February 5, 2023
4 mins

Raising venture capital funding at 18

Raising funding in high school

“We want to give you an offer”

The dilemma

As a high school student, I faced a difficult decision: do I go to college or start a company? One of the critical moments in my decision-making process was when I had just raised over $800,000 in funding for my startup, code easy. At this point, I had various college acceptance letters, and I had to decide whether to pursue a life in a dorm room or focus on building my company.

Now, I am often asked why I chose to start a company so early. The truth is the goal isn't to be a CEO or have the title of a CEO. The goal is to solve a problem and build a solution that can be scaled to millions of people. It's not about ego; it's about making a real impact.

I have noticed that my friends and others look at me differently now that I am building a startup. They see me as someone who is doing something unique and challenging. Also, some have yet to learn what I am doing half the time and why I am on a plane rather than a dorm room. In fact, the same colleges that I was accepted to are now inviting me to give speeches about starting a company.

I have learned that building a startup is not easy. It requires hard work, dedication, and persistence. But it is also gratifying. I am solving problems and making a difference in the world. I am learning new things every day and growing as a person. I am grateful for the opportunity to build Kodezi and am excited to see where it will take me.

The funding

I'm both thankful and excited that Water Tower Ventures and RTP Global have invested in our pre-seed round, and I'm looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring! Jeremy, Idan, and the entire Water Tower team have been professional and incredible to work with, along with Tom and Alex from RTP Global! Thank you for believing in Kodezi, and I know we'll accomplish amazing things together.

Special thanks go out to Eric, who was the first to invest in my vision and has guided me through every aspect of the startup journey. Thank you for your guidance and unwavering support. I know answering questions at 3 am on Slack isn't fun.

Over the past year, I've worked relentlessly on Kodezi, a Grammarly for programmers. After finishing our closed beta last year, I realized this could have a much more significant impact than I initially thought.

I received thousands of sign-ups during the closed beta. I spoke with engineers, students from my high school, and students from top universities like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Each person shared a common pain point; they wanted to spend less time debugging and building more. Can you believe it takes 30x longer to fix a bug than to write code? It's a problem that programmers at all levels deal with daily, and existing solutions don't solve.

During this time, I never imagined I would also be spending countless hours talking to angel investors, venture capitalists, and CEOs of major tech companies.

"We love your idea, but you're too young."
"Will people want to use this?"
"I think you're better off working for a company than starting your own."

Despite receiving validation from my beta users, these were the most common responses I received from these meetings. I would also lie if I claimed these rejections didn't affect me. However, they didn't stop me from pursuing my startup goals since I realized Kodezi could profoundly impact education.

The present

Today, we have scaled Kodezi to 9 different employees and accumulated over 200,000 beta users in less than six months of launch. We have hired a COO, leading our operations and growth who was previously at Gitlab, and are on a mission to maximize coding productivity across all programming sectors. Released new features to automatically debug code with detailed explanations, allowing users to generate entire codebases and functions from text, and many other features!

We are actively working on expanding our platform, growing our user base, and developing new features and products. We're also actively looking for partnerships to help us reach more developers and increase our user base. We're very excited about the future of Kodezi, and we look forward to continuing to provide the best coding experience to our users.

So yes, I’m an 19-year-old student. I’m unproven, untested, and I can’t legally drink at networking events. However, I’ve learned a lot in the past 12 months alone by doing and feel like I’m in my final year of an MBA program. The experience so far has been fun, exciting, stressful, and sometimes scary. I know I still have a long way to go, but with this new round of funding, a talented team, and a strong support system, I’m excited and optimistic about Kodezi’s future!