at those companies.
[00:10:40] And if they were able to under, could you feed them to refund back the student that tuition fee, this, this started to become less and less possible as companies would stop paying recording fees for junior developers as the number of graduates from bootcamps and computer science programs increase. But, this, this actually was not, it was not an ISA, but, it.
[00:11:01] I would say, it is, it is as important as, as, as you're making it out to be, because it did basically kick off the, the coding boot camp revolution.
[00:11:09] Ish: [00:11:09] Yes. That's, that's an excellent point. It had characteristics, but it wasn't quite there. It was just a part of the puzzle. So you go through this program, it must have been, I guess, early 2012 at this point. what was your experience with the program?
[00:11:22] Kush: [00:11:22] Yeah. I had a fantastic time. I mean, this was my first experience with immersive education. So I usually done traditional academia where you have, you know, six or seven different things you're setting and you kind of keeping track of it. Few different streams and it's over multiple years that you ain't gained any sort of level of mastery versus, okay, this is the only thing you're going to do and you're going to do it for, you know, 10 hours a day in class.
[00:11:46] And then plus everybody in that class was very much a self service that you do it on there. Five hours on top of that, and you'd be putting in close to a hundred hours a week and you would start to, I mean, I literally dreamed in code. It was, it was wild. I never thought anything like that could happen, but, but it, you know, my, my, my ability to pick up some trail was.
[00:12:08] Was, it just happened so rapidly that I could see myself progressing from not really knowing much to being able to build kind of full fledged startup MVPs. So not full fledge applications, you know, at the level of a fund in series C company or something. Right. But, but, but if full-fledged, you know, MVP that you could bring to market and have a lot of functionality.
[00:12:28] So, that, that was just, that was, that was really exciting. but the people in the class were awesome. I, yeah, I mean, it, it, I think it does take a certain kind of person to respond to a random post on the internet and say, yeah, sure, let me spend thousands of dollars on this, on something that's totally unproven and, you know, jump in.
[00:12:47] Sure. Why not? And, and, and sacrifice two months of my time. Right. So, . There was definitely some self selection there. The dev bootcamp founder for the first class was fairly selective. so there was some, some, some, you know, kind of combination of factors that were going on there that led to this. But, it was awesome.
[00:13:04] You know, there were people in there that, I've been great friends with since, you know, since that time. So, that was awesome. And then lastly, you know, I, I saw that it worked. Right? So that's, that's kind of crazy. You got to see the gas supply demand. Imbalance in a very visceral way. Right. There was like these people that, you know, there's a Starbucks barista and the opposite software engineer, like after the ethnic course, right?
[00:13:27] I mean, and it was a matter of, I think, less than six months. So, doubling or tripling his, his, his, his, his salary. So, That just for me, the opportunity that existed there and, and it was a large opportunity. I, I, I didn't think it was one that was going to be addressed just by,  particular offering.
[00:13:43] so, my kind of sense in a sense, an opening there.
[00:13:48]Ish: [00:13:48] that's absolutely incredible. And so you're going through this program and does something just click inside of you, did something just go off and you think, wow, this is, this is an incredible program. There should be something like this for more people.
[00:14:00] Kush: [00:14:00] Yeah. So that, that happened pretty soon after the course that, you know, I think for me it was actually . The course finishing. And then folks starting to get jobs pretty quickly and seeing that happen so quickly and saying, well, these people, I mean, this can be anybody and any, any, you know, underemployed, hardworking, you know, a student could be, you know, compete this person.
[00:14:21] So, that, that was a thing that, that, that really. Got myself and my co founder really thinking about, Hey, maybe there's opportunity in this space. And, and you know, there's a way for us to do things, pretty differently. As a customer of dev boot camp, I had some pretty strong opinions about what went really well and other things where I got theirs.
[00:14:39] If there was a path to building a different kind of school that, that, that had its own particular set of, advantages.
[00:14:48] Ish: [00:14:48] Yeah. Could you tell me about, also a little bit about your co founder, how you two met and I guess decided to start working on app Academy.
[00:14:54] Kush: [00:14:54] Yeah. So he was, a very good friend of mine from the first year of college. So I had, at that point known him for, you know, at that five years, a little bit more than five years at that point. So, we were great friends. He was a year above me in college, and he was, he was, not only was he kind of just like, you know, Like quantitative. you know, I would say maybe you're going across the board, like basically genius, like certifiable genius. but he was just this awesome person that had this like fire in his belly to actually teach people. He couldn't help but transmit his knowledge to each other folks. And he loved it.
