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Codecademy and FreeCause Announce the "Codinization Project"

FreeCause is the first organization to issue a company-wide initiative to teach all employees how to code; will leverage Codecademy's programming platform to teach employees


BOSTON, Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Rewards technology leader FreeCause announced today a revolutionary initiative to teach all of its employees how to code. The initiative, titled the "Codinization Project", will fully leverage the platform of innovative startup Codecademy, the web-based programming tutorial company which makes it easy for people to learn how to write computer code. FreeCause will be the first company that has worked with Codecademy specifically to train its entire workforce.

The Codinization Project will impact all members of FreeCause's 60-person team. Each non-technical employee will need to complete assigned monthly coursework through the Codecademy platform, and these employees will be assigned an "Engineering Buddy" to assist them throughout the project. Additionally, FreeCause engineers will host weekly meetups and tutorials to foster more communication and collaboration between the business and technology teams. As a final capstone project created by FreeCause's engineering team, all employees will have to build an actual component for one of FreeCause's technology products.

FreeCause's "Codinization Project" was inspired largely by its parent company Rakuten, the Japanese Internet services company, and its own "Englishnization Project" – an effort that Rakuten CEO and Founder Hiroshi Mikitani drove that required all 12,000 Rakuten employees learn to speak English. "When we announced the Codinization Project, we did so because Rakuten showed us what was possible – that challenging yourself and striving to learn something new empowered the Rakuten employees to have a new and differentiating skillset – and our goal is similar, to give those that aren't technical a deeper understanding of programming, and for those that are, the opportunity to teach and share a skill that they know so well," said Michael Jaconi, CEO of FreeCause. "This initiative directly supports our mission of 'inspiring loyalty through innovation' and will enable us to more effectively build stronger technology in the future. Our end goal is to equip every FreeCause employee with the tools to contribute to the development of our products, and in turn, we hope these contributions will directly impact our consumers in a positive way."

With the Codecademy platform, companies have access to an interactive library of JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, and Python courses, as well as tools to create their own custom content specific to their organization and industry needs. The program also tracks an employee's results and allows users to follow the progress of fellow employees, providing motivation and engagement for a company's workforce.

To date more than one million people have used Codecademy as the company continues to help people learn programming, a skill it believes is essential to have in the 21st century. "FreeCause has taken a step that many organizations should – educating their workforce to benefit both the company and themselves. We're thrilled to work with them," said Codecademy Co-founder Zach Sims.

About Codecademy
Codecademy is the easiest way to learn to code online. Based in NYC, Codecademy was founded on the notion that programming literacy is one of the 21st century's most important skills. Since its launch in August 2011, Codecademy has reached more than a million individuals with its unique online tutorials. The site provides a simple way of learning different programming languages like Ruby, Python, and JavaScript in an interactive online interface. It also allows developers and teachers to create interactive lessons that are distributed to its users. The company is backed by venture capitalists including Union Square Ventures, Ron Conway, Yuri Milner, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and others. 

About FreeCause
FreeCause, one of the fastest growing technology companies in Boston, specializes in building innovative software that enables major brands, loyalty programs, sports teams, and nonprofits to monetize and reward consumers for their online behavior. The FreeCause team develops award winning, revolutionary new technology that allows consumers to connect with their favorite brands while simultaneously giving these consumers an enriched web experience. With more than 20 million subscribers, the FreeCause advanced loyalty and engagement solutions reward consumers as they search the Internet, or when they shop through the FreeCause network of over 3,500 online retailers. FreeCause is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755).

About Rakuten
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/group




SOURCE FreeCause

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