Before there were Meetups, Great Courses, TakeLessons.com and online dating services, The Learning Annex held sway. Launched 30 years ago in New York City, The Learning Annex provided classes on everything under the sun, and a way to meet people. Major topics have included self improvement, personal growth, entrepreneurship, wealth building, health and spirituality.
The company, known for its widely distributed print catalogs, has been evolving. Several years ago, it had a new wave of success promoting giant celebrity classes from the likes of Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Suze Orman, Russell Simmons and Deepak Chopra, in addition to thousands of in-person, hyperlocal classes.
But what would a full-service reboot look like for 2012? That’s the challenge for new CEO Dave Galvan, the longtime local vet who’d previously held executives slots with Schedulicity, Topix, InfoUSA and Yahoo.
Galvan tells us that the company is still going strong, but everything is being re-evaluated as it positions for future online growth. “Some things have done really well offline but did not resonate online,” he says. “We want to create the most exciting and dynamic online marketplace for knowledge…think ‘Air BnB for education,” he says. “There is no real leader in this space; it’s a wide open market and opportunity.”
He’s brought along a brand-new product team to help with the task and envisions the development “of a great discovery platform that allows the service to leverage the best of online and offline capabilities. We could not have done this five years ago,” he says.
Launching late this summer, Galvan says the new Learning Annex will offer the best in offline and online education in a celebrity curated marketplace. Subsequent revs will include additional city rollouts, merchandising and new platform functionality.