Staffing Firm Adecco Enters Education With General Assembly Acquisition

Deals in the education technology market are heating up in early 2018.

Adecco Group continued its push beyond the staffing-management world into the broader HR spectrum with the April 16 acquisition of global education technology startup General Assembly.

The deal, valued at $412.5 million, according to a joint release, reflects the changing nature of talent management and development. It’s also another indication that the education technology market continues to sizzle. Degreed, the employee-training platform, secured $42 million in venture capital funding in March.

General Assembly partnered with tech giant Adobe to open the Adobe Digital Academy in 2016 to close the tech skills gap and bring more women and minorities into the field.

And a report in TechCrunch noted that Adecco has been seeking venture-backed HR startups.

“Earlier this year, the company acquired Vettery in a $100 million deal. That company had developed a marketplace where job candidates could look at offers and schedule interviews with potential employers that interested them — with the potential to receive a signing bonus from Vettery when they took a position,” according to TechCrunch.

TechCrunch also noted earlier this year that global investors ponied up $8.15 billion in education technology companies in the first 10 months of 2017.

According to the announcement, General Assembly will continue to operate as a separate division within the Adecco Group under founder and CEO Jake Schwartz and his team, reporting to Sergio Picarelli, member of the executive committee of the Adecco Group.

“General Assembly has always been about creating bridges between education and employment,” said Schwartz in the statement. “That’s what has allowed us to scale to 20 campuses, 50,000 alumni, and over 300 Fortune 500 clients. As our work with employers has grown, so has our need to connect in a deeper way with the world of human capital, and that is why we are so excited about the transformational opportunities that come with this partnership.

“We chose the Adecco Group because it brings a multitude of strategic opportunities to serve enterprise clients, solve pervasive digital skills gaps and align our offerings with the world-class brands that comprise the Adecco Group network,” Schwartz added.

Founded in 2011, General Assembly offers employer-focused, practitioner-taught technical skills training and development in business-critical areas such as coding, data science, user experience design and digital marketing. Its full-time and part-time courses are delivered by instructors across an international network of 20 campuses, at enterprise client sites, online or via a blended model. Its award-winning curriculums have proven highly effective at delivering specific skills and enhancing career paths, achieving significantly higher engagement and completion rates than online-only training.

Rick Bell is Chief Learning Officer’s editorial director. Comment below, or email