back to school
When we sat down with HappyFunCorp’s Ben Schippers to ask him about his new code school, he had some harsh words about competitors like Flatiron School and General Assembly (GA). By Mr. Schippers’ account, those schools aren’t preparing coders to do much more than make “another Hipchat clone.”
When we asked Mr. Schippers why these schools claim such high placement numbers, he fired back:
Well why can’t we hire them? Google can’t hire them. Where are they actually getting hired? This is what I’m constantly asking people. A lot of these programs will tell you you’re going to be able to get a job, and that’s not the reality.
All the jobs
Remember back in the day, when you had to jerry-rig your Myspace layout with sloppy HTML in order to stand out from the crowd? Kids these days have it so much easier.
As of this morning, General Assembly (GA) is partnering with Tumblr to offer free lessons in how to build Tumblr themes. Tumblr has always offered its mostly-young userbase themes to customize their layouts, but now Tumblr users can to dig into the actual code that drives those layouts.
Rapper Nas is at it again — no, not another follow-up to Illmatic, another scholarship in tech. Nas has teamed up with job placement startup Koru to fund a scholarship for 10 college graduates to go through Koru’s training program.
Koru helps find recent college graduates a job by placing them with a potential employer and running them through a month-long career boot camp as they get started. Coaches from Koru work alongside employers like Zulily, Julep and others to build up skills like team-leading, project management and how to run a meeting. It’s an opportunity for employers to “try before they buy” potential new talent.
Tech has a serious diversity problem — so General Assembly (GA), the New York City private vocational school for programming and engineering, is now opening an “Opportunity Fund” to give scholarships to women, veterans, African-Americans and Latinos.
The first contributors to the fund are Google, Microsoft, Hirepurpose and Nas. Read More
Cowork With Me?
Birchbox Hits the Red Carpet
Never ones to miss out on a culturally relevant partnership, Birchbox announced today that it’s teaming up with Us Weekly in honor of Oscar season. Launching in February, the Oscars-themed Birchbox will feature items hand-picked by Us Weekly Beauty Director Gwen Flamberg and inspired by the most popular looks on this year’s red carpets. Following the awards show, on March 2, Birchbox will be offering Oscars fanatics even more red carpet-inspired goodies in its online “Get the Look” shop. Will J. Law be for sale?
Out and About
Turn the page on a chapter in the history of New York’s startup scene: In 2014, General Assembly will shutter its coworking offering, to focus on classes and events like hackathons and job fairs. Business Insider estimates about a hundred people are affected.
“While we’re making serious investments to grow our New York footprint, there is an almost impossible need for even more space to accommodate our classes, events, students, alumni and staff,” said CEO Jake Schwartz in a blog post explaining the move.
An unusual sight greeted us when we walked into General Assembly on Saturday: a large chalk mural of Coco Chanel. “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable,” read a quote from the designer who’d probably have more right to call herself a “disruptor” than most of the yahoos out in Silicon Valley.
“For me, the most exciting [development] is 3D printing, in terms of–if you can imagine getting custom measurements and printing your own garment, or your own shoe, or designer licensing a shape then you can download and print it,” speculated designer Rebecca Minkoff before she breezed out the door to keep her busy Fashion Week schedule.
Happy Cloud is making it rain Last week, on-demand gaming company Happy Cloud, Inc. announced it had raised a $4.25 million Series A, bringing its total funds to $7 million. The company is now preparing to deliver on-demand videogame demos to avid gamers, in the same way they might access on-demand TV shows or movies. Happy Cloud has also appointed Tamir Buchler to CEO; Mr. Buchler comes to Happy Cloud from IAC/InterActiveCorps’ Pronto.com.
Bondsy is making a deal Showcased at last year’s TechStars Demo Day, unique trading app Bondsy is ready for download. Bondsy allows users to trade one random thing for another: homework help for bacon; cool clothes for a back massage; One Direction tickets for a first-born child. “When you’re not restricted to paying strictly with money, things get a lot more interesting,” said a Bondsy spokesperson. We hear the apps’ creator, Diego Zambrano, posted a homemade poutine to Bondsy and received nine offers in 30 minutes. What would you trade for a pile of fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds?
Bad education? CampInteractive and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian are hosting an ed tech hackathon at General Assembly this weekend, inviting developers, students and ed tech influencers to tackle improve the classroom experience. Since gold stars are being offered for hacks that help engage students with “unusually compelling learning experiences,” we’d like to suggest a Read More
The Principal of New York
Before Mayor Bloomberg signed up for Codecademy, before General Assembly signed its first lease in the Flatiron—even before Peter Thiel started paying kids to skip school—Skillshare founder and CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn was trying convince New York investors to finance his peer-to-peer learning startup. He billed the company as the Etsy of education, since it set up a market for anyone to teach—and learn—practical skills through an affordable hands-on class, starting at $25 a night. (The hybrid online classes that Skillshare launched this August, with Livestream office hours, start at just $20 a night.)