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December 17, 2019

HackerRank, a popular platform for practicing and hosting online coding interviews, today announced that it has acquired Mimir, a cloud-based service that provides tools for teaching computer science courses. Mimir, which is HackerRank’s first acquisition, is currently in use by a number of universities, including UCLA, Purdue, Oregon State and Michigan State, as well as by corporations like Google.

HackerRank says it will continue to support Mimir’s classroom product as a standalone product for the time being. By Q2 2020, the two companies expect to have an initial release of a combined product offering.

HackerRank will work closely with professors, students and customers to help student developers learn, improve and assess their skills from coursework to career,” Vivek Ravisankar, the co-founder and CEO of HackerRank, told me. “Ultimately, we envision a combined product that allows students to obtain both a formal academic education as well as practical skills assessments which can help build a strong and successful career.”

The two companies did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition, but Indiana-based Mimir previously raised a total of $2.5 million and had eight employees at the time of the acquisition, including the three-person executive team.

As the companies stress, both focus on allowing developers for a variety of backgrounds to successfully vie for jobs, no matter where they went to school. HackerRank argues that the combination of its existing services and Mimir’s classroom tools will “provide computer science classrooms with the most comprehensive developer assessment platform on the market; allowing students to better prepare for real-world programming and universities to more accurately evaluate student progress.” The idea here clearly is to expand HackerRank’s reach into the world of academia and expand the talent pool for its customers who are looking to recruit from its users, but Ravisankar also noted that he hopes the combined strengths of HackerRank and Mimir will allow students to combine their academic learning with market learning. “This will ensure that they’re equipped with the skills that their future workplaces require,” he said.

Mimir isn’t so much a tool for massive online courses but instead focuses on helping teachers and students manage programming projects and assignments. To do so, it offers a full online IDE, as well as support for Jupyter notebooks, as well as more traditional teaching tools for creating quizzes and assignments. The built-in IDE supports 40 programming languages, including Python, Java and C. There’s also a tool for detecting plagiarism.

Currently, about 15,000 to 20,000 students are using Mimir’s platform for their coursework. That’s dwarfed by the 7 million developers who have signed up for HackerRank so far, but not all of those are active, while, almost by default, all of Mimir’s users will be on the job market sooner or later.

“Mimir has made a name for itself by becoming a secret weapon for computer science programs — Mimir equips them with the tools to make a real difference in the education of developers,” said Prahasith Veluvolu, co-founder and CEO of Mimir. “Working with HackerRank is a natural evolution of our mission, allowing our customers to scale their programs while simultaneously giving students an unmatched classroom experience to prepare them for the careers of tomorrow.”