Looks like General Assembly’s international expansion plans were more than a rumor. Apparently the Flatiron’s own urban campus/co-working space/incubator will be taking its startup hub model to London’s Shoreditch.
Things must be moving fast. Betabeat stopped by General Assembly in the first week of October to ask Adam Pritzker about a potential move to London and were told repeatedly that no such plan was in the works.
However, after meeting with government officials from the UK earlier this year, General Assembly tells the Financial Times (getting in good with the locals, no doubt) that it plans to build a 20,000 sq. ft. base in east London by spring of 2012. This move will help fuel government plans to transform Shoreditch into an innovation cluster.
Yuri Milner, who along with Howard Schultz and Jeff Bezos participated in a $4.5 million investment round in GA in September, plans on making an another undisclosed investment in GA London, telling the Times:
“I’ve seen first-hand how General Assembly has bolstered the technology and entrepreneurial community in New York, and I believe that its community and education-oriented approach is exactly what London needs to produce the next generation of world-class entrepreneurs.”
Betabeat has written about Shoreditch a couple times, thanks to Spotify investor and head of special projects Shakil “Shak” Khan. Mr. Khan, who pointed us to the Soho House in Shoreditch, compared the area to the Meatpacking District. But chatting up a recent transplant this weekend, she seemed convinced the hipster factor was much closer to Williamsburg.
Mr. Milner met David Cameron himself as part of efforts to entice large tech firms and investors to move to London. In fact, GA will be facing some competition–or comrades–depending on how you look at it. East London already has a number of multi-purpose “workspaces that sit somewhere between members’ club, lecture theatre, pub and office” such as the Trampery, TechHub, the Hoxton Mix, London Hackspace, and Google’s plans to refurbish a seven-story office as a startup launchpad.