Decoded founder Kathryn Parsons

LAUNCHPAD: Guardian buys 15% of Decoded

The lefty newspaper's parent company will probably be hoping the code training start-up can finally wean them off dead trees.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 15 Feb 2014

The Guardian Media Group is chucking all its eggs in the digital basket, as newspapers continue their drawn-out death. The company announced today that it has bought a 15% stake in code training company Decoded.

For £1,000 a go, the Silicon Roundabout-based start-up promises to teach people how to code in a day. MT editor Matthew Gwyther ended up with a frozen home page when he gave it a go. The deal is GMG’s first investment in a digital company in almost five years, according The Guardian, which reported on the deal in a predictably meta fashion.

The value of the ‘strategic stake’, as GMG termed it, is being kept under wraps, although it is likely being funded by the £600m-plus sell-off of GMG’s 50.1% stake in AutoTrader last month.

‘We’re delighted to… [be] working with an incredibly successful and innovative young business that is closely aligned to our belief in the importance of the digital future and the education required to maximise the enormous opportunities afforded by it,’ enthused GMG’s chief exec Andrew Miller.

The Guardian reported that Decoded would be ‘likely to be involved in editorial initiatives’ and events. They will now presumably be flogging ‘Learn how to code from Decoded’, on top of the courses they already run where you can be taught how to write by the likes of Jay Rayner.

Meanwhile, Decoded will be able to set up shop in New York, where it currently runs ‘pop-up’ coding days (coz everything temporary and cool has to be a Jack in a Box). The digital training company was founded by Kathryn Parsons (one of MT's 35 Women Under 35 last year), Alasdair Blackwell, Richard Peters and Steve Henry, who was behind Tango’s ‘you’ve been Tango’d’ slogan (‘you’ve been Decoded’ doesn’t really work though…).

‘Decoded have been at the forefront of driving the global code education zeitgeist since our launch in 2011,’ Parsons said. ‘We believe digital literacy, skills and empowerment are no longer a nice to have, but a need to have.’

GMG, which made a £30.9m loss in the year to April 2012, definitely needs more dosh from digital, that’s for sure.

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