General Assembly’s Matt Brimer Talks About the Connection Between Education and Community [Video]

February 14, 2013

3:30 pm

General Assembly cofounder Matt Brimer is not just building a company; he and his team are building a grassroots community around startups and entrepreneurship. General Assembly is a network of campuses for technology, business, and design instruction – teaching the more practical and user-ready skills needed to launch a company.

As Matt puts it, the recession reduced the opportunity cost for people who were considering starting a company of their own. The resulting increase in people who need to learn how to run a successful business led Matt and his team to offer an environment where students could learn directly from practitioners, for an applicable skillset they could apply immediately to their work.

According to Matt, there is “a gap between where a traditional, liberal arts, college education leaves off, and where the 21st century begins.”

General Assembly looks to fill this gap by providing a “trade school for the new economy,” where skills like UX design, web development, and negotiation tactics are taught.

Originally launched as a co-working space, General Assembly has evolved into a global learning ecosystem. The organization has campuses in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, and Sydney, with plans to expand to Las Vegas later this year.

General Assembly recently raised a Series B round of funding, to the tune of $9.8 million, from Tony Hsieh of Vegas TechFund, John Fisher, Mousse Partners, and previous investors Maveron, Bezos Expeditions, and Tom Vander Ark.

In the video below, Matt talks about the connection between community and education, as well as lessons learned from his experience building General Assembly.


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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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