The Ukrainian educational technology academy Mate Academy is making a significant entry into the Brazilian market, demonstrating their confidence in the country’s growth potential. With a significant initial investment of USD $500,000 for its operations in Brazil, the startup is dedicated to programming education. It has started teaching this week to an inaugural cohort of 20 Brazilian students.
The vision is ambitious: they plan to increase this number to 100 by the beginning of 2024. From their catalog of seven available courses, they have localized two into Portuguese: front-end and full-stack developer, covering essential skills in the high-demand tech sphere.
Mate Academy is making a strategic move with its arrival in Brazil, offering its flagship course, which covers a full day of study—from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday—at no initial cost. The model’s novelty is that payments only begin when the student secures their first job in the industry, committing to return 12% of their net monthly salary for 36 months to the startup. This approach ensures alignment with student outcomes, as the academy only thrives if its graduates do.
But Mate Academy’s commitment to its students goes beyond just teaching; the edtech also provides job interview training, assistance in creating resumes, access to an updated job vacancy database, and support evaluating job offers. According to Roman Apostol, co-founder and CEO of Mate Academy, the student’s success is their success: “We have started this model focused on ensuring that students not only receive knowledge but also achieve employability,” he states.
Those interested in greater flexibility can choose an alternative course, which allows them to study at their own pace in exchange for a payment of R$ 6,000. This amount is refundable if the student does not find employment in the field within 12 weeks, a guarantee that emphasizes the company’s commitment to outcomes.
The Mate Academy Model
Founded in 2015, during a boom time for the IT sector in Europe, Mate Academy was first established with a physical presence in Ukraine, where it managed to employ more than 100 students. In 2018, the operations director, Anna Apostol, took the company’s successful model beyond Ukrainian borders, recognizing the universality and high demand for software engineering skills.
With the pandemic as a catalyst, digitalization became the chosen solution:
“We decided to expand virtually before COVID-19,” shares Max Lysak, co-founder and CGO of the academy. “The quality we could offer in person was not replicable globally. Our mission is to make education accessible regardless of social and economic status, and this is only possible in the digital environment.”
At the end of 2021, Mate Academy closed its first funding round with USD 1.9 million to boost its international expansion. The CEO recalls:
“We were able to attract prominent investors, many of them founders of European unicorns, which was key to scaling our model. Our operation is profitable, and that gives us confidence to invest.”
The next step was Poland, where the first international headquarters was established the following year. With Brazil now in its sights, Mate Academy positions itself as an emerging and promising player in global tech education.
It is worth mentioning that the Brazilian edtech ecosystem is the largest in Latin America and the Caribbean with almost two-thirds of new companies, attracting just over half of the funds over the last decade according to data provided by HolonIQ. Therefore, it makes sense that Mate Academy’s incursion into the region is through the Brazilian country.