Knowing how to code is an important skill in todays technological environment. The demand for coders keep rising and whether or not you were a computer science major you can now join the fun. That’s right, stop playing Candy Crush on the subway and start learning to code. The new mobile app Lrn teaches you to code without needing for internet. Targeted more towards college students and working adults, this app is great for learning the ins and outs of coding, or even just developing the skills to talk to an engineer better.
Today, we are joined by Nathan Bernard, CEO of Lrn to learn more about the business, where it is going, and the future of coding education.
Tell us about the product or service.
Lrn is a mobile app that teaches you to code through interactive mini-quizzes. You only need internet to download then you can use the app without a connection (even on the NYC subway!). We want to make learning to code convenient whenever and wherever you are.
How is it different?
We are focused on making the most immersive coding education experience for mobile. There are already a lot of great desktop resources out there, but a huge gap in the market for mobile. Chegg CEO, Dan Rosenweig recently stated in VentureBeat that all educational material will be transferred to mobile. Globally he believes this is a $100 trillion market opportunity.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Currently we are focused on the $500B post-secondary education market. At the moment we are focused on working professionals and college aged students as the primary demographic, not children K-12.
What is the business model?
We give all users the first lesson for free. After that you can either pay $0.99 per additional lesson -each lesson has about 15-17 sections- or purchase all lessons for $2.99 -120+ sections-. We have some other exciting ideas to generate revenue, but in-app payments are the focus right now.
What inspired the business?
Over the last year I have spent 1,000+ hours teaching myself everything I can about programming. I continue to be inspired by this experience and can’t help but feel that if I can learn the basics, then anyone can. Now, during the early days of learning I was extremely frustrated that I couldn’t study while I commuted to and from Manhattan everyday from Brooklyn (about 1.5 hours daily). After researching (aka people watching) on the train we realized that about 80% of travelers are on their phones for the entire commute. Additionally, most of my fellow commuters were playing games that didn’t require an internet connection. My co-founders and I decided that of the 1MM+ commuters every day into NYC there had to be people that wanted to learn to code on the go like me. Additionally, if we could build an experience as immersive as popular mobile games then we had a good chance of capturing initial users. Thus, Lrn was born!
Do you feel that everyone needs to know how to code?
We feel that everyone should be technically fluent. You don’t have to become an engineer, but you should be able to hold a basic technical conversation, no matter what your role is. Personally, learning the basics of programming has given me the confidence to collaborate closely with engineers in the workplace.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We have some great features on the roadmap we are excited to introduce. All new additions are in the vein of creating an incredibly immersive mobile coding experience.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Nothing will ever be easy. If you work hard you will get reap the benefits you deserve.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Ben Lerer. Because he’s succeeded on both sides of the table at a young age, entrepreneur & investor.
Why did you launch in New York?
It’s an amazing city and we feel our product fits perfectly into the lifestyle of busy, intellectually curious individuals. New Yorkers are always open to learning something new.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
Habana outpost in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.