Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s venture capital firm, Maveron, are tossing their support behind General Assembly, a New York City startup incubator which started last year with “little more than an idea and concrete floor.” The Seattle entrepreneurs — joined by well known investors such as Yuri Milner and Tom Vander Ark — are sinking $4.25 million into the concept.

The idea behind General Assembly is to create a welcoming space where entrepreneurs, designers, developers and dreamers can learn, hack and interact with others who are taking the startup plunge.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? So, why aren’t Bezos and Schultz putting their money to work for a similar project in Seattle?

We’ve asked Maveron about that opportunity, and we’ll update this post as we hear more. But here’s the skinny: It is not outside the realm of possibilities that General Assembly expands here.

Seattle entrepreneur and former Amazon.com employee Dave Schappell has long been touting the power of the General Assembly model, publicly stating that he’d love to bring a branch to the Pacific Northwest. (We’ve reached out to Schappell for comment, and he says via email that he participated as an angel investor in the most recent round. We’ll follow-up to get more details from Schappell later).

In a blog post today, General Assembly’s Brad Hargreaves didn’t rule out the possibility of new campus expansion. He writes:

“So will we open a bunch more campuses? Put all our classes online? Start training executives? We don’t know. Right now we’re singularly focused on continuing to create a great, meaningful experience at our New York campus. That said, we see the bigger picture: there is immense demand for social, application-driven education in technology, design, and entrepreneurship, and we’re committed to addressing this real need.”

The Seattle tech community rallied to bring TechStars to Seattle, providing a much-needed boost to the early-stage startup ecosystem. Based on what I’ve been hearing from entrepreneurs, however, TechStars alone is not enough to meet the demands of entrepreneurs.

Could General Assembly — which offers both office space, workshops and education programs that stress “learning-by-doing” — help fill that gap?

Perhaps it is time to let your voices be heard on that matter.

Follow-up: The entrepreneurial ‘petri dish’ at General Assembly, and why one geek would love to see it in Seattle

 

Comments

  • http://josephsunga.com Joseph Sunga

    I hung out at @GA:twitter for several days while I was in NYC (thx @dlifson:twitter ) and I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome. The community feel it had with the meetups and classes they had each day was impressive. I’d love to have one out here. :)

    • http://www.samgrossberg.com Sam Grossberg

      Agree!

  • Ray Burt

    don’t we have enough of these already?

  • http://twitter.com/crashdev Chris DeVore

    Great story, John – New York is huge and General Assembly is awesome, but it would be great to see our most influential local heroes making a similar bet on the local ecosystem. Between TechStars, Startup Weekend and other grassroots efforts we have the beginnings of a truly awesome startup community here, but the participation of the godfathers (Bezos, Schultz and Gates) would deliver a powerful emotional boost and some much-needed publicity.

    • http://www.thoughtful.co Chris Lynch

      Agreed. I worked out of @ga:twitter earlier this year and the space was fantastic. I really think having something similar in Seattle would be great. We have a lot of activity here in Seattle right now, and a strong community like GA would be a perfect catalyst to bring our own startups forward.

    • http://www.thoughtful.co Chris Lynch

      Agreed. I worked out of @ga:twitter earlier this year and the space was fantastic. I really think having something similar in Seattle would be great. We have a lot of activity here in Seattle right now, and a strong community like GA would be a perfect catalyst to bring our own startups forward.

  • http://yakshaving.net ash bhoopathy

    I have a close friend who moved to NYC from Chicago to work at G.A. and absolutely loves it.   

    I think the idea of bringing a similar style of coworking space with networking and learning events is incredibly important.   Right now, we’re already working in exactly that kind of space (there are 3 other startups here).  

    Rather than talking about *how great it would be* to do this, we’re already starting to do this organically.    If you’re interested, tweet/dm one of us directly at @ashbhoopathy:twitter  or @jnickhughes:twitter

    I’m attaching some pictures of the space.    We’re currently thinking about scheduling events around fundraising, user experience, development.  We’re open to hosting Seattle Tech Startups and HackerNews meetups in the future.

    The current startups/service providers that are in the space:
    – Better.At
    – BigStove
    – Modern Species
    – Order.SM
    – ThinkPicture
    – Upaya Social Ventures

    • johnhcook

      What part of Seattle are you in?

      • http://yakshaving.net ash bhoopathy

        Whoops :)  Belltown, above Brasa

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