[00:15:27] And, and, you know, I, I. You know in my, you know, kind of desire  , to, to grow as a mathematician or computer scientist or whatever I was learning in school. you know, w would have to work on problem sets with him and get his advice and, and, found him to be a very natural teacher, at that, at that time.
[00:15:43] So, we, yeah. Developed this pretty close friendship, at that time and had kind of taken it forward until then. And, you know, for his part after, after he graduated, with a, actually a math degree, not a computer science degree. He went and he taught computer science at the grad school there. we, we both met at the university of Chicago, so that's where he was at.
[00:16:03]then he came over to Silicon Valley. the data scientist was last at Google. working on Google's search index team. So it was a one of their, you know, basically strongest teams, as a, as a data scientist and just wasn't, he, you know, he wasn't too happy with the previous company, kind of culture there, but so, so that's what led us to start to think about, Hey, you know, this startup license seems for an interesting for us.
[00:16:26] And, actually the, the, the funny thing is we, we, we kind of viewed it as, You know, Hey, if we like this performing, of course in this industry, it, you know, here it seems interesting. We think we have some promising ways to enter this market. So, so one wasn't the income share agreement. another was to build a brand around rigor and quality.
[00:16:46] and I selectively, And, and, and we had some ideas there about, about building a specific kind of school and we thought, Hey, worst thing that happens is we achieve some phones, you know, some, some, some software injury. And if it doesn't work out, then Hey, you know, maybe we, we lost some time, but at least we got to work on this idea with one of our closest friends.
[00:17:04] So, that's kind of how we, I was odd and I think, I think that was a big piece of what. main things actually work out quite well was that, both of us really valued our own friendship more than the startup initially. I think that's strangely enough from what kept it, kept the startup together, in that early time when I think co-founder disagreements and frictions and options splinter, they started.
[00:17:24] Ish: [00:17:24] No, that makes total sense. And I guess a question that keeps coming back to my head is, I guess while you have the idea for this program, do you go to the person who ran your program and do you say like, Hey, this is a really awesome idea. I'd love to help you take it to the next level.
[00:17:37] Kush: [00:17:37] Yeah, so the ideas that I had. That's cool. We're so different than the actual vision that he had for his school that that conversation didn't make sense. I did give him a heads up that has, you know, I'm looking to start the school. Maybe there's a way to work together, Henry, but, you know, I think the, the school that he was building, it was kind of a, a mass market school where, you know, he was accepting 50% plus students.
[00:18:01]you know. But he was, you know, weakening his focus on job outcomes. So, so it was more about brand and image, you know, et cetera that he was on versus a specific job outcome, which, which we were really focused on. and then, you know, tuition wise, he was really focused on how do I grow cash tuition, fast revenues, very rapidly, and the income shared with him and his.
[00:18:19] The wrong way to do that. it, it, it really delays those, those, those cash payments until, until later. So, it just taught for various reason, didn't align with his vision or on the school.
[00:18:30] Ish: [00:18:30] Okay. That makes sense. And so, you know, given these differences, you guys decided to kind of part ways you and your co founders started talking. it's now about June, 2012 and this is when I believe app Academy starts. Do you guys raise capital at this point?
[00:18:44] Kush: [00:18:44] No. So we, we actually took a very kind of experimental way or say, lean way of approaching this. So, we, we said, Hey, you know, the way they can campus lunch, was it a hacker news post less launched the same way. So we did, we did a little bit more. We had it, we had a website, but, you know, we, we said, Hey, let's put this in front of folks. let's teach a beta class that there'd been a class which is free for, for folks. There was no Isaiah or anything. There was just no, no fee at all. it was actually in iOS, that, that, that we were teaching it and we want to just see, Hey, are we able to kind of teach folks and train them to be able to get jobs as ILS junior engineers?
[00:19:19] So, that, that was the experiment that we ran. We had ways of keeping the cost very low. So I ran all of the. Yeah. Basically everything outside of the classroom, plus some of the logistical stuff in the classroom. And my cofounder did the degree teaching. So, we, we, you know, ask folks to kind of bring in laptops and whatnot.
[00:19:37] We had, at least since I've just go at that point. It's funny, but it was, the, the rent for that office space was 2000 bucks a month, and we were able to fit 20 students in there. So, you know, we. We didn't, we didn't end up raising money and, and you know, I think all told, we ended up putting together or putting into the business less than about $10,000 of our own savings to kind of get things started.
