Coding School Startup General Assembly Lays Off 50

Datetime:2016-08-22 22:53:55          Topic: Assembler           Share

Coding school startupGeneral Assembly confirmed Thursday afternoon that it was cutting 50 members of its 750-strong global staff.

The layoffs amount to 6.7 percent of total staff and effect the startup's New York City headquarters as well as staff at the startup's 15 campuses located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. No hiring freeze is being put in place and no campuses are being shut down, according to General Assembly .

CEO Jake Schwartz tells Inc. the cuts are part of a larger strategy of acting proactively rather than reactively. Re-aligning staff with a smaller number of layoffs now is better than not being prepared and facing massive layoffs down the line, he says. "It's my job as the leader here to make sure we're doing the right thing and making the right decisions ahead of time so that they're not forced upon us."

He contrasted General Assembly to tech startups facing high burn rates, saying the company would be profitable by the end of the year. He reiterated an assertion he made to the Wall Street Journal last year that the company's latest $70 million series D round of funding would be its last.

"I've gone out and raised a bunch of money and it's not fun to do that, and I have no intention of doing that ever again," he says. He says that while he's "not eager to go public tomorrow," an eventual initial public offering is "probably the most logical path" for the company.

Founded in 2010, General Assembly aims to offer "dynamic training to close the global skills gap." The startup offers both full- and part-time classes that train students in areas including coding, design, marketing, business, data science and career development. Instructors are hired from relevant professional fields and receive teacher training from General Assembly.

The startup has raised a total of $110 million from investors including Institutional Venture Partners, Maveron, Learn Capital Venture Partners and others according to the Wall Street Journal . Schwartz says the startup has more than 30,000 alumni. 

The company plans to expand its enterprise offerings and deepen its relationship with companies that rely on General Assembly to train their employees in needed skills, according to the CEO. The network of coding schools found recently that 40 percent of students taking classes offered through the consumer side of the business were having class costs reimbursed by their employers.

"It's not a pivot so much," he says of expanding the company's enterprise work. "It's just sort of a strategic insight that we're acting on."

He says future openings at the company will include positions in instruction, instructor support, career coaching, and positions related to deepening the company's relationship with other companies.

Schwartz declined to state specifics of what what positions were being cut or from what specific campuses.

"In some ways, this is growing up. It's probably the best way to describe it," he says, adding, "The reality is when you're growing this fast, sometimes teams grow too fast and they grow in the wrong way."

He says the company has to think about whether it's "doing the best that we can do with the capital that we've raised with investors."

Salvador Rodriguez contributed to this story. 





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