When it comes to suggesting coworking spaces to friends and colleagues, WeWork is typically the first name that springs to mind. And it’s easy to see why. The WeWork brand is ubiquitous in the ever-expanding coworking industry. As long as the availability of brick and mortar buildings continues to stagnate––and as the working population continues to surge––a quiet and dedicated desk or office will always be a hot commodity. This is where WeWork scored its first great achievement. WeWork Labs is their second.
What is WeWork Labs?
In order to stay at the top of the coworking industry pyramid, WeWork recognized the need to branch out. And branch out, they did. In fact, they’ve experienced unrivaled success as a result of a number of different offshoots, like WeLive––fully furnished, community-oriented residential apartment suite rentals, offering great amenities in select US metropolitan areas––and WeGrow, an educational arm of the family. But WeWork Labs is another story entirely.
Given the nature of most startups, coworking space has been the preferred setting for many small, independent businesses working towards larger growth––both in value and in employees. WeWork recognized this trend and began brainstorming intuitive ways in which to nurture such clients. As a result, the idea of WeWork Labs was born.
WeWork Labs gathers a global community of early-stage startups and offers comprehensive benefits, including education, mentorship, and, of course, an agile workspace in which they can grow––all while staying true to the brand’s credo of innovation, creativity, and togetherness. A crash course accelerator for startups, if you will. The idea was ingenious; the business model, even more so.
Despite the firm’s relatively early stages (having been formed in 2011), WeWork Labs has already proven immensely successful and counts numerous well-known startups as clients.
But how exactly does WeWork Labs…work?
How Does It Work?
WeWork Labs was founded on a remarkably novel idea that sprang from the success of WeWork as a coworking space. Creating an elevated experience for members of that existing audience has always been the challenge––and the source of WeWork Labs’ triumph. The process for enrollment is unbelievably simple and streamlined. In fact, all you really need in order to join is an idea.
WeWork Labs base their search criteria on applicants just beginning their entrepreneurial journey. If you have assembled a startup team (or even if you have yet to hire a single employee), and are in the initial stages of development, you can apply to join a WeWork Lab. Simple enough, right? What’s more, the type of industry is irrelevant. There is no field or calling too complicated. If you have a legitimate dream to begin a startup, but don’t know where to start, WeWork Labs can help.
WeWork Labs Locations
Much like WeWork coworking spaces, WeWork Labs grows in leaps and bounds each year. As of 2020, there are 52 unique WeWork Labs spread out across 5 continents and 21 countries. What’s more, WeWork Labs is planning to expand to more than 100 locations around the world by the end of this year.
- Australia (Sydney and Melbourne)
- Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Belo Horizonte)
- Canada (Toronto and Montreal)
- China (Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen)
- Czech Republic (Prague)
- France (Paris)
- Germany (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologn, and Berlin)
- India (Gurugram, Bengaluru, and Mumbai)
- Ireland (Dublin)
- Israel (Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Herzliya)
- Mexico (Juarez)
- Norway (Oslo)
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- Poland (Warsaw)
- Russia (Moscow)
- Singapore (Singapore)
- South Korea (Seoul)
- Sweden (Stockholm)
- Thailand (Bangkok)
- United Kingdom (London, Manchester, and Edinburgh)
United States––20 locations:
- New York City
- San Mateo
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Washington, DC
As you can imagine, each WeWork Labs location is different in terms of space, size, layout and staff accommodation, so amenities will always vary by site. However, what is constant throughout the entire WeWork organization is an office consisting of agile workspaces, brightly lit lounges decked out with comfortable sofas and chairs for on-the-fly gatherings, and a generally robust collection of modern conveniences, colorful artwork, and private rooms for solo work. Basically, everything a startup requires to function at an optimal level––plus fun. Some of the most commonly featured amenities throughout the WeWork organization include:
- Private phone booths
- WiFi connectivity
- Mail delivery
- Package reception
- On-site staff / IT
- Fully stocked kitchen
- Coffee bar
- Conference / meeting rooms
- Nap rooms
- Bicycle storage
- 24 / 7 access
- Printing / photocopying
Similar to many coworking spaces, WeWork Labs pricing structure is typically based on a monthly rate, and in consideration of the number of staff (or access keycards required) of each startup––which is great for companies beginning with one or two employees. WeWork Labs does not take equity from any startup. Their fees are gathered via monthly or annual membership, just like any individual or business would be charged at any WeWork space.
And, of course, real estate factors into the monthly membership price. For example, a high-traffic, fast-paced area like New York City charges around $425 – 700 / month, while a location in Denver can go for about $290 / month.
While the WeWork amenities are a fantastic bonus for any startup, the fundamental tools and assets on offer at WeWork Labs are absolutely essential. Here are some of the beneficial resources available at all locations:
Access to customized education is the benchmark of WeWork Labs. They create individual programming curriculums to meet with members’ professional and personal development needs and interests. Additionally, WeWork Labs Satellite Program provides members with opportunities to access programming in any of their global locations, in other languages.
WeWork Labs features a global network of mentors from various fields of study and backgrounds, many of whom are on-site or perform scheduled visits. These mentors engage with members individually or as groups; face-to-face or remotely, to answer any questions they may have about financing, bookkeeping, accounting, etc. Each WeWork Lab also plays host to an Entrepreneur in Residence.
Every WeWork Labs location is overseen by a dedicated, on-site Lab Manager. Each manager, using their background of leadership, networking, and entrepreneurial skills, serves as a coach and a cheerleader to all startup members.