Tyler tells us about the growth hacking strategies and tactics he used to grow DevMountain before selling it for $20 million in just three years, and how he is growing the startup bootcamp Startup Ignition.
Today’s guest, Tyler Richards, is Co-Founder and VP of DevMountain – a 12-week coding bootcamp that endeavors to teach entrepreneurs with no coding experience the skills developed in a typical 4-year degree – and Co-Founder of Startup Ignition. Tyler was recently named to Peak Venture’s “The Peak 100” listing the top entrepreneurs in Utah and surrounding areas.
As an entrepreneur, Tyler has had his hand in the tech world since college. He successfully sold a dating software startup to a Microsoft-backed company in the summer of 2013 and he has brought that expertise to DevMountain, which sold to Capella Education Company in May of 2016 for $20 million.
DevMountain started as a part-time project for Tyler and his two Co-Founders, but they found that Provo, Utah had a demand for the coding skill set they had to offer. DevMountain achieved high job placement rates and formed good relationships with businesses, leading to a lot of growth. DevMountain now has four campuses across the country and graduates approximately 150 students every 12 weeks, and they have placed students in 140 different companies, just in Utah.
We’re going to learn how Tyler and his Co-Founders set up DevMountain in 2013, the growth hacking strategies he used to achieve early growth, and how they sold the company for $20 million to Capella Education Company after just three years. We’ll also learn about Tyler’s new project Startup Ignition, an eight-week bootcamp for entrepreneurial skills and launching startups, which he is creating in partnership with his father.
In this episode, you’ll learn from Tyler:
- How Tyler started, grew and sold a dating site and app to a Microsoft-backed company
- DevMountain is teaching a coding and computer science skill set, comparable to a typical 4-year college education, through 12-week bootcamps
- A bootcamp is taking a skill set and teaching that skill set enough to be marketable, hirable or efficient in that skill set, in a very condensed amount of time.
- How Tyler validated the need for a coding bootcamp in the Provo, Utah area
- Why 140 different companies in Utah have hired DevMountain graduates
- How Tyler and his Co-Founders set up a school with multiple campuses across multiple states
- Why not having accreditation, which means DevMountain can’t offer college credit, allows the boot camp to quickly improve the lesson plan or react to changes in technology
- How DevMountain markets through word of mouth with a degree of virality
- How Tyler pitched DevMountain as a program to train the citizens of Provo to the mayor, which kickstarted their growth
- How focusing on the learner and producing quality skills helped Tyler approach selling a $10,000 product, and sell more
- How Startup Ignition is taking entrepreneurs who don’t have the principles, direction or know-how to start a business and teaching them to test, validate and improve their startups.
- The value of validating that your idea is not a good business idea
- Why the Mormon population and culture in Provo, Utah contributes to making the area a good place for successful startups
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Startup Ignition
- Google Apps
- “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries (affiliate link)
- “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” by Steve Blank (affiliate link)
- “The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Bob Dorf & Steve Blank (affiliate link)
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- “I don’t want to give the typical answer, but I’m going to do it anyway: Steve Jobs.” Also the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma: “Coming from nothing to something is your example entrepreneur.”
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- “It has to be Google Docs, Google Drive… the Google Platform.” That software replaces a bunch of software for me.
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- I lived in Mexico and am a fluent Spanish speaker, because I was a Mormon who went on a mission to Mexico
- What is your favorite business book and why?
- I would go with The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (affiliate link)
- What is the top characteristic or trait that you look for in people you work with?
- Passion, “I think that passion solves a lot of problems in employees.”
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- “I’m going to be super cliche with the whole conversation, and I’m going to say bootcamps … there’s a lot of elitism in the development community … and there’s a lot of people still very weary about this form of education.” There’s something about learning by doing and project-based learning that is effective.
How to contact Tyler:
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