WeWork Is Launching An Accelerator Focused on Food Tech Startups

WeWork Labs has its eyes set on food tech startups, according to TechCrunch. The innovation program was relaunched by WeWork, the coworking space giant, about a year ago. Now, it is hoping to grab the attention of early-stage startups from across the world.

Currently, WeWork Labs has locations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Houston, and Seattle, along with various other international locations. The labs feature workshops, introductions to VCs, mentorship and pitch events to help founders grow their businesses and skills.

WeWork Labs’ food tech initiative comes as more investors lean into food tech and other food-focused businesses. According to a report by Food Tech Connect, $1.08 billion in venture capital investments were made to 99 beverage and food industry agreements in 2017.

“I do have to say, food carries a disproportionate amount of weight and attention,” Global Head of WeWork Labs Roee Adler said to TechCrunch. “We think it is one of the most exciting areas in the world right now, because this isn’t merely about encouraging businesses — this is about the future of the world, no less than what our children will eat.”

Companies like Seamless and UberEats have led the way for food delivery platforms, while others like Goodr are providing a sustainable, philanthropic way to conserve food waste. These startups can target a variety of issues including food insecurity, grocery shopping, and delivery services.

Food-focused startups are becoming increasingly popular and now some of these companies are hoping to make it big. Instacart, the online grocery shopping startup, announced it wants to IPO later this year. The company raised more than $600 million in funding last year to gear up for the big move.

WeWork is hoping to tap into the food tech gold mine by leveraging its tools and connections for blooming companies. The company told TechCrunch that there may be more specialized initiatives from WeWork Labs in the future.

Women’s Co-Working Space The Wing Has Changed Its Membership Policy To Include All Genders

The Wing, the popular co-working space dedicated to women, has changed it’s membership rules to include all genders, Business Insider Reported. 

In September, The Wing was sued for gender discrimination by 53-year old, James E. Pietrangelo, after he was allegedly told that his application into the co-working space would be denied “because he is a man.”

Pietrangelo is suing The Wing for possibly up to $12 million. The lawsuit is still ongoing; however, the company’s lawyers have responded to Pietrangelo’s claims stating that he is not committed to The Wing’s mission.

The company submitted Pietrangelo’s application responses in a subsequent filing where he stated, “I have always supported and advocated for the equality of all people” when asked how he has promoted and supported the advancement of women.

In March 2018, the New York Human Rights Commission began an investigation into The Wing, citing possible discriminatory membership practices. The investigation is still ongoing.

The Wing says the changes to its membership policy are from conversations with transgender and non-binary members, not because of the lawsuit brought forth by Pietrangelo, according to TechCrunch. 

The company has gained national attention, grown to over 6,000 members worldwide, and raised $117.5 million in funding in the last two years. Now, the company has hit a few bumps in its journey with lawsuits and discrimination investigations, according to Insider.

In an internal letter sent to its members, co-founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan said that it has made internal updates and written membership policies to ensure that The Wing’s staff is trained not to make assumptions about someone’s identity based on how they present.

“With a growing number of members who identify as transgender or beyond the gender binary, we want to make sure that we are as inclusive a community as possible,” the letter said. “We’re committed to advancing a feminist ethos that is inclusive of those who align with our mission, including women and people of marginalized genders.”

In December, The Wing completed a $75 million Series C funding round led by Sequoia Capital and other investors like Upfront Ventures, Airbnb and WeWork.

The Wing has plans to open new locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and Paris in 2019.

The Wing, A Co-Working Space For Women, Completes $75M Funding Round

The Wing, the company that offers women-focused coworking and community spaces, has completed a $75 million Series C funding round.

The company has raised $117.5 million in funding in the last two years. The funding round was led by Sequoia Capital. Other investors include Upfront Ventures, Airbnb and WeWork.

Actress Kerry Washington and TIME’S UP leadership also assisted in the Wing’s latest funding round.

“We could not be more excited to partner with such a powerful community of women who lead their fields in tech, Hollywood, policy, and sports,” The Wing’s co-founder and CEO Audrey Gelman said in a press release. “This round is proof positive that women can be on both sides of the table.”

The company plans on using some of its funding to open new locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and Paris in 2019.