WeWork makes a $32 million investment in a competitor

The Wing cofounders Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman at The Wing's Soho location.
Image: the wing

Last week, we learned that WeWork invested in a wave pool company dedicated to artificial surfing. This week, WeWork is investing in something slightly closer to home—and for a subset of WeWork’s customers, a competitor. 

The $20 billion office-leasing company led a $32 million Series B funding round for The Wing, a women’s only coworking space and social club. The investment is WeWork’s largest to date, Chief Operating Officer Jen Berrent said in a blog post. The funding round is also one of the biggest Series B rounds raised by female founders, Forbes noted

“We are grateful to have WeWork’s unmatched abilities in our corner as we expand and grow The Wing’s physical footprint and community,” The Wing CEO and co-founder Audrey Gelman said in a statement. “As pioneers in the field of co-working and community building, WeWork shares in our mission to provide women with a space to take flight.”

The Wing was founded just over a year ago with one physical location in New York’s Flatiron district and opened its second location in Soho almost a month ago.

The popular community with an 8,000-person waitlist is set to expand its footprint into Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. this winter, then the West Coast and abroad. WeWork already has locations around the world and access to the real estate market worldwide. 

While WeWork is one of The Wing’s closest competitors, that doesn’t mean too much, for The Wing at least. The Wing offers a social club and community of women along with its physical spaces that no one else is offering right now. Membership at The Wing costs $2,350 a year or $215 monthly, compared to $350 for a desk at WeWork. Of course, most of The Wing’s members aren’t using the space as their full-time office. Along with expanding internationally, The Wing plans to use its influx of funding to launch a scholarship program for members in 2018. 

WeWork also recently acquired the coding program the Flatiron School and bought Lord & Taylor’s Manhattan flagship building

Berrent is set to join The Wing’s board of directors. The two companies already share Soul Cycle co-founder Julie Rice, WeWork’s new chief brand officer and an advisor to The Wing. 

“WeWork CEO Adam Neumann and I discussed how aligned their mission was with ours,” Berrent wrote in her blog post. “By connecting people through our spaces with the best of design, technology, and, most importantly, community, we believe we will humanize the way people work and live.”

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