Wilco, a Tel Aviv-based immersive upskilling platform for software developers, has recently announced that it has raised $7 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Hetz Ventures, with participation from leading funds and angel investors including Vertex Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Shopify VP Engineering Farhan Thawar.
Founded in 2021 by On Freund, Shem Magnezi, and Alon Carmel, Wilco enables software engineers of all experience levels to upskill by acquiring and honing hands-on skills in an immersive experience. The platform, built to emulate the conditions at a tech startup, sends users on “quests” that cover everyday engineering tasks — from deploying an app to finding the root cause of a production issue — utilizing real-life tech stacks.
Speaking on the need for a platform like Wilco, On Freund, Co-founder & and CEO of Wilco, said,
"To build successful careers, developers need to acquire and continuously practice a wide range of skills beyond coding. Many soft skills and technical areas of expertise — like team communication, debugging complex systems, and responding to crises — are picked up by developers only with countless hours of hands-on experience, which is hard to come by."
Wilco’s platform offers developers a fantasy tech company, providing a game-like experience designed to accelerate their professional growth. With Wilco, engineers go on quests that challenge them to navigate complex life-like scenarios while utilizing real tools and technologies.
Pavel Livshiz, General Partner at Hetz Ventures, said,
"Wilco empowers software engineers to take control of their professional development. With Wilco, the opportunity to upskill is no longer dependent on the goodwill of a manager or on having the resources to take on time-consuming side projects. Engineers at any level can now continuously develop their skillset at an accelerated pace."
Wilco intends to use the fresh capital to accelerate growth, expand operations and its business reach.
Farhan Thawar, VP Engineering at Shopify, added,
"One of the critical challenges I’ve faced throughout my career as an engineering leader is finding ways to nurture talent and ensure the continuous growth of every team member. That’s what got me so excited when I tried the Wilco platform — the realistic environment brought me back to my early days as a dev team contributor and the engineering scenarios addressed precisely those abstract skills that are so hard to teach. On top of that, Wilco has managed to create an engaging learning experience through narrative and storytelling, making it a true game-changer for developer growth.”
According to Wilco, the quests currently available on the platform cover several key software engineering skills and concepts as well as a few quests that were designed with different content partners — including New Relic, Applitools, and JFrog — which allow developers to gain real-world experience with popular dev tools.