[00:19:56] But, yeah, we, we, we try to keep it very lean and, and, and, and kind of, internet. So, you know, just having to kind of kick things off that way instead of going the traditional route and looking for that for the Capitol.
[00:20:08] Ish: [00:20:08] Yeah, I love that. And I mean like, it's easy to kind of look back on it and you know, it sounds like it, it was instant product market fit. Did it feel like that?
[00:20:17]Kush: [00:20:17] it did , you know, we did, you know, I'd say towards the end of that year, I ended up to us in 12 when, When w when we were trying to fill the second class, feel, feel some difficulty in terms of getting that, you know, off the ground and, , you know, there was some, there was some pain there, but I think once we were able to really communicate the income share agreement to the market, and they would get that out there on time through acronyms.
[00:20:38] So on the front page for a day, equities was done. you know, quite a bit first. so, so, so that, Once we were able to communicate that, that income share agreement. Yeah. So saw a fair amount of kind of interest there and, and, and even press, you know, excited about this new way of, funding integration.
[00:20:55] Ish: [00:20:55] That's really fascinating. And I know you said that this kind of program that you had gone through had a lot of, like a lot of kind of components of an ISA, but it wasn't quite an ISA. At what point did you kind of piece together and realize that like an ISA was even feasible in terms of like a business model.
[00:21:10] Kush: [00:21:10] Yeah. So we, we saw that even though, so in temple, Kim's model was that we're only going to refund you if we're able to place you in a partner company. Now that only works for like 10 to 20% of students. So, you know, it's only those, that percentage percentage of students that are, that are getting that refund.
[00:21:27] But the, the thing that we thought that, that, that also resonated with students the most was that. 80% 90% of them were getting jobs and that and that. We thought once that student gets that job, then they're going to be happy to pay. So, so we kind of searched out together and say, Hey, you know, if we really believe in this model, if we believe that it can get students jobs, then we should put our money where it mounts are.
[00:21:50] And what better way to do that then then to tie not only to their job success, but literally to, to to the dollar and cents of their specific income. And so, Hey, we will make our tuition exactly aligned to what, what salary you are making. So that, that's kinda how we probably came up with that.
[00:22:06]Ish: [00:22:06] that's incredible. And I imagine you probably face some regulatory hurdles, right? I, you know, in our previous conversation, you talked about that. Could you share more about that here?
[00:22:16] Kush: [00:22:16] Sure. So the, the income share agreement does not fit the specific mold of how tuition, you know. quote, unquote, should be charged, according to the, to the, you know, state regulators in, in, in California, in New York, which are our primary markets, at least for in-person program. But the online program we do, we do serve students across, across the U S actually across the world.
[00:22:38] So, but, but you know, our initial stages when, you know, in 2013 when we only had, you know, the, the afterschool and your campus, we were trying to get these programs approved by the state regulators. And. Unfortunately, the, the, the, they just had outdated, you know, kind of regulations that they were, that they had to enforce that didn't allow for a straight up ISA.
[00:23:00] So we, we spent multiple years kind of working with them to try to get . a traditional straight ISA kind of passed through the, through the, through the regulator, we were unable to do that, you know, in the, kind of the purest form of a, of a traditional kind of percentage, of, of, of income. So, we did come up with a, with a, you know, a, a contract mechanism that does allow us to effectively have, have an income stream for me, but, it's a little bit complicated and it's not, not as straight forward as we'd like it to be, but, The New York state regulator is moving forward and being fairly flexible in that the income share agreement from California, we had some optimism that they were going to be changing their, their lost actually account for the income share agreement. That said, it looks like the. Distress being placed on the state legislature by the current of virus, essentially, it means that they won't get as much of a chance to, you know, look at that law, and that laws for the state and as you come up for renewal every five years or so.
[00:24:00] So, that, yeah, hoping that, that, we can pass something through this time, but if not, then, then we'll pass it then. Yeah. Over the next five years.
[00:24:08] Ish: [00:24:08] No, I do want to stress how impressive all of this is. Because, you know, if we actually think about where we are today, there are a lot of tools, a lot of companies working in this space. And to actually start like an ISA back to bootcamp is a lot easier than back in 2012 so I, I, you know, I am just fascinated by this story, how you guys decided to build from scratch and fight all these regulatory hurdles to get through and kind of get this icing metal up and running.
[00:24:32] And you know, if we actually do kind of fast forward to today, I'm going to list off a bunch of companies that are using ISA as a, as a financing vehicle. And it is really. Astounding how quickly it spread after app Academy launch. So, we, you know, a lot of the audience, vendor members have probably heard of Lambda school.
