Wednesday, June 27, 2012

General Assembly Opens London Branch

General Assembly, the New York-based education startup that offers classes and mingling space to tech developers and entrepreneurs, today officially opens its doors on its new London campus — marking its first expansion outside the U.S., and part of a bigger international strategy that will see the Yuri Milner/Jeff Bezos-backed company also expand to Berlin in July.


Adam Pritzker, one of GA’s co-founders, says that London was an ideal first move abroad because the tech world here “has a lot of the same dynamics New York did 1-2 years ago.” But that doesn’t mean this will be a carbon copy of the original: he also says that GA wants to cater to the local clientele, and will be expanding its program accordingly.

That could see GA put a new emphasis on big data development in the future, he says — speaking more to the finance and finance tech community here in London, as well as other industries big in the city and ripe for technological innovation.

“Some of the most exciting opportunities are those in legacy industries like retail, publishing, finance and advertising,” he told me when I interviewed him on the roof terrace office GA occupies in Clerkenwell, a location he said they chose because it straddles a few worlds: retail, publishing and advertising in the West End, finance in the City, and all the cook developer kids in the East End.

It also happens to be around the corner from Skillsmatter, a local outfit that has been providing software education around the corner from Clerkenwell for a number of years.

As with New York, the premise in London is the same: the world is catapulting ahead in technology, but it is doing so at a rate where many people cannot keep up: GA provides a place for developers and non-developers to pick up those skills and get more engaged.