Hello Y Combinator!
It’s been an exciting few months since we last wrote about Juni Learning to our friends and family. Today, we’re proud to launch publicly as part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2018 batch!
To date, we’ve taught thousands of classes to kids in seven countries and counting, including the US and China. Our curriculum has grown to include classes in Scratch, Python, Web Development, AP Computer Science A, and competition programming. We’ve grown almost entirely through word of mouth, and now we’re excited to ramp up as part of Y Combinator and empower even more kids globally to love coding.
In case you didn’t catch our last post, let us re-introduce ourselves — we’re Vivian and Ruby, the founders of Juni and two Stanford computer science grads. Juni provides live, online coding classes for kids with private instructor. Students work with us 1x or 2x per week to learn everything from Python to competition programming, all with a personal live instructor over video conference. Our mission is to empower kids everywhere to learn any subject not traditionally taught in school.
Let’s also recap some of the stats behind the issue we’re trying to solve:
Nine in ten parents want their child to study computer science, but only one in four schools in the US currently teaches computer science.1
And for girls, the numbers are even more disappointing:
Studies show that girls are ten times more likely to major in computer science if they are introduced to it early on, like in an AP Computer Science class.2 However, enrollment in AP CS is still only 27% female,3 and in 2016 there were no girls taking the test in the entire states of Mississippi and Montana.4 Furthermore, while 66% of girls ages 6–12 are interested or enrolled in computing programs, this drops to just 4% in high school.5
We believe the way education is delivered hasn’t yet reached its full potential, particularly in the online space— even now, the completion rate of most MOOCs is around 13%.6 Research shows that students who work one-on-one with an instructor perform two standard deviations above their peers.⁷ At Juni, we leverage this by staffing a live instructor and shrinking the class size drastically to one to three students. Our instructors can see and control each student’s screen to help them individually, and there is no “lecture time” in our classes. We have a 90% completion rate for our courses, and close to 100% of students who complete one course continue on to the next course.
And as we mentioned in our last post:
Our goal isn’t for every single one of our students to grow up and become software engineers (although we wouldn’t be upset if they did — there will be 1 million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them by 2020!7) Computer science is becoming a fundamental piece of many cross-disciplinary careers, including medicine, art, engineering, business, and law. Our goal at Juni is to promote computer science literacy — so that our students can grow their foundation of logic and creative skills, develop strong intuition about how to break down complex problems, and build confidence in pursuing technical topics.
Lastly, we’re fortunate to be supported by an amazing community of parents and educators who are excited to see high-touch, high-quality computer science education. Here’s some quotes they’ve shared with us:
The Juni teachers are excellent, and provide a very personalized approach to programming. For example, he was asked to write a program to draw the Triforce and he’s really into Zelda. I also REALLY appreciate that he is encouraged to figure out things on his own — guided only with questions and not given answers if he doesn’t know something. He LOVES Juni, I think it’s his favorite activity, and we appreciate the convenience of an at-home service. He can’t wait to log on to every class, does the assignments on his own, and has learned so much.
I love the care of instruction at Juni and level of attention. Most importantly, my daughter is enjoying coding. The projects are very relevant and interesting to her, like an Instagram filter project. My daughter has found not only a teacher, but also a mentor and role model for years to come.
Above all else, it’s been incredibly rewarding for us to see the impact we’ve had on the lives of our students. We know firsthand how challenging it is to find a great computer science education, and everyday we hear from countless families faced with this same challenge. For example, we work with a set of cousins take their weekly Juni group class at the same time, across two states. Some of our other amazing students include a 40-year-old father in Toronto and his 6-year-old daughter, a pair of siblings in Madrid, and a 10-year-old boarding school student in Singapore!
As always, please reach out if you know anyone who wants to code with us or work with our students. In the coming months, we’ll have more exciting announcements, including feature launches, partnerships, and scholarships — stay tuned! We’re always looking to grow and improve, so drop us a line and join us on this journey. You can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.