[00:24:47] There's also blockchain, sharpest minds placement path rise, creator school on Delta, and more and more came to keep seeming to pop up. but one kind of trend that I've noticed is that they seem to be all primarily focused around tech. do you think it'll ever expand beyond that? Yeah.
[00:25:06] Kush: [00:25:06] Yeah, I think that, so actually, the fact that that's not that well known is that about 50 colleges and universities are piloting income share agreement program. So, and they're doing it across all majors. So, and these are, you know, some, some of the biggest names that have announced Purdue is probably the biggest one.
[00:25:24]Other colleges that, you know, haven't formally announced, but it's fairly well known in the market. So ASU, Arizona state, so it was another name. And so you're starting to see very large, you know. Very old institutions move to this, did a pretty exciting tuition model and I think that's going to be a big piece of what, what takes a lot of education and financing onto the income share agreement model.
[00:25:46] The reason that I think you've seen it take off like wildfire is that I'm assuming it is just a superior way of financing their education. There. There are some potential downsides and you are seeing some, some I providers be a little bit exploitative in the how they. They, they set up their ISA. They have very long payback periods.
[00:26:05] They have have, have a high enough percentage of salary that they're essentially assured that they're going to get paid back their entire tuition as opposed to actually whisk sharing with the student. You know, Hey, if I, if you don't get this, you know, significantly better job and what I'm putting quickly, I don't get paid at all.
[00:26:22] They're kind of losing track of that. But if you're talking about a, a country missional, I say in the way that it, quote unquote, should be done. I think you're, you're, you're going to see the students pulling that from, from, education. institutions of all kinds. And, and, we, we saw that in the early days were a lot of our students, you know, potential applicants would go to other schools and say, Hey, why don't you offer the same deal?
[00:26:45] Abogada me, you know, they're, they're offering something, some basically some more pressing, and they're actually willing to stand behind their education, don't you believe in your education. and I think that's a very powerful statement. And, and I think other folks are having to figure out ways to, to kind of make sure that they have a, an answer for them.
[00:27:03] Ish: [00:27:03] Yeah, no, that's, that's really fascinating. And I just love the model where it aligns  incentives between institutions and students, where at the end of the day, if you don't deliver, if you say like you're going to deliver these results, you actually don't, and the student doesn't have to pay. And it, to me, I think this is one of the biggest innovations in the last hundred years.
[00:27:22] And. Higher education and we'll have to see how this unfolds. Especially now more than ever, how we're seeing a lot of transformation before I actually do get to Cova 19 because I think that that'll be a really interesting topic. Discussion. I do want to, you mentioned that you had an on-campus kind of experience in San Francisco as well as the on campus program in New York.
[00:27:41] At what point do you introduce the online program?
[00:27:45] Kush: [00:27:45] Yeah. So we sort of work on the online program. Back in 2017 we, we did various kinds of experiments, and, and actually launched the course out of beta, over 2019. So, that, that was when we launched it into the market. And, today. You know, represents a very significant fraction of our, of our enrollments.
[00:28:03]I wouldn't be surprised if that represents the majority of our enrollments, by the end of this year.
[00:28:09] Ish: [00:28:09] Wow. That, yeah, that is really fascinating. And, we definitely have seen kind of a trend towards kind of these online trade schools and it's been really awesome to see app Academy adopt that. so, you know, currently it's 2020. I'd love to hear you talk about. App Academy, reflecting on the last eight years, what can you share about, I guess the  number of students who've gone to the program?
[00:28:28]what are the outcomes been?  anything you can share would be helpful.
[00:28:32] Kush: [00:28:32] Sure. Yeah. So, since, since we started, I believe it's North of about 3000 students that have been able to graduate from, from African bees full time course. we've had students in our part time courses, et cetera. Those are included. And these numbers of the students that are completing their, their, their job search, these, so I believe it's about, so over those 3000 students, it's really consistently about 95% of students are, are able to find jobs as software engineers, making more than, 50,000, New York, and at least 60,000 in the attempt to scale.
[00:29:05] And this is within 12 months of graduation. So, so we do have a pretty high bar for what counts as a job. Policemen, Make less than that, or if you find a job too late, we don't actually count you as a placement. even though that that may be a meaningful kind of change in your life.
[00:29:20] Ish: [00:29:20] That's incredible. And I do wanna apply to you and your team for kind of building this incredible company. and so I guess this, this is probably a good leeway to kind of now getting to. Modern day as in covert 19. So it looks like we're a month into the quarantine Ang and the self isolation. and there's been a huge spike in interest for ad tech, especially considering one, you know, there's all these school closures and so schools, teachers, professors have to kind of adopt.
