The Riveter has opened its largest Seattle-area location, in Bellevue, Wash.
The company, which operates a network of female-focused co-working spaces, had its sights set on the Eastside long before it opened its flagship location in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in May 2017.
“There’s an incredible entrepreneurial spirit,” said Amy Nelson, The Riveter’s founder and CEO. “This is the home of Microsoft, and there’s so much to be done over here.”
The Riveter’s space in Bellevue, which opened in September, is its largest in the Seattle area at 14,000 square feet. It has desk space, conference rooms, and a nursing space for mothers.
The Riveter is a network of co-working spaces. It also offers programming on a wide range of topics, from social media to angel investments.
Although the company is female-focused, all genders are welcome. There are currently three locations in the Seattle area and two locations in the Los Angeles area. Nelson said more locations will open in California, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Texas.
“We’ll keep heading east,” she said.
The Riveter raised $4.75 million in funding this year to support its national expansion. Its growth coincides with a boom in co-working spaces across the country, led by WeWork and other national players, as startups and gig economy workers look for new places to work and collaborate.
Nelson is a former corporate litigator and political fundraiser. She’s also a mom to three daughters.
During an open house event at The Riveter’s new Bellevue location, Nelson described how “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg helped inspire her work. She was struck by a footnote in the book that said 43 percent of highly trained professional women leave their careers after they have kids.
“When I read that, I thought, ‘If this is true, the system is broken,’” Nelson said. “We all know it, and we’re not doing anything about it.”
Nelson said the purpose of The Riveter is to build a home and resources for women who have left corporate America to fuel their own businesses or other endeavors. The Riveter also works with companies to discuss the retention and recruitment of women in today’s workforce.
One of The Riveter’s biggest success stories is Armoire, a Seattle-based clothing rental service for women. The 2-year-old startup came out of an accelerator at MIT.
Founder and CEO Ambika Singh says her team would not have been able to build Armoire without The Riveter.
“Our other option was to sign a lease, which would have locked us in for a couple of years and essentially required us to pay for space that we weren’t going to need,” Singh said.
Singh said that this would have been a big barrier for a small startup. Armoire recently raised $3 million in new funding.
Watch our GeekWire TLDR video report from The Riveter’s new space above, and see more videos here.