WeWork Labs, WeWork’s equity-free incubator platform for early-stage startups and corporate innovators, achieved a second successful year since taking the program global in 2018—expanding program offerings, establishing new partnerships, and developing a global mentorship platform. To date, WeWork Labs has provided 4,600 members in 50 cities and 19 countries with flexible and collaborative workspaces, programming, mentorship, access, and community to grow and succeed.
“Supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses are at the core of WeWork’s founding mission, and WeWork Labs has established itself as a leading global offering for early-stage startups. We are as focused as ever in continuing to support this community and creating an exceptional workplace experience and value proposition for entrepreneurs globally,” said Prabhdeep Singh, global head of WeWork Labs.
In 2019, WeWork Labs successfully:
Established new partnerships: WeWork Labs secured partnerships with a growing number of forward-thinking organizations, including large enterprises, government entities and local incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms to create innovative hubs that provide holistic, lasting support to startups:
- In China, WeWork Labs partnered with Alibaba’s cloud computing arm, Alibaba Cloud, to launch a series of co-branded incubating programs across major cities in China. The collaboration between both companies allows participating entrepreneurs to grow their businesses both in Greater China and overseas.
- In Stockholm, WeWork Labs partnered with Danske Bank to launch the financial institution’s third cohort for its +impact accelerator, focusing on startups with circular business models. WeWork Labs leveraged its global network and physical workspace to attract relevant advisors to work with selected startups and produce a large-scale demo day showcasing results at the end of the program.
- In Seattle, WeWork Labs partnered with Washington Maritime Blue and the Port of Seattle to launch Washington’s first maritime accelerator, providing space and programming to a handful of startups over an accelerated four-month period. The partnership aims to help 11 maritime companies innovate and grow as well as establish the Puget Sound region as a leading hub for sustainable maritime and ocean industries.
Expanded program offerings: This year, WeWork Labs expanded its program offerings to include vertical innovation labs where entrepreneurs, industry experts, and corporations can come together under a single workspace to drive innovation within a specific industry. WeWork Labs has launched and scaled nearly half a dozen programs to date across industries including food, mining, and property tech, with a program focused on fintech expected to launch in early 2020. Each space has attracted startups and corporations alike, with many large enterprises collaborating and partnering directly with early-stage members.
Developed a global mentorship platform: WeWork Labs developed an online platform called Insider to provide members with access to virtual workshops, resources, and connections to experts and mentors across subjects and industries. WeWork Labs has grown its mentor network to include over 3,400 mentors who populate the platform with content on topics that are critical to building a successful startup, from business development and brand marketing to fundraising, wellness, and more. Our Labs managers facilitate introductions between members and mentors through this platform, helping startups receive tailored feedback and guidance based on their stage of growth.
WeWork Labs has leveraged its global platform to help hundreds of startups collaborate and achieve notable milestones including headcount growth and fundraising, allowing them to excel in the WeWork community while enrolled in the program.
Collaboration: WeWork Labs’s global platform and network facilitates collaboration among startup members and the broader WeWork community. Seattle-based member Cloud Paper, a sustainable paper company, worked with WeWork community teams to equip all WeWork locations across Washington and Oregon with Cloud Paper products, attracting new customers both within the WeWork community and beyond.
Graduation: WeWork Labs has helped over 130 unique startups graduate into standard WeWork offices around the globe, translating into nearly 1,000 WeWork memberships. WeCode, a programming education startup, joined WeWork Labs with one desk in Seoul. In less than a year, with the support from our in-house Labs team and community, WeCode quickly scaled its business and headcount, today taking close to 40 desks at WeWork Seolleung Station II.
Fundraising: WeWork Labs members have collectively raised $125 million in funding to date. Stojo, a company that created the world’s first collapsible coffee cup, joined the WeWork Labs program in New York in 2018. Over the course of Stojo’s time as a member, WeWork Labs helped the company strengthen the sustainability angle of their brand and work with its founders to identify the right investors to scale its business, helping the company secure more than $700,000 in funding. Stojo is now a graduate of the program and a current member at WeWork Dock 72.
Photography by WeWork