CODE’s mission is to empower, educate, and unite innovative technology leaders and entrepreneurs who change the world

“One day I wanted to the build the university that I couldn’t find for myself.”

Back in 2005, when our founder Thomas “Tom” Bachem – self-taught software engineer and designer – was looking for a place to study and learn, he was disappointed to see that the academic landscape primarily focused on the never-changing basic principles of Computer Science, instead of the exciting new possibilities of the internet and its opportunities. That’s when the idea for CODE was born: One day he wanted to found a university that would be to Computer Science what business schools are to classic Economics programs.

A team to turn the vision into reality

In the subsequent years, Tom became a founder of multiple internet startups as well as the German Startups Association. But in all those years, he couldn’t stop thinking about his idea to build a different kind if university. In 2016, he asked education experts Manuel Dolderer and Jonathan Rüth to become co-founders in his quest to finally make it a reality. At the same time, 25 of Germany’s most successful startup entrepreneurs joined their initiative and provided the necessary capital to build a university from scratch.

CODE comes to life

In record time, the founding team was not only able to obtain accreditation as a state-recognized university of applied sciences in Berlin, but also assembled an exceptional crowd of more than a hundred people that believed in their vision and wanted to be part of it – CODE’s very first students and team. In October 2017, they started into the first year of a highly unusual university – where students were in the driver’s seat, following their own curiosity, forming project teams around problems they actually want to solve, and finally connecting with fellow students who shared the same interests, motivation and drive – people from all over the world, right here in Berlin!

The students make it a their success

Seven years in, CODE has grown to more than 600 students from 80 different nations. They have founded more than 60 companies, many of which are very successful startups today. They have won numerous competitions as hackers, designers, and innovators. They grew up and formed friendships for life. They were able to turn their ideas into reality – just like CODE itself.

Forming the CODE Trust

In 2023, our founders and a group of outstanding supporters formed a trust for CODE to continue its success story. The CODE Trust marks a milestone in our further development and will help us to realize CODE’s full potential for the years to come.

Blast from the past

We rolled up our sleeves to rifle through all the dusty old boxes in our attic – and look what we found! A video of CODE’s opening party back in October 2017: