How WeWork Labs Creates Global Connections and Opportunities for Startups

WeWork is a proud GAN Partner, our community of innovative and values-minded companies engaging with startups. If you’re a GAN Startup, one of the nearly 10,000 companies that have been through a GAN Accelerator, WeWork gives you access to discounts at their locations worldwide. And they’ve built WeWork Labs, a global innovation platform to help startups and corporations everywhere create the future. Here are the stories they shared when we asked about how they’re uniquely partnering with founders around the world.
 

When you’re an early-stage founder focused on growing your business, you need a multitude of resources to help get your startup off the ground—connections, mentorship, and advice to name a key few.  

WeWork Labs, WeWork’s global innovation platform focused on the growth of early-stage startups and powering the future of corporate innovation, is on a mission to make the resources startups need that much more accessible. The vision? To be there for anyone who wishes to take the startup path, to provide the best place to start, and to help startups through all the successes and failures of building a business with the support of a global community, personalized programming tailored to each member’s needs, and guidance from a network of mentors expert in everything from email marketing to fundraising.

With over 20 locations worldwide across 16 cities and nine countries, WeWork Labs offers the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurial projects to people and communities where it hasn’t been an option before. Inclusivity is paramount, and that’s reflected in the members and companies that operate in Labs spaces around the world.

How does the mission of helping early-stage startups grow play out in the lives of WeWork Labs members? We asked three of them to explain.

Acceleration Through Key Introductions
“At WeWork Labs, we’ve reached several milestones that, in my opinion, would have taken three times or four times longer if we were at another program,” says Rogério Janson, founder of Deality and Labs member at Habitat in São Paulo, Brazil. Those milestones include getting sales teams up and running throughout Brazil in addition to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and soon, North America. The company is even authorized to sell WeWork spaces, a deal that came about through introductions from Labs team members. “They make everything happen,” Janson says. “They vouched for us, and in Brazil, the WeWork Labs name creates respect. Being in Labs gives you a sense of belonging, but it also indicates quality and accountability, and that gives you access to better clients.”

Janson’s growing team also finds value in the programming and events happening in their Lab. “We recently had a workshop on improving corporate presentations, so that was great for one of my employees who is responsible for design,” Janson says. “Tomorrow, we’ll have another workshop on investments, so I will join that group. Later this week there’s a workshop that will be helpful for my CTO. The whole company can benefit from these opportunities.”

Game-Changing Connections Between Members
Aparna Srinivasan, Labs member at Dumbo Heights, Brooklyn, United States, is the founder and CEO of Spot On, “a ride-hailing marketplace for pets and the people who love them,” she says. “We’ve been live in New York City for about three months and I credit our entire existence to WeWork Labs.”

During a Monday stand-up (a weekly event in Labs spaces where members share recent wins, losses, progress on projects, and requests for help), “I introduced myself as Spot On and another group of Labs members introduced themselves a company that provides insurance for rideshare drivers,” Srinivasan says. “I wanted to offer better insurance options for our drivers, but then I realized that the owner of that company has a fleet of cars on the road in New York City. In order for Spot On to become fully licensed and permitted in New York City, we needed to have a minimum of 10 cars in our base.” The Labs member who owns that insurance company agreed to transfer the cars, allowing Spot On to launch. “That happened solely because we’re part of Labs and because of how Labs is run, encouraging members to exchange ideas and act as resources for one another,” Srinivasan says. “I wouldn’t have met him otherwise.”

The mentors and experts who come to Labs to lead workshops and talks have helped her, too. “We’re still in talks with some VC’s that have come in,” Srinivasan says. “They’re interested in our progress and we wouldn’t have been able to meet them if we weren’t in this environment. The Labs team opens doors for us, and they don’t do it just because we’re members. They believe in every single company that’s here and they make sure that we’re put in front of who we need to be put in front of.”

Global Mobility and Support
Yaron Schwarcz is the founder and CEO of Skyline Robotics, “The first operating system for work at heights. Right now, we’re solving the problem of window cleaning because it’s ridiculous that people are risking their lives by hanging hundreds of feet in the air to clean a window. We look at ourselves as a RaaS company—robotics as a service.” The company is based out of WeWork Labs Hazerem, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

As one of WeWork’s first members in Israel, Schwarcz was among Hazerem’s early members, and he saw a lot of value within just a few weeks. “I attended one talk by Gilad Hirsch,” the founder of Face.com, which was acquired by Facebook. Hirsch became the product manager for Facebook Messenger. “Very rarely have I heard such inspiring thoughts, let alone about a product,” Schwarcz says. “Suddenly, I got this amazing perspective on how to tackle this obvious issue of developing the product in the right sequence and with the right questions.”

Schwarcz has also used WeWork Labs’ Satellite Program, an offering that helps members work abroad and connect with local experts in any market where Labs has a presence. After closing a seed round, Schwarcz needed to go on the road to sign clients. He told his Labs manager and she said, “Here’s this amazing resource where you just plug in all the destinations you’re going to.” Schwarcz followed, “Suddenly, community managers from all these different buildings were reaching out saying, ‘Let’s talk and see if we can help you while you’re here.’” Through the Satellite Program, Schwarcz lined up meetings in New York and Toronto. “They say it takes a village to raise a child,” Schwarcz says. “It takes an entire trans-Atlantic community to build a startup.”

 

Interested in joining? Check them out here to find a WeWork Labs near you and learn more about becoming a member of the program. And, if you’re a GAN Startup, find out about the discounts that WeWork offers to our founder community by reaching out to Keevin on the GAN team at keevin@gan.co.