Dressed in a Naruto t-shirt and a hat emblazoned with the phrase “lone wolf,” Ne-Yo slouches over in a chair inside a Holberton School classroom. The Grammy-winning recording artist is struggling to recollect the identify of “that actor,” the one who’s had a profitable profession in each the leisure business and tech investing.

“I learned about all the things he was doing and I thought it was great for him,” Ne-Yo instructed TechCrunch. “But I didn’t really know what my place in tech would be.”

It seems “that actor” is Ashton Kutcher, broadly recognized in Hollywood and past for his position in a number of blockbusters and the TV sitcom That ’70s Show, and revered in Silicon Valley for his investments through Sound Ventures and A-Grade in Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Bird and a number of other others.

Ne-Yo, for his half, is thought for a string of R&B hits together with So Sick, One in a Million and Because of You. His newest album, Good Man, got here out in June.

Ne-Yo, like Kutcher, is focused on pursuing a facet gig in investing however he doesn’t wish to waste time chasing down the following huge factor. His purpose, he defined, is to make use of his wealth to encourage individuals like him to view software program engineering and different technical careers as viable choices.

“Little black kids growing up don’t say things like ‘I want to be a coder when I grow up,’ because it’s not real to them, they don’t see people that look like me doing it,” Ne-Yo mentioned. “But tech is changing the world, like literally by the day, by the second, so I feel like it just makes the most sense to have it accessible to everyone.”

Last yr, Ne-Yo lastly made the leap into enterprise capital investing: his first deal, an funding in Holberton School, a two-year coding academy based by Julien Barbier and Sylvain Kalache that trains full-stack engineers. The singer returned to San Francisco earlier this month for the grand opening of Holberton’s reworked headquarters on Mission Street within the metropolis’s SoMa neighborhood.

Holberton, a proposed different to a pc science diploma, is free to college students till they graduate and land a job, at which level they’re requested to pay 17 p.c of their salaries throughout their first three years within the workforce.

It has a unique instructing philosophy than your common coding academy or four-year college. It depends on project-based and peer studying, i.e. college students serving to and instructing one another; there are not any formal lecturers or lecturers. The idea seems to be…

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