Fresh off a $600K round of seed funding, developer education startup Treehouse is launching to the public this morning, using videos, quizzes and badges to take ostensibly anyone from n00b to 1337 in months.
Unlike Codeacademy and Lynda, Treehouse offers a breadth of expert-curated web design, development and iOS development topics (HTML, CSS Foundations, Technology Foundations, Aesthetic Foundations, Introduction to Programming, and others) and is already profitable as it charges users from $29 to $49 dollars a month to use its programs.
What also sets Treehouse apart from others in the space is that users win badges (see below) for getting five questions in a row correct on its quizzes or completing in-browser code challenges, with the objective of building out their public profiles at http://teamtreehouse.com/yourprofile.
Already several blue chip companies like Estée Lauder, Disney and Virgin have signed on to use the service for employee training and startups like LivingSocial, WordPress/Automattic and BankSimple are on board to recruit qualified Treehouse Members after they pull in the requisite badges.
“We plan on getting millions of un-employed or ‘under-employed’ people out of low-paying and unsatisfying jobs and in to higher-paying and exciting design and development jobs,” says co-founder Ryan Carson. He hopes that the service will put a dent in the number of open web and iOS app job opening around the world, and positively impact the world economy.
“A Computer Science degree might cost you $50,000 and take you four years to complete,” Carson tells me, “Treehouse can give you the skills you need and a potential job at the end, all for $150 in six months.”
To further increase the employability of its members, Carson plans on adding more courses — e.g. iOS 5 Foundations, Ruby Foundations and PHP Foundations — to the Treehouse curriculum as soon as possible. “Basically, any topic that web developers, designers and iOS designers/devs need to know, we’ll be tackling,” he says.
Treehouse’s notable list of backers include investors Reid Hoffman, Kevin Rose, David Sze, Chamath Palihapitiya, Mark Suster and advisors like Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg, Twitter’s Doug Bowman and BankSimple’s Alex Payne.