"I think the easiest way to think about edly is, it’s like the NASDAQ, although you’re not investing in companies or corporations, you’re investing in human potential."

    - Kristine Bredemeier, Head of Admissions at Holberton School

Kristine BREDEMEIER: One of the beauties of an ISA is that you’re aligning interest with a student.

Kristine Bredemeier is head of admissions and enrollment at the Holberton School. That’s a for-profit software-engineering college that opened in 2016 in San Francisco; it’s now got a few other campuses.

BREDEMEIER: The school is free until — and only if — the students find a job that is over $40,000. And once they do find a job that is paying them a nice salary — typically our students are earning over $100,000 as their first full-time software-engineering position — it is 17 percent of your income for three-and-a-half years.

How does Holberton cover the costs of running a school if they’re not taking in tuition? Partly through private investors, like any startup; but also through $2 million in investments drawn from Edly, an online marketplace for income-share agreements.

BREDEMEIER: So, I think the easiest way to think about Edly is, it’s like the NASDAQ, although you’re not investing in companies or corporations, you’re investing in human potential. Investors only see a return on their money when a student is successful. The same goes for us. So everyone is playing the same game. We want our students to actually find successful jobs.

Holberton’s founders were also interested in diversifying the tech world. In that regard, offering free tuition is useful.

BREDEMEIER: So it’s giving a lot more people access to quality education. We have over 60 percent people of color, 30 percent-plus women. We have a lot of college dropouts. We have teachers and artists. A lot of musicians. Over 40 percent of our students are first-generation post-secondary students. And 30 percent of our students, English is not the main language spoken at home.

Holberton says that all of their first 105 graduates are employed, and that all of them are paying their Holberton dues as scheduled.

BREDEMEIER: If our students are not getting jobs, then we don’t get paid and we close as a school. And I think colleges — that’s what they set out to be originally, was to help get students into careers.


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