Forward School, a revolutionary new technology and future skills school based in Penang, Malaysia, has raised $500,000 in a Pre-seed funding round to build out its offerings and expand to other markets.
The startup received the new funds from five angel investors, including Chan Kee Siak (CEO, Exabytes Group), Chu Jenn Weng (CEO, ViTrox Corp), Chiew Kok Hin (CEO, AIMS Group), Ang Siak Keng (Partner, Zaid Ibrahim & Co), and Brian A. Wong (Managing Director, Seacliff Partners).
Started in 2019, Froward School aims to bridge the widening tech skills gap using non-traditional learning methods. It provides students with hands-on, project-based education, with the mission to build a pool of experienced software engineers and programmers with industry-ready skills required for the fast-moving tech sector. The company provides a range of expert-led on-campus training in coding, data science, design, digital marketing, and more.
Forward School’s unique tech programs are driven by real-world learning experiences developed in tandem with industry practitioners and hiring partners. With outstanding faculty and trailblazing technology practitioners, the startup offers world-class, cutting-edge education in a conducive co-learning, living and co-working space, the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia.
Emphasizing on the necessity to build innovative digital skills, Howie Chang, Founder and CEO of Forward School, said,
“National and international demand for students with innovative digital and creative skills will only continue to expand as industry 4.0 sweeps the globe. The challenge is not just for individuals to keep pace with technological developments but for learning institutions to lead the way. My team and I set out to design a new, revolutionary technology school that I wished had existed when I was a student. I am glad it now exists in Penang and soon it will also be found throughout Southeast Asia’s major cities.”
With the new funding, the company plans to move into its new campus that combines co-learning and co-living, with an aim to immerse its students in a wider tech-driven community. Forward School also plans to use the funds to create more tech-focused programs in STEAM fields.
Commenting on the funding, Chan Kee Siak, CEO of Exabytes Group, said,
“Forward School is a revolutionary new school that focuses on expertise and skills, not paper qualification. Tertiary education today can be over-academised and as both an investor and industry leader, I trust Forward School has what it takes to lead us in charting a new model of higher education in science and technology innovation.”
Forward School currently offers bootcamp for Android and iOS app development, React Native development, data science, and user experience design. It also offers a two-year NitroDegree in Applied Software Engineering, where students study and work under the sponsorship of key local tech players for a minimum starting salary of RMD3,000 (US$725).
Chu Jenn Weng, CEO of ViTrox Corp, also commented saying,
“The two-year NitroDegree in Applied Software Engineering is groundbreaking. It has the potential to lessen the severity mismatch of the talents that the industry needs. It places emphasis on competency-based learning which will help the students be better prepared for the workplace.”
Forward School plans to grow its subscription-based offering for corporates and individuals, which provides a number of classes and workshops.