[00:29:49] Online learning, but also for the 10 million Americans who have now filed for unemployment. And so what I'm really curious about is what role do you think online boot camps will play in the recovery of the economy?
[00:30:01] Kush: [00:30:01] Yeah. So I think you will see as folks start to look at different retraining auctions, they won't look at bootcamps in non traditional kind of educational providers much more seriously than they have before. I think the content, even before coven 19 happened. Hmm. There's been much more talk about the student loan debt classes than there ever has before.
[00:30:26] I don't think you've ever seen, even if you've tracked that, the democratic presidential debates, this was a point of conversation, even at that level. So, so this is really a part of the national conversation where people are really starting to ask the question, is callers the right fit for everybody? Is it too expensive?
[00:30:40] Is it really meeting the needs of, you know, again, X, Y, Z person that, that, that. That might be enrolling. So, I think that that background context plus this. Yup. Galvanizing force that is called . is going to kind of push a lot of folks into the, these non-educational train providers. I think, this is where, a lot of people are, a lot of schools are going to have the chance to really prove that they are real engines of, of, job creation and job placement.
[00:31:07] So, I think you're going to see large kind of educational institutions get, get built over the next few years.
[00:31:15] Ish: [00:31:15] Yeah, absolutely. And I think at now it's, we're coming to realize it's not even just college students. There's a lot of people in industry like travel, hospitality, retail, local businesses, that I'm not going to have a place to return to after this crisis ends. And so they're going to need to completely retrain.
[00:31:31] For new  industries that are preferably prone to global epidemics and can provide remote work.  and, and so this brings up the question . A lot of these people, they don't have the time for  spending, going back to school, retraining for two to four years, get a holistic education just so they can land a drop, maybe land a job while also racking up hundreds of thousand dollars of debt.
[00:31:52] And so with this, did, do you think that we'll start to see the spawning of a lot of trade schools given that. They're very kind of accessible. If they're online too, if they're, if they're a trade school, there'll be very quick, right? Rather than spending two to four years to train, you'll probably learn an industry skill within six months.
[00:32:12] And the last thing, if they actually use the ISA model it'll be completely risk free.
[00:32:17] Kush: [00:32:17] Yeah. So I, I do think that that you will see, programs even from universities start to start to meet this, this demand for shorter form courses, right? So there's this, there's this question of why I think when you look at the structure of a traditional university, there are a bunch of, if you can think from first principles, there are a bunch of questions that pop in your head.
[00:32:38] One of the questions is why every single degree four years. Like once you take the same amount of time to learn chemical engineering as it does to learn history. I 
[00:32:47] Ish: [00:32:47] You hit it on the head. I that that question gets my blood boiling. Like it was, it was posed to me, I think just a couple of months ago, and as soon as it hit me, it hit, it hit me like a brick. I could not get over the fact that it makes no sense that every single degree has the same requirements. And to a degree, it almost seemed like the, you know, as this is a, as a vehicle for universities to  create a standardized education and maximize profits.
[00:33:13] Kush: [00:33:13] Yeah, exactly. No, so, and that's exactly the, the incentive, that's a play there. I think I spoke, see fairly large, you know, kind of opportunities to, to, to, In a skill, the students in essence, from, from, from some universities, and as the, as, as folks are more open to those nontraditional educational environment, actors, I think you will see pretty quick shifts.
[00:33:36]universities already have started partnering with external providers to, to, to offer their different bootcamps, interest certificates. I think you'll, you'll see that grow. that's one area that we're tracking pretty closely.
[00:33:49] Ish: [00:33:49] Yeah,  that makes a lot of sense.  another conversation that I've had been having with a lot of other founders of bootcamps is the fact that a big reason that  coding boot camps are so appealing is because you can double or triple your salary. And that's kind of why a lot of boot camps in stayed in tech are right now more than ever, people aren't looking to double or triple their salary, they're just looking for a job.
[00:34:09] And so it seems like this could be the imperatives for boot camps to expand beyond just tech. And now we'll see kind of training for all sorts of jobs where it's like, Hey. You know, your industry doesn't exist anymore, but now we can train you to land a job in this new industry. Do you think that will happen.
[00:34:25] Kush: [00:34:25] Yeah. I think there are, there are some things that make software enduring. Much easier, and, and related tech skills, much easier to, to, to kind of form a bootcamp around. So, I think you, and, and let me just quickly enumerate though, so one is that, the industry is much more open to nontraditional folks than other industries.
