The whole deal came together thanks to former SoulCycle CEO Julie Rice.
- The Wing, which offers women-only community and co-working spaces, just raised $32 million in a funding round led by WeWork.
- Based in New York, the company plans to use the funds to expand to new locations in California and internationally.
- The investment is WeWork's largest to date. It's also one of the largest series B funding rounds ever raised by female founders.
Just months after raising a few billion dollars for itself, WeWork is passing along some of its good fortune.
In its largest investment to date, the coworking space provider led a $32 billion funding round for The Wing, a New York startup that runs women-only community spaces. The round, which was announced Tuesday, is one of the largest series B fundraising efforts ever by female founders, according to Audrey Gelman, The Wing's cofounder and CEO.
"Not to mention that my partner was eight months pregnant while we did that," Gelman said, referring to Lauren Kassan, The Wing's chief operating officer and other cofounder.
Gelman and Kassan launched The Wing in 2015 as a coworking and community outlet that emphasizes empowering social programming and providing networking opportunities. At its chicly decorated spaces, the company hosts "happenings," with themes ranging from paper doll making parties to in-person interviews with senators.
The Wing offers spaces to work and a few private offices, and it charges a $215 monthly membership fee. That's comparable to what WeWork customers pay for that company's "hot desk" offering, which allows them to work at table in an open space in one of WeWork's offices.
But Gelman doesn't see WeWork as her competition. Unlike WeWork customers, most of The Wing's members are there for its social offerings, she said.
The Wing currently has two spaces in Manhattan and plans to open locations in Brooklyn and Washington, DC next quarter. It plans to use the money it raised in its latest funding round to expand to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, eventually, internationally.
"We've gotten a lot of outreach from women in London and Paris. We got a request this week from a woman in Latvia," Gelman said. "So that's the core thing — just expanding our physical footprint."
The Wing first met with WeWork through Julie Rice, the co-founder of SoulCycle
Jen Berrent, WeWork's chief operating officer, will be joining The Wing's board. Gelman said she's eager to take advantage of that connection to tap into WeWork's expertise in "construction, real estate, development and infrastructure."
But Berrent isn't The Wing's only personal connection to WeWork.
Gelman and Kassan connected with people at the company through their advisor, Julie Rice, who cofounded SoulCycle. Rice announced Monday she's leaving her fitness company to become WeWork's chief brand officer.
Berrent wrote in a blog post she thinks WeWork and The Wing have similar outlooks and missions.
"From the moment we entered the first Wing location, we knew there was something special," Berrent wrote. "The last time I felt like that was when I first visited WeWork Soho, our first location, as the first WeWork Labs was under construction."The whole deal came together thanks to former SoulCycle CEO Julie Rice. Read Full Story