Jake Schwartz, Author at General Assembly Blog | Page 2

About Jake Schwartz

Jake Schwartz is the co-founder and chief executive officer of General Assembly. As a specialized educational institution for 21st century skills in data, design, business and technology, General Assembly (GA) is empowering a global community to pursue work they love through best-in-class instruction and access to opportunities. GA works with students online and in person across 25 campuses around the world and hundreds of companies as partners in course development and graduate placement as well as through GA’s corporate training and development business. General Assembly was named as the number one most innovative company in education by Fast Company in 2015. Schwartz was named E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, and was recently named one of Crain’s “40 under 40." He earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale in 2000 and a M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton in 2008.

General Assembly to FCC: Please Preserve Net Neutrality

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Today, General Assembly submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing discrimination and paid prioritization by Internet service providers. I am deeply concerned by the FCC’s proposed rules, and the repercussions they would have on our students and businesses like ours.

Under the FCC’s proposal, Internet service providers would be regulated by the FCC in the same way telephone companies are regulated. In practice, this means that Internet service providers could offer “paid prioritization” to customers with deep pockets. Pay more, and your content is delivered faster. Unfortunately, this type of discriminatory pricing would prevent many new entrepreneurial endeavors from ever getting off the ground. Without resources to pay Internet service providers for preferential treatment, many entrepreneurs won’t be able to compete.

When my co-founders and I started General Assembly in 2011, we quickly found ourselves competing with a host of online and offline incumbents, many with ample funds and an incentive to keep companies like General Assembly out of education. Had the FCC’s rules been in place at our founding, it would have been much more difficult for Brad, Matt, Adam and me to found and grow General Assembly. It’s hard enough to start a business and find resources for the important things – in our case building new and better courses for our students and supporting our graduates – without diverting funds to Internet service providers to enjoy service on par with well-funded competitors.

Moreover, many of our students are entrepreneurs and many more find employment at new entrepreneurial ventures after graduating from our courses. By privileging large and entrenched incumbents, this rule would have potentially disastrous effects on our students, discouraging entrepreneurial activity and limiting the creation of jobs in entrepreneurial ventures. I’m upset by the prospect of a rule that would make it much harder for our students to pursue the work they love, be it their own entrepreneurial venture, a job at a startup or anything else that requires an even playing field on the Internet.

The Internet has always been a place of openness and equality, a place where a blog can speak as loudly as an established news source, where one person with one idea can change the world. Discriminatory pricing practices threaten our students, our business and businesses like ours, the general public, and the economic well-being of our country. As co-founder and CEO of General Assembly, I urge the FCC not to play policy roulette with the lifeblood of entrepreneurship in this country.

– Jake Schwartz
July 1, 2014

GA CEO Jake Schwartz Named Entrepreneur of the Year

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This week, Ernst & Young named me an EY Entrepreneur of the Year in New York. This is a great honor by an amazing company with a storied history of supporting entrepreneurs, and I’m incredibly grateful.

As I got up on stage to accept the award, I started to reflect on the growth of General Assembly over the years, and how many people it took to get the company where it is today. No one person alone can make a company succeed. There are so many stakeholders, so many supporters, so many people who make GA work, that the idea of a singular Entrepreneur of the Year seems unfathomable.

To list some of the crucial, irreplaceable heroes who are part of the GA story so far:

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Announcing: Opportunity Fund

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Today we are announcing the pilot of a very exciting new program, which we are calling the Opportunity Fund. Our initial partners, Microsoft, Google, Hirepurpose and Nas (yes, the rapper), have all offered up generous scholarship funds to help veterans, women, and minorities become less underrepresented in the tech industry.

Ever since we founded General Assembly, we have held our community as the central element of our identity and values. As we’ve grown, our definition of community has expanded from NYC to other cities, and even to other continents. We have relentlessly pursued our mission to “create a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love,” but we know there’s a ton of work to do along the way.

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General Assembly Raises $35 Million in Series C Round

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Since our launch in 2011, General Assembly has made tremendous progress towards our long-term vision: Creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue the work they love. General Assembly has already touched hundreds of thousands of lives, with a community of more than 100,000 students, including an alumni network of more than 6,000 graduates of our courses across eight campuses.

