Have a great idea for an app or web service? There’s an alternative to paying someone else to turn it into reality.
France-based Le Wagon offers a nine-week boot camp teaching entrepreneurs and creative professionals full-stack technical skills and product development. The first Australian course starts on 19 February.
The focus, according to the company, is on creating great products rather than merely imparting the skills needed to get a job as a developer.
“The whole team is excited about Le Wagon's Australian journey,” said Co-founder and CEO Boris Paillard.
“When we were looking for where to open next, we saw that something significant was going on in Australia in terms of entrepreneurial and tech activity. The incredible level of engagement in industry meetups and within the startup community really resonated with us, and we're confident that we really can help Australia's entrepreneurs build world-class products.”
Le Wagon alumni have launched more than 100 startups. So far, 25 of them have successfully raised funding to date – 15 obtaining external investments of more than $1.5 million, and the rest between $300,000 and $900,000.
Successes include creative project management platform A-line (formerly Krawd), recruitment platform Kudoz, computer vision company Regaind (which was acquired by Apple) and travel recommendation service Travelsify.
Le Wagon's program is said to cover best practices in both back-end and front-end coding, database modelling, UI design and product launch methodology.
The company describes its approach as “a collaborative peer-based learning model, where students solve daily challenges in pairs and bigger projects small groups in the classroom.”
When Le Wagon calls the boot camp “intensive”, it isn't joking. According to Kudoz founder Oliver Xu: “The program is extremely demanding. Even after three years of business school (HEC) and two additional years working at Rocket Internet, I was surprised by the amount of information to be absorbed each day. You really need to prepare yourself beforehand and knuckle down for the first two weeks. But after a while you get the hang of it and the course is certainly well structured, so everyone is very motivated as a result.”
Le Wagon's involvement with its alumni doesn't stop after nine weeks. Students have lifelong access to its online platform, which is updated with new tutorials, videos and tools, as well as allowing alumni to communicate and collaborate with each other.