Galvanize CEO Opens Up About $18M Round, Plan to Create Ed Startup

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which Deters believes will create a network across the country that clients can use to extend their geographic reach.

While Deters ultimately hopes to change the education system, Galvanize and gSchool are for-profit businesses. With University Ventures and other unnamed investors on board, it will need to return a sizeable profit and/or exit.

“The why behind all this is I believe you can change the world through entrepreneurship and education. I do think we can build a very profitable business at the same time,” Deters said. “Where that ends up going—do we get acquired, do we take it public—we’re not really focused on that. We’re focused on building a great business that’s both sustainable and impactful.”

Deters said that “trillions and trillions” is spent on education worldwide, and while that may be a bit of hyperbole, he is sure the market is sizeable enough to sustain many different models and players.

The investment from University Ventures is an endorsement of that view and Galvanize as well, Deters said. The firm’s stated goal is to advance “the development of the next generation of colleges and universities on a global scale,” and it only invests in higher-education programs. Since 2011 it has raised two funds totaling at least $288 million. The firm’s major backer is Bertelsmann, the giant German media and publishing conglomerate.

The gSchool is unaccredited for now, which means students cannot receive financial aid from federal programs. While that might be a negative in some people’s eyes, Deters said Galvanize is trying to counter that by creating a program that’s respected in the tech industry and results in good jobs for students. Graduates from the first few classes have a 98 percent hiring rate and have landed jobs at companies such as Pivotal Labs and SendGrid.

Money from the new round also will go toward expanding Galvanize’s building/campus in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood to 70,000 square feet. The expansion gives Galvanize extra space for gSchool classes, events, and more startups and entrepreneurs to use it for co-working.

Galvanize also is building a second campus in Denver and recently announced it plans to open one in Fort Collins, CO.

The new funds for education and national expansion build on Galvanize’s early success in creating a hub for Denver’s startup community. It originally made its name as a place for hosting events and hackathons, along with being one of the first places to provide desk space and services to startups.


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