WeWork Labs opens virtual doors to the startup community

One year since its official Australian launch, WeWork’s equity-free Labs program has gone virtual, providing local founders access to personalised programming, vetted experts and trained coaches around the world.

Since its local launch, Labs has welcomed 28 members through its doors in Sydney and Melbourne, and has already had two local members take up the virtual program. Building on the existing technology infrastructure of the Labs platform, the programming on the member portal was quickly dialled up virtually when COVID-19 hit, giving founders access to a professional support network and connection without restriction. 

On a global level, since April, Labs has hosted more than 500 virtual events, 60 webinars and five mental health awareness events, where members can Zoom into office hours, live workshops and access previously recorded content. The program offers access to members and events in all timezones, supporting a network of more than 4,000 Labs members globally leveraging mentorship and advice from other co-founders, advisers and investors at the click of a button. 

Through its new offering, WeWork Labs will provide startup founders access to resources to facilitate business growth via a suite of digital products such as mentorship, investor introductions, education, service discounts and a global community. Since 2018, globally WeWork Labs has positively impacted thousands of founders through a global platform comprising 3,700 mentors and more than 520 investors.

Recent research from Startup Genome shows COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging for the global startup ecosystem. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of startups saw their revenues decline, with major drops in revenue due to COVID’s effect on the industries those startups serve. 

With many startups facing challenges in gaining new customers, raising their next round of funding and managing uncertainty, WeWork Labs hopes to support Australian startups by enabling founders to remain connected and continue growing their business, complementing the program’s physical offering through interactive workshops, mentor sessions and global webinars.

Monica Wulff, WeWork Labs Manager in Sydney, said: “Through our virtual Labs program, we’re opening our doors to support businesses beyond Sydney and Melbourne where our Labs are physically located, enabling more startups to achieve their goals and truly thrive. Whether you’re transforming the agriculture industry or shaking up e-commerce, we want to give every startup the opportunities they deserve. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore just how adaptive and resilient our Aussie startups truly are. It’s also shone a light on just how vital collaboration and human connection is. 

“As startups continue to navigate through unchartered territories, being able to access valuable resources like mentors and training from a global community like ours can make all the difference.”

Aerofiler, a smart cloud-based document management solution that enables employees to focus on their business and not paperwork, and MyInterview, an intelligent candidate video screening service, have taken up Labs virtual programming. 

Eliav Rodman, Chief Marketing Officer of MyInterview said: “Joining WeWork Labs has given us the opportunity to tap into a global community of like-minded individuals, despite social distancing. 

“We’ve seen many startups in our position hit unnecessary business roadblocks over the past few weeks due to their inability to reach the right mentors, investors and the wider community, as they don’t have the same opportunities we have through Labs. 

“We have been looking to expand the business in 2020, and have not had to hit pause on these plans despite COVID-19, and the invaluable support from our Labs managers has been key.

“I’m able to access vital connections and insights directly, in just a few clicks, from Tel Aviv while my colleagues operate from Sydney.”

To learn more about WeWork Virtual Labs, visit: wework.com/labs