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.)
The Uncubed tech talent fair is back, but this time it’s taken on some major partners and expanded into a two-day, tech celeb-studded event plus awesome party.
As we told you back in April, NYC Uncubed is an initiative that seeks to buck traditional recruitment tactics in favor of innovative new ways for startups to recruit talent. Now, Uncubed has partnered with NYC Digital to host a tech festival on
November 1st and 2nd November 12th and 13th* at the Altman Building in Manhattan.
Teach Me How to Startup
Instapaper proprietor Marco Arment has launched an iPad magazine called The Magazine. It will “often, but not always, be about technology,” and it’ll run four articles (solicited just for the magazine) every two weeks. What happens when you Instapaper those articles is not clear. [Marco.org]
That latest update to Google StreetView adds a whopping 250,000 miles. Included are locations like Catherine Palace and Singapore’s Fort Canning Park, which seems to confirm our suspicions they’re having to look really hard for new things to photograph. [Google Maps Blog]
Speaking of Google: The company’s self-driving cars probably have more full-time lobbyists advocating on their behalf than you. [ Wall Street Journal]
The IFP–the Independent Filmmaker Project, that is–will be developing and operating a Bloomberg-approved “Made in New York” Media Center, a kind of coworking-space-cum-networking-hub where creative types can connect with entrepreneurs and new technologies. Partnering with IFP will be General Assembly, which’ll run educational programming in the space upon its opening in the spring. [IFP]
On a windy evening back in April, Betabeat took a Skillshare class with Designer Pages founder Avi Flombaum called, “Be One of the Cool Kids: An Introduction to Ruby on Rails.” We emerged a modicum cooler, with a much better understanding of Ruby, but nowhere near ready to touch an SDK.
“Does that make sense?” Mr. Flombaum asked repeatedly, thoughtfully checking in on whether his pupils understood why “hash is like a vending machine.” Once he got into the weeds, the best we could do without a programming background was nod politely and pretend.
That helps explain the need for his newest venture, the Flatiron School, which attempts to the close the gap between a dilettante and a skilled app developer.