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Posted: June 19, 2014

Galvanize has big plans for its $18 million

Eyes expansion with latest funding

Gigi Sukin

Colorado-based Galvanize, a growing system of campuses intended to accommodate digital entrepreneurs, plans to use a recent $18 million infusion to open new campuses nationwide, grow its San Francisco space and expand its education leg, gSchool.

After Galvanize's Denver launch in 2012, the startup community was quick to embrace the concept of rentable workspaces in a centralized, customizable professional venue. Since then, Galvanize has expanded to San Francisco and Boulder, with additional campuses in Denver and Fort Collins underway.

Each Galvanize site is intended to cultivate a diverse community of entrepreneurs, students, employers, mentors and investors, where working and learning are synonymous.

“We think what we’re building here is the future of education,” co-founder and CEO Jim Deters said. “Especially in this skilled-based economy that we work in … learning is a continuum process where you can build a la carte skill sets.”

Current educational offerings at Galvanize span the spectrum from part-time workshops to 24-week immersive developer training courses. Galvanize expects to launch a variety of new programs by fall across the network of campuses thanks to the latest round of Series A financing, led by New York-based University Ventures Fund, a higher education-focused investment firm.

The Galvanize network is now home to more than 150 startups and member companies, including Box and Pandora, and has partnerships with Google, IBM and others to provide exclusive content and programming to the startup community. In addition to its workshops and networking events, Galvanize also makes available mentor office hours during which members can interface with experienced entrepreneurs and investors.

Though Deters remained tight-lipped on city expansion specifics, he ran through a list of urban options, including New York, Austin, Seattle and Boston, that could have Galvanize hubs in their futures.

“You need to have access to the power nodes of the world,” he said.

Asked why Fort Collins, Deters said, “The Kauffman Foundation named [Fort Collins] the second most entrepreneurial city in the country,” adding that Colorado had four of the top 10 most entrepreneurial U.S. cities.

A common criticism of Colorado’s professional playing field, however, is its friendliness to startups – until they attempt to find funding.

“To the point of fleeing, we do think great companies can grow up anywhere,” Deters said. “Any company can start here in Colorado and flourish here in Colorado.”

He does admit that connections with locations such as the San Francisco hub doesn’t hurt startups’ chances for breakout success.

What will remain true throughout Galvanizes's evolution and expansion is the community's digital lens on the business world.

“No matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to be dealing with technology," Deters said. "It’s the fundamental driver of everything."

Watch a video interview with Galvanize's Jim Deters.

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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