February 6, 2014
On Monday, D.C. got a lovely new addition to our co-working community, with the opening of WeWork's Chinatown space. It's the first of two spaces that WeWork has set up in the area – a second location in the old Wonder Bread factory in Shaw is set to open in March. Most renown for its wide presence in NYC, WeWork's expansion in the District marks a significant step in helping D.C. gain the national recognition it rightly deserves when it comes to tech.
“WeWork is part of the ‘we' generation – we are people who need less personal space for their own lives and would rather be a part of their community rather than working alone…we see this especially in DC,” said Noah Brodsky, WeWork's Chief Experiential Officer.
From the likes of Uber Offices and Affinity Labs to Canvas and 1776, there is no shortage of co-working spaces in D.C. Should we be surprised? No, not at all, especially when you consider that the D.C. area is one of the top 10 metro regions with the highest ratio of tech startups. When people think of tech startups, they think immediately of the Bay-area or NYC (areas where WeWork has already established offices). WeWork's expansion into D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Seattle is a move toward supporting communities that have the potential to be top tech startup hubs.
“D.C. is really more than a political town. We've seen a lot of development around the area. I really think that in, like, 10 to 20 years it will be a huge entrepreneur hub.”
With the addition of WeWork, the D.C. startup space has gained a valuable resource. Aside from providing additional co-working spaces (which Brodsky thinks is needed in a rapidly expanding market like DC), the spaces provide additional venues to support startup programming and events. The new members of WeWork itself will join the already 10,000-people strong network, made up of not only other startup founders and employees, but freelance accountants, publicists, and other service providers whose primary focus is working with startups.
“Our goal, really, it to increase entrepreneurship and increase access to small business tools that [startups] need…We really want to help the community grow and drive, so it's really exciting for us to be [in D.C.] and be a part of it.”
During a tour of the Chinatown space, Carl Pierre, the DC City Lead for WeWork, told us that the membership demand for both D.C. locations have been tremendous, with the majority of the Chinatown space already sold out. Formerly with InTheCapital, Pierre is well-acquainted with the D.C. startup scene (he literally knows everyone in this space) which makes him the perfect person to help build WeWork's presence and reputation in the tech scene.
Toward the of the year, WeWork plans to open another location in D.C., although both Brodsky and Pierre remained mum on the details. You can schedule a tour of the current D.C. locations now, though.
All photos by Rachel Couch/A Muse Photography via WeWork.
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