The New York-based education company — which hosts online and in-person courses on topics such as Web development, digital marketing and data science — has chosen Seattle as its 10th location. It will be operating out of the new WeWork co-working space in South Lake Union, also a recent transplant from New York.
“Seattle is a great city with a long legacy and history as a center of the tech world,” said General Assembly CEO and co-founder Jake Schwartz. “It has many of the ideal qualities we look for when we expand in a city — a robust set of fast growing companies, highly talented young people, and a great urban downtown where people want to live. It’s a true ecosystem, and we hope we can help it grow even more.”
Seattle also is a special location for General Assembly since a number of the company’s investors have roots here. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Maveron, the Seattle venture capital firm led by former investment banker Dan Levitan and Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz, invested in the company back in 2011. TeachStreet co-founder Dave Schappell, now with Amazon.com, also is a small investor.
Maveron also was a participant in the company’s $35 million venture round, which closed last month. At the time of that deal, General Assembly announced that more than 100,000 students had participated in one of its programs.
There’s no shortage of online and brick-and-mortar education outfits in Seattle, many of them targeting a new breed of workers and life-long learners. In fact, Northeastern University set up a branch — which happens to be just a few blocks away from General Assembly in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood — in 2012. Another new entrant is Seattle-based Code Fellows, which promises that graduates of the 2-month long programming bootcamps receive jobs of $100,000 or more once they complete the program.
Schwartz said that General Assembly is focused on building a global community, noting that the classroom is just the start of the experience. It also operates branches in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, L.A., Boston, London, Washington D.C. and Berlin.
“Our courses are all taught by practitioners and designed to provide an immediate return on investment for all our students,” he said via email. “We build our curriculums backwards based on the goal and work with employers every step of the way to understand what someone needs to know in order to succeed in their career.”
To celebrate its arrival in Seattle, General Assembly is hosting a launch party at WeWork this Friday. Classes and workshops will start in mid May, with part-time and full-time courses starting in the fall.