Interview with Riaz Moola, CEO and Founder at EdTech StartUp: HyperionDev

HyperionDev is a tech education startup that teaches people real job-ready programming skills, using a combination of 1-on-1 personal mentorship and expert code review technology. HyperionDev is an answer to the problems of modern education, which remains too expensive and time-consuming, inaccessible, and lacking focus on skills development.

We help people learn real coding skills that they can use to find work in months rather than years, and without a mountain of student debt.
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

In my first year of Computer Science at university, it was pretty clear that universities had a dropout problem. In some places, as much as 80% of students weren’t making it to their final year and graduating. Speaking to my fellow students I found that, in most cases, people just weren’t getting the attention and time they need to tackle often vast and complex new concepts in a subject they’d often had zero previous experience with. I started a mentor network, helping students to master the fundamentals of programming to prevent the high attrition rates of computer science departments. Pretty soon, I went from one mentor group, to universities all over the country, and then the world.

Since those grassroots days, I’ve realised that the problem is so much bigger than university departments: the demand for talented developers is skyrocketing, but learning these skills remains out of reach thanks to outdated or exorbitant traditional education. Our boot camps are accessible online or on our campuses. It is also available part-time to balance work and real-life responsibilities, allowing our students to maximise personalised learning so that they can make consistent progress to graduating with hireable skills in months rather than years.

To put it plainly, there’s a growing tech skills gap across the world, which we’re filling, one student at a time.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

Our education model embraced digitisation long before it became something businesses needed to do to survive lockdown. Since our founding we’ve been a big proponent of online and accessible education, the only adaptation we needed during the hardest levels of lockdown was creating a remote-first classroom for students who would have been working on our two campuses in Joburg and Cape Town.

The lockdown didn’t so much evolve us as it did prove what we’ve been saying for years: that education is hard to access and expensive, and that people are hungry for a reliable way to learn real, job-ready skills for the high-paying tech careers that are out there.

The response during and after the first lockdowns demonstrates that public hunger. Our revenues have grown 640% to date, and we hit profitability in 2020. During the lockdown, we hit our highest ever number of active users, with 254% growth and surpassing 100,000 registered students.

What can we hope to see from HyperionDev in the future?

Our main focus is rapid global expansion, so that our accessible coding bootcamps can reach and help thousands more students across the world. We’re aiming to hit more than 10,000 active monthly students, and provide bootcamps in 20 countries concurrently on structured programmes that provide a more accessible path into tech than a traditional comp sci degree.

We recently raised more than R40 million rand, with nearly £2 million raised in under two weeks from our public crowdfund, which attracted over a thousand investors. In the coming months, we’re going to be laser-focused on growing our bootcamps, penetrating deeper into the international market, and helping thousands of students to graduate as job-ready developers across the world.