Skill Struck was founded in 2017 with a mission in mind: make computer science education more engaging and accessible for all students. Over the past four years, this organization has worked hard and constantly adjusted in order to find the best way to increase access to computer science education.
In the fall of 2019, Skill Struck created its first pilot programs for public schools in Utah, and has since expanded to reach students across North America. During this period of rapid growth, Parker Gentry, Skill Struck founder and CEO, worked to identify the right investment partners.
Gentry originally targeted $1.2 million in this seed round, but resulted in an oversubscribed round with a total of $1.3 million. The investment was made by a variety of strategic angel investors across the country. At the end of the day, these individuals saw the opportunity for both financial success and social impact.
Brian Hansen, investor and twenty-year veteran of Ancestry, is one of the many strategic investors who believes in Skill Struck and their mission. “I’m excited about the early traction Parker and the Skill Struck team have demonstrated in engaging young students in computer science education,” Hansen said. “I believe they will have a strong positive impact in shaping the passions and careers of the learners who engage with their product."
Gentry shared his experience from this fundraising round, “For me, there are two main takeaways from this funding process for our organization.
“First, things never go according to plan, but if you push through and work hard, things will work out. And second, we are in a thriving industry, with an impactful product that is being brought to life by a dedicated team.
“A lot of people trust us to execute our mission to make computer science engaging and accessible for all K-12 students. We won’t disappoint them.”
The majority of funds will be used to expand the sales team and marketing engine as the Skill Struck team aims to implement their products at schools in at least 15 states by the fall.
A key focus of Skill Struck’s mission is to close the equity gaps in K–12 education. Their team and partners recognize that there is room for improvement as students in the public school system prepare for their future careers. Skill Struck hopes to help students with college and career preparation, not only by teaching hard computer science skills, but also by helping them develop skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and losing the fear of failure.
Skill Struck recently published their 2020 Equity Report. This report documents the progress they are making each year in improving equity in computer science. The report shows that 55.2% of students with access to Skill Struck are underrepresented minorities.
Skill Struck has been implemented in hundreds of classrooms, impacting thousands of students and teachers. Donna Woods, CTE Pathway Instructor at Moreno Valley SD, said of her experience working with Skill Struck, “We truly value our partnership with Skill Struck in our Computer Science and Cyber Academic Pathway courses.
“There is exemplary service, quality, and professionalism in working with the entire Skill Struck team. All of the content is fun and engaging for our students! Regarding the support and partnership, they are always on top of everything.”
To get Skill Struck platforms in your school, you can refer an educator. The Skill Struck team will schedule a consultation and share possible funding options for implementation.
If you have an educator you would like to refer, fill out the form here.