Xconomist of the Week: Q&A with General Assembly’s Brad Hargreaves

11/20/12Follow @gthuang

I hate New York sports teams. But I don’t mind New York startup incubators. Especially when they have a growing presence in Boston and other cities.

General Assembly is much more than that, of course. The company runs a network of startup schools dedicated to entrepreneurship and education, primarily in the fields of technology, business, and design. It opened its workspace in Manhattan’s Flatiron District in January 2011, and has since expanded to Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and also to Berlin, London, Toronto, Melbourne, and Sydney (with different types of offerings and setups in each city).

Earlier this month, General Assembly said it raised $9.8 million in Series B funding from investors including Tony Hsieh (through Vegas TechFund), John Fisher, and Mousse Partners. The company’s previous investors include Jeff Bezos (through Bezos Expeditions), Yuri Milner, and VC firms Maveron and Learn Capital.

General Assembly, which has raised more than $14 million in total, has said it plans to offer classes in Las Vegas in 2013. And it is currently ramping up in the Boston area (within the Cambridge Innovation Center space in Kendall Square), with classes starting last month.

I recently exchanged e-mails with co-founder Brad Hargreaves, an Xconomist since 2011, about General Assembly’s expansion and plans, and where it fits in the evolving ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Here are his thoughts:

On the new fundraising, and General Assembly’s expansion: “During our series B, we raised $9.8 million. This gives us the resources to increase our course offerings offline and online, scale our enterprise education offerings, and to potentially open new locations.”

On how GA is working to differentiate itself from other startup schools and workspaces: “We believe that having actionable skills in technology, business, and design empowers individuals to succeed professionally. We focus our offerings on providing high-quality, practitioner-led educational programming in these areas. We also believe in developing … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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