Emily Lu, Author at General Assembly Blog

Beyond Supercharged: Five Highlights from Meetings with VCs


Meet Ankur Patel and Param Vora, winners of our recent Supercharged sweepstakes. As part of the prize package, Ankur and Param were given the opportunity to grab coffee with three venture capitalists (VCs) and discuss their startup OpenSilo, an enterprise SaaS platform that gives employees fast access to internal subject matter experts. They recently sat down with us to share the top highlights from their experience:

1. Receiving game-changing advice for their startup

Ankur: To be honest, winning this giveaway was the most relevant surprise of all time. These meetings with VCs were extremely relevant for us as co-founders, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Our startup OpenSilo has only been around for a few months, so getting feedback and validation on our company strategy at that stage was critical. The advice and direction we received will absolutely influence how we’ll grow long-term.

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Project Spotlight: ProjectKick


What kinds of projects do General Assembly students work on in the classroom? We recently checked in with Web Development Immersive students Alina Guzman and Kevon Cheung to learn more about ProjectKick.

What is it?

ProjectKick is a data visualization app for Kickstarter projects. It displays data in three main ways — by city, category, and funding.

Where’d the idea come from?

We knew we wanted to create an app centered around communities and creativity. Kickstarter was a perfect topic because everyone’s curious about it these days, but no one knows anything about their data. There aren’t a lot of public statistics because they don’t have an API, so we wanted to find insightful trends and tell people about them.

How long did this project take you to complete?

Nine days, full-time.

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This Week’s Top 3 #LearnedAtGA Tweets (8/10-8/16)


Classes at GA are full of best practices, advice, and tips. We’ve asked our students to share what they #LearnedAtGA and highlight their most memorable takeaways from class. Here are three of the top tweets from this week:

And learning at GA doesn’t just stop when students leave the classroom — we hope this story from one student about the power of community will brighten your day:

Head over to Twitter to check out at what other students have #LearnedAtGA — and don’t forget to share your own notes the next time you take a GA class, whether on campus or online.

Where Are They Now? Carolina Garcia


Carolina Garcia headshot

Meet Carolina Garcia, co-founder of Modabound, an online marketplace for college students to buy and sell fashion items. Along with co-founder Alexa Varsavsky, Carolina enrolled in GA’s Front-End Web Development course out of college, a year after they first launched Modabound. Carolina and Alexa are currently participating in the Techstars London accelerator program, with the goal of expanding to every college campus in America (and beyond!) Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Carolina Garcia (@modabound)
Occupation: Co-founder, Modabound

1. What inspired you to learn front-end web development? How has it helped you run your business?

We knew early on that starting a business as non-technical co-founders would be a challenge — we wanted to guide our developers better, and anticipated questions from investors down the road.

As co-founders with front-end skills, we are now able to project manage much more effectively. While we’re also able to contribute with code, the main benefit is being able to communicate our vision more clearly to our developers, having a better grasp of how long projects will take, and ultimately working more closely as a team.

2. What surprised you most about diving into web development?

I was surprised to learn how welcoming the developer community is. Developers love sharing. They talk a lot. They have boards. People are so open to helping each other out and solving problems together. We gained a great framework for understanding from GA’s Front-End Web Development Course, and from there I’ve been amazed by how much you can continue to learn by using the web as a resource.

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This Week’s Top 3 #LearnedAtGA Tweets


Classes at GA are full of best practices, advice, and tips. We’ve asked our students to share what they #LearnedAtGA and highlight their most memorable takeaways from class. Here are three of the top tweets from this week:

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Where Are They Now? Brooks Swinnerton


Brooks Swinnerton headshot

Meet Brooks Swinnerton, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 10-week Back-End Web Development course. We sat down with Brooks to find out what inspired him to learn to code, what he’s done with his new skills, and why he returned to GA to pay it forward. Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Brooks Swinnerton (@bswinnerton)
Occupation: Systems Administrator, New York University; Teaching Assistant, General Assembly

1. What inspired you to learn back-end web development?

Whenever I ran into a problem or inefficiency, I found myself thinking, “There should be an easier way to do X.” When I couldn’t find a solution, my next thought would be, “I wish I could just create it”. That’s why I decided to learn Ruby on Rails — I wanted the knowledge and power to simplify my life.

Now with these skills, I no longer have to “wish” for a solution; I can create it. I have the freedom to drive the product to exactly where I want it to go, right down to the buttons.

2. What’s something exciting you’ve done with your new Ruby on Rails skills?

Back in March I participated in a five-day event called The Startup Bus. The goal was to build a startup on a bus and launch it 1,800 miles later at SXSW. I applied completely on a whim, and a week later found myself boarding a bus in Union Square with 30 strangers. I took this time to work on my startup idea, Readin.gs. We worked on the bus for 13 hours a day, slept very little and fueled up at Walmarts along the way. It was an insane experience, but made some incredible like-minded friends by the end of the trip.

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