The Riveter is taking its female-focused co-working model across the country.
The Seattle-based company today announced a $4.75 million investment round led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from X Factor Ventures, Brilliant Ventures, The Helm, PLG Ventures, Portland Seed