Bored with class, General Assembly sells to Swiss staffing company for $412.5m

After shifting from an employee-focused to an employer-focused training business, General Assembly was scooped up by a massive Swiss staffing company.


April 17, 2018

General Assembly, the New York-based school for professionals, was just bought by a huge Swiss human-resources company called the Adecco Group for nearly half a billion.

GA was valued at $440m after its most recent $70m round of funding. The deal came after a year of growth and shifting strategy for the company.

School really isn’t cool after all

Founded in 2011, GA started as a co-working space to provide job-seekers with training on topics such as data, coding, and marketing. But after $120m of funding, GA got tired of ramen-munching job-seekers — and decided to go after the well-fed job-posters instead.

Offering staff training and a direct hiring pipeline, the company partnered with little-known companies like Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Because employers have more money than (prospective) employees

After scoring high marks with a roster of high-profile clients, General Assembly — whose revenue hit $100m in 2017 at a 30% compound growth rate — became an attractive investment opportunity for staffing agencies who struggled to develop their own training programs.

To big-kid-on-the-playground Adecco the General Assembly deal is little more than milk money (they do $29.2B in annual sales) — a small price to pay to catch up to growing rivals in the staffing industry.

General Assembly founder and CEO Jake Schwartz will continue to run the company as an independent division under the Adecco umbrella. There’s no word yet on what he will wear to his first day of work.

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