Daniel Hogenkamp, CEO of data company Grassroots Analytics, first began working from WeWork in 2017 as a solo entrepreneur. He had been tired of working from his sofa or in coffee shops. As time went on, he found the relationship with WeWork to be increasingly valuable.
Founded in 2017, Grassroots Analytics began as a political data company with one employee (Hogenkamp). Over the next few years, it grew tremendously. By 2019, the company began exploring other consumer data markets, including data on non-profits and venture funds.
‘WeWork really camouflaged us when we were a four- or five-person company with a load of 25-year-old kids [as employees],’ Hogenkamp says. ‘It was a big reputational upgrade because we would bring in members of Congress, campaign managers, mayors and their staff to meet with us.’
When visitors would enter the busy WeWork office and head to a conference room, they had no idea how small the company was. ‘That really benefited us,’ Hogenkamp says.
Today, however, Grassroots Analytics no longer has to pretend – it’s grown to 45 staffers and expanded into new lines of business. But WeWork is still as vital to the company as ever. When Hogenkamp and his team needed a larger, more elevated space that better reflected its mission, they partnered with WeWork. In November 2021, the team moved into a spacious, corner office at WeWork 700 K Street Northwest in Washington, DC.
The challenge: a company growing quickly with increasing space needs
By March 2020, Grassroots Analytics had a 27-person office, along with a few smaller one- to four-person desks, at WeWork 700 K Street Northwest. Then the pandemic hit, just months before election season. Between having to ramp up ahead of a busy election season and navigating the ebb and flow of remote work during the pandemic, Grassroots Analytics found itself making changes to its workplace strategy every month.
When someone in the operations team bumps into someone on the campaign team… it can lead to ideas that can help the company.Daniel Hogenkamp, CEO of Grassroots Analytics
During the height of COVID-19, Hogenkamp says, the team needed a space where they could work with health and safety front of mind. WeWork provided just that: personal office spaces and dedicated areas where people who needed to collaborate could put on masks and do so in the same room together.
Last year was one of growth, and the company recruited many employees. As more staffers began to return to a normal in-person schedule, the team had begun to outgrow its existing WeWork space, and Grassroots wanted to upgrade. At the same time, the company felt it was time to mature its brand with an elevated space that they could use to meet with clients, host events and impress talent they wanted to recruit.
The solution: a larger office with flexible options and opportunities to customise
Since Grassroots Analytics had been occupying a 27-person office at WeWork 700 K Street Northwest, moving to a larger space in the same building made sense.
The new 66-person office it chose is a premium space – a corner office with three internal rooms and views of the historic Carnegie Library – and a significant upgrade from its previous footprint. Within the large office, there are seven rooms that can be used as executive offices. Grassroots kept their four one-person offices, for a total of 70 desks at WeWork 700 K Street Northwest. With the upgrade, WeWork also granted the company an additional 30 monthly conference room credits to help accommodate the growing team.
‘When we tried to get people to move back into a big room, that was a sticking point for our staff, but WeWork massaged that by giving us a lot of conference room credits,’ Hogenkamp says. That way, teams could still have a quiet, private space beyond the company’s dedicated office.
Finally, the community team in the building made an exception and allowed the company to host events on the building’s rooftop. This was a significant value add for Grassroots Analytics, as the company hosts a number of fundraising events throughout the year and preferred to do so in their own space. The team had two to three events a week all throughout last year, and Hogenkamp expects the same for this year.
The result: an elevated workspace with improved company branding and employee engagement, with room to grow
The larger office has ‘definitely increased our brand’s power’, Hogenkamp says. ‘Especially when people visit.
It’s also allowed Grassroots Analytics to establish a unique company and work culture. ‘A bedrock of the way we’re set up right now is that you sit with the people that you’re doing the same work with,’ Hogenkamp says. ‘Basically, three- to four-person teams manage 150 to 200 high-needs customer accounts each, and it helps build a sense of camaraderie when they work closely together. The layout is also structured so that teams doing similar work are in similar parts of the office.’
Hogenkamp is also a big believer in the power of impromptu conversations that happen between colleagues in shared spaces. ‘When someone in the operations team bumps into someone on the campaign or the customer-facing team, it can lead to ideas that can help the company,’ he says.
Grassroots Analytics is also taking advantage of other WeWork spaces for specific types of work, including conference rooms for when teams need to have focused meetings, and phone booths to take quick calls without background noise.
WeWork has been the perfect fit for Grassroots’ young workforce, who are typically between 20 and 30 years old. It’s helped attract and impress prospective talent straight out of university.
‘It’s really been a boon to our recruiting that we’re back in person, particularly with the under-30s,’ says Hogenkamp. ‘Potential staff take us much more seriously now that they see we have this big, fancy corner office.’
The WeWork experience has been so positive for Grassroots that it will reoccupy its original 27-person office in the same building. That starts this June and will accommodate its summer intern staffing as well as the overall increase in staffing ahead of this year’s election cycle.
- Growth from a 1-person desk to a 27-person office to a 70-person office
- Frequent use of amenities including conference rooms, a rooftop, lounges and phone booths
- A new corner office is a premium space with three internal rooms and views of the historical Carnegie Library, a significant upgrade from its previous footprint
- A space that wows visitors
- An office that attracts young recent graduates
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer who covers work, personal finance and higher education. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Family Circle and monster.com. Follow her on Twitter.