[00:34:43] So before bootcamps even started, 40% of software jurors were, were self trained. But even though the computer science school exists, almost half of folks in this industry where we're coming from left field essentially, right? So it has a very skills based hiring process. It's still, you know, it's got a bunch of biases that are baked into it, but it's still, compared to many other jobs, it's much more skill based and much less credential based.
[00:35:07]that's not true of many other. professions, you may see that shit. But, so that's one. One is, another is that it is very equipment, like, right? You don't have to, you don't have to have a bunch of equipment, at your home to be able to learn how to become a software engineer. And the same way that to be a healthcare professional order mechanic or, you know, any number of these other fields, You actually need the physical equipment. So, and perhaps we're sure reality they are, can, can help bridge that. I'm not sure. I mean it really depends on the specific field, but, and, and, you know, and then lastly, we probably just be the, the insane demand that there is for software engineers. Would that just scissors a strong second of growth behind it?
[00:35:42] And. Many of the fields that have that strong secular multi decade growth behind it actually do have some component of tech to them. So, I think you will see expansion around the skills that, that, that, that becomes a training folks towards. But I think they will be, I Jason to, to check, at least, at least initially.
[00:36:02] Ish: [00:36:02] Yeah,  that does make a lot of sense. And, I know we are running out of time, but I kind of wanted to, you know, wrap up with,  thinking beyond bootcamps, thinking beyond ISA  and coding schools, what other lasting impact do you think of it 19 will have on education as a whole?
[00:36:20] Kush: [00:36:20] Sure. So I think you will see rapidly a homeschooling accelerate. so I think some that some folks are surprised about is that even before coven, 19 5% of us, K-12 students who were homeschooled. It's already a very high percentage, and most of those students are not being homeschooled because of religious impetus, which, which is the other kind of a bias that folks have against homeschooling.
[00:36:43] So I think you'll see significant growth there. You'll also see significant growth in companies like out school that offer programs that can supplement  essentially the deficiencies of homeschooling. I think another area where you will need to see a lot of innovation is. in, in programs, events, you know, products that can connect, connect students, especially K-12 scenes to each other in, in, in the real world because they will be lacking that.
[00:37:10] And that's a very, that's social, emotional learning is a very important component of what you do in K-12 education. So, that's, that's one that I think will be pretty exciting. I think, you know, you will definitely see rapid acceleration growth of, even, you know, asynchronous non-job. Outcome focus, online education, right?
[00:37:29] So you'll see a development of learning management systems. you'll see content creation. You'll see, even just . Even maybe just, just a lie. They synchronis you know, and that kind of course, what we think doesn't have a gun, but outcome guarantee, marketplaces, you know, increased number of courses there.
[00:37:44] I, I, I think you will see kind of explosion there. So, that's, that's pretty exciting. I think, yeah, I think you'll feel a lot of, lot of changes to be in the, in the, in the education space.
[00:37:55] Ish: [00:37:55] Yeah. And it'll be really exciting to kind of unfold and also see all the innovators in the space, the startups that are going to emerge. It seems like every time there's a crisis like this, it definitely accelerates education. I think the last crisis we had, you dummy Coursera, you, Udacity were born.
[00:38:11] It'll be really interesting to see what startups kind of emerge now. But, yeah. With that, I guess that wraps up our conversation. This was really fun. Kush. Thank you so much for coming on. Is there anything that you'd like to share, I guess, with the listeners in terms of where they can learn more about app Academy and or yourself
[00:38:27] Kush: [00:38:27] Sure. Yeah. So, A thanks. Can just go to our website to app Academy. Dot. IO, to, to, to learn more about our school. we actually have our entire curriculum online for free, available@open.app Academy. I also, it's a multi thousand hour curriculum. It will take you from not knowing anything to entry level software engineer and, No worries. If the only reason you're looking at that is to get a flavor of software and journeys even for you, or whether app time is for you, but it's up there. You know it's available. So I just, just, just wanted to make folks aware that
[00:39:00] Ish: [00:39:00] Yeah. Awesome. Well, well, thank you Kush. with that, signing off.
[00:39:04] Kush: [00:39:04] awesome. Thank you.
[00:39:05]Ish: [00:39:05] That was Kush Patel of app Academy. If you're interested in learning more about an app Academy, go to app academy.io. That wraps up this conversation. Thanks for listening. This is ish signing off.