While our progress has been tremendous, our work has barely begun. Our mandate, our deepest organizational responsibility, is to support these alumni not just now, but for many, many years to come. It is this obligation that led to our new round of funding for General Assembly, designed to ensure that we will be able to educate students and help decades of alumni yet to come. Led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), this round represents over $35 million of investment, with participation from other investors including GSV Capital, Rethink Education, Maveron, and Western Technology Investment. IVP is an incredible firm, with an awe-inspiring portfolio including Twitter, Omniture, Netflix, Akamai, Soundcloud, and Snapchat. Todd Chaffee, general partner at IVP, is joining our board, and we’re proud to partner with the firm as we continue to expand our audience and scope of offerings.

While we look toward the future, I also want to recognize General Assembly’s team today. We have 250 amazing, talented people, working tirelessly from outposts across the globe. Working at a startup is a constant challenge and I’m proud of what our team has accomplished. Our ability to continue to invest and grow is due to their commitment to General Assembly and to our students; they are the most crucial element of our collective success to date.

While a financing round is a milestone, it is hardly an endpoint. We want to build General Assembly to still be thriving 75 years from now, and have mountains of work to do to continue to serve our students, alumni, and the countless individuals we have yet to reach. There will be new courses, new campuses, and new audiences to come. We look forward to sharing them with our growing global community.

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GA and Education Regulation

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As you may have seen, coding “bootcamps” and other tech skills training programs in the Bay Area are coming under examination by the State of California’s regulatory agency for postsecondary education. Since there is a lot of half-baked knowledge and misinformation on blogs about these subjects, we wanted to share an update on what these regulations mean (and don’t mean) for General Assembly and our students.

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An Open Letter to Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio

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Welcome

Dear Mr. Mayor-Elect,

On behalf of General Assembly, and the broader NYC tech community, I’d like to congratulate you on your decisive victory in yesterday’s election.

Over the past several years, we’ve all seen New York City emerge as one of the country’s strongest and most attractive startup ecosystems.  This wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of City Hall and the Economic Development Corporation.  GA is living proof of this: we were founded with the support of the Economic Development Corporation, and in less than three years, we’ve grown from four co-founders to 100 full-time employees in New York, and about 100 more worldwide.

So, Mr. de Blasio, I am confident that as Mayor, you will also be committed to maintaining our place as a global technology hub, and continue to support and encourage the city’s entrepreneurs, innovators and creators, in the same way that the city supported us.

As you begin to build your team and prioritize the issues where your administration will focus its efforts, I want to offer a few thoughts on why tech matters to NYC, and what you can do to keep us on the right path:

1) Tech means diversification.

Tech is important to New York City for a lot of reasons, but one in particular stands out: the economy. Ten years ago, NYC’s tax revenue was overly dependent on financial services – and we all now know that was a precarious dependency. High growth tech companies are the best hope towards creating a more sustainable and diversified tax base for our city’s future well being.

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Coworking and Community at GA

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When we founded General Assembly, our idea was simple: we wanted to build a new place to support the growing NYC startup community.

Nearly three years later, when I look back at our early goal, I am astonished – we have overshot that goal by a considerable margin.  In a very short time, General Assembly has grown from a collaborative space that a small group within the NYC startup community could call home into a global educational institution that has helped empower nearly 70,000 individuals to pursue work they love.

Throughout this period of intense growth, the original idea has remained constant, even while the scope and scale have changed.

Over the past two and a half years, our community has grown much larger than our amazing co-working members.  It now encompasses the tens of thousands of students who’ve come through our doors and the more than 3,000 alumni of our long-form courses, not to mention the hundreds of instructors and the 2,000 hiring partners who come to GA in search of top talent.  Similarly, support once meant desks and space, but has come to also mean instruction, opportunity and talent for our students and hiring partners.

It is in this context that we have made the decision to stop offering our coworking services in 2014.  It is not a decision we took lightly – but it is a necessary one as we work to expand our global network of students and alumni.

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