In a move that represents how WeWork is trying to become a hub for all of your professional life needs, the shared-workspace company has acquired the New York City-based coding bootcamp Flatiron School. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“WeWork’s culture is one in which we are always ready to do more, to learn more, and we are proud to expand our offering with this new platform for learning,” said WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. “In Flatiron, we have found a partner who shares our vision of connecting people–through space, design, technology, and community–and understands that those connections are what humanizes the way we work and live. We are all students for life.”
The move is similar to LinkedIn’s purchase of training site Lynda.com back in 2015. The idea was to make LinkedIn the one-stop shop for networking, job listings, and skilling up. Likewise, with its acquisition of Flatiron School, WeWork hopes to become a physical manifestation of the same ideals: a physical space where people can work, live, snack, network, and learn.
WeWork, most recently valued at $20 billion, believes the glue that ties its offerings together is community. Earlier this year it started talking about designing, building, and helping manage office spaces for larger companies. WeWork says its spaces are designed around community and culture and that could be a benefit to other companies.
The co-working company plans to expand the Flatiron School to select WeWork offices, but the timing is still being determined. The company declined to offer up details on what that expansion might look like.
WeWork’s acquisition comes at an interesting time for bootcamps, as more people are questioning the ability of these expensive programs to adequately train students for jobs in such a short period of time. Earlier this month, the Flatiron School was fined $375,000 by the New York Attorney General’s office for marketing dubious job placement rates and starting salary ranges for its graduates (Flatiron claimed 99% of students were able to get jobs following graduation).
As a part of the settlement, Flatiron will have to be more transparent about exactly how many of its grads are getting starting salaries of roughly $75,000 and how many are actually employed (versus those who are freelancing or interning). The organization will also have to get a license from the State Education Department even though it does not grant degrees for its courses.RR