Building the Educational Institution of the Future – Why We Acquired Zipfian Academy


I have very exciting news to share: we’ve acquired Zipfian Academy, and their team has joined Galvanize. Please welcome the co-founders, Ryan Orban and Jonathan Dinu, and their entire team to our growing community.

Two years ago, we set out to build a new type of institution – one that provides skills and access to anyone with ambition. We’ve built it atop the principals of a strong community, and at the heart of our urban campuses where startups, students, instructors, industry leaders, and venture capitalists are indistinguishable and aligned. We call this magical place Galvanize, and we are grateful for everyone who’s been a part of it.

With a high-density community of entrepreneurs as the foundation, we’ve built a rigorous and immersive curriculum to fuel the community’s demand for software engineers called gSchool. In November 2012, we received over 400 applications for our inaugural class – a first-of-its-kind, six-month immersive code school taking students from zero to industry-ready junior software engineer.

In July of 2013, we graduated our first cohort of 25 students. It was life-changing for them and us. The unemployed, the underemployed, and anyone with dedication now had a vehicle to a rewarding and life-changing career. This type of onramp into the tech industry for people from all backgrounds had never been available before. We were creating talented engineers to fuel the growth of the thriving startups and businesses within our own growing community. It was AWESOME, and we were hooked.

Today, we have three campuses in Denver, Boulder and San Francisco, with several hundred community members and gSchool alumni around the world. In the past 24 months, we’ve seen startups grow from 2 to 30, and have witnessed our bright-eyed students become confident industry and community leaders. We’ve have been able to provide scholarships or deferred payment plans to over 70% of over students, which has allowed us to create the diversity we wish to see in the industry.

To further bolster Galvanize’s educational offerings, we recently launched our accredited Masters of Engineering in Big Data, which is offered through GalvanizeU. We believe all our programs will continue to validate the immersive education model as the most efficient and effective way of aligning learners with employers and building relevant skills.

“Galvanize’s gSchool is the only external immersive program that consistently produces the industry-ready engineers that can meet Pivotal’s standards.” Rob Mee, Pivotal SVP of R&D. 

The Zipfian team shares our values and has built the premier brand in the field of data science. When I met the co-founders Ryan Orban and Johnathan Dinu earlier this year, I said to myself, “this team is gSchool for data science.” Ryan and Jonathan (both instructors) and their team have educated 70 students with 93% placement at top companies in the San Francisco community. Zipfian graduates are employed at Tesla, Facebook, Uber, Asana, Twitter, Airbnb and Over the past year, they started the SF Data Science Meetup and have grown it to 2,600 members. They have an active and deep community focus, and we’re excited to be a part of that.

It’s rare to find such great alignment and brilliant entrepreneurs and educators as the Zipfian team, and we’re thrilled to have them join Galvanize. Together, I’m confident that our communities will continue to build a world-class educational institution.

-Jim Deters, Founder & CEO