Disrupting Education with Austen Allred and Ray Batra
Erik is joined by his co-host for this episode Ray Batra (@reesesandcoke), founder of Shift_Up, a platform for in-person learning that Ray calls “gyms for productivity” and Austen Allred (@AustenAllred), co-founder and CEO of Lambda School, a pioneer in the income-sharing space. Their computing science program is free until a student gets a job, at which point they pay back their schooling with a percentage of their income (up to a capped amount). By the way, we apologize for the audio quality of this interview. We had to catch up with Austen over the phone while he was on the move between meetings. Austen talks about some of the other verticals that Lambda School is thinking about beyond computer science, and why they are also looking at taking care of other things in a student’s life like housing and bridge income. He points out that in addition to requiring a significant amount of capital, education just as importantly requires time and space and a clear head. They talk about Austen’s quote that Lambda School is an education company disguised as a hedge fund. He says that less than 10% of people are at their true economic potential, and that Lambda School is a large-scale bet that human capital is mispriced all over the place. Austen and Ray debate the merits of in-person versus online schooling and what the benefits and drawbacks of each are. Austen talks about what makes Lambda School unique and how they’ve designed the program to optimize for success. Erik asks whether higher education is a bubble and Austen says it inarguably is — the only question remaining is whether it will pop or simply deflate. They discuss some of the incentive problems around higher education as well. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal. Venture Stories is brought to you by Village Global, is hosted by co-founder and partner, Erik Torenberg and is produced by Brett Bolkowy.
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