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.
When looking at how to continue to serve our ever-growing student and alumni community in NYC, we had to look hard at the community’s needs and our use of our NYC real estate. Since our launch, we’ve seen an explosion in coworking options come available, with great companies dedicating focus and investment in that model. And 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.
We have incredible appreciation and respect for our members and their involvement in our founding and continued growth. But for a long time now, coworking has been a small part of the “business” of GA, even as it has remained important as a reminder of community as a founding an ongoing value of our company.
For the NYC startup community, we will continue doing what we have been doing all along – hosting events, career fairs, hackathons, fireside chats, and panels. Over the next few weeks and months, we will be working with other great coworking spaces throughout the city to ensure a seamless transition for our existing members as we effect this change. We will have a team dedicated to making sure that our existing members are taken care of, and will continue to be among the most successful group of startups in NYC. Our members are still an important part of GA’s vision to build a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love – and they always will be.
Jake Schwartz is the co-founder and CEO of General Assembly.