As some technology bootcamps have begun to sputter, Denver’s Galvanize said it is dealing with its own growing pains and on Tuesday cut 37 employees, or 11 percent of its workforce.
“These actions are consistent with our overall strategy to build a more product-focused platform that enables a continuous learning environment, serving all members of the Galvanize community: from students, to large enterprises to the more than 1,000 startups who reside on our campus,” said Robin Olsen, Galvanize’s director of public relations, in an email.
The company, cofounded in 2012 by tech entrepreneur Jim Deters and several others, started as a coworking space for startups. But its goal was to add technology education. Galvanize became one of the early companies to offer crash courses in web development, computer programming and other technology skills.
Galvanize also picked up several rounds of funding, its most recent last August when it raised $45 million in a deal led by ABS Capital Partners. At the time, it employed 139 people in the Denver and 300 nationwide. The company has moved quickly to expand to other states to offer more technology training courses that appeal workers in a job rut. The company opened its eighth campus in New York City this year.
But Galvanize wasn’t the only bootcamp in town. In the Denver area alone, similar tech educators include Turing School of Software, Skill Distillery and Code Craft School of Technology. Elsewhere, national boot-camps like General Assembly, which has a location across the street from Galvanize’s Platte Street campus, grew rapidly and now has about two dozen campuses worldwide.
According to the Course Report, which tracks and reviews bootcamps, the number of bootcamp companies has grown to 94 companies, compared to 91 last year — a number that includes 15 new schools and seven closed ones. Denver has eight campuses, while Boulder has two, according to the Course Report.
As competition increased, schools found themselves struggling to strategize and attract students willing to part with $20,000-and-up tuition. South Carolina’s The Iron Yard, with 15 locations, and Dev Bootcamp, a San Francisco firm with six campuses, are in the process of shutting down, according to a New York Times story about challenges in the bootcamp business.
For Galvanize, which continues to offer bootcamps, programs for students who pay their own tuition will still be offered but the company is moving to a model of retraining employees of corporate clients who foot the bill.
Deters recently stepped down as CEO to become chairman as Galvanize. He will remain as chairman, Olsen confirmed.
“In a marketplace where we have watched several of our competitors close their doors recently, we see vast opportunity,” Olsen said, pointing to U.S. Department of Labor statistics that tech jobs continue to be the fastest growing job category in the country. “There is a significant tech talent gap in the U.S. — with approximately 600,000 unfilled tech jobs — and the demand far exceeds the supply of skilled talent. Our move to a blended learning environment (physical and digital) and a business focused on both (consumer and business) learners is well positioned to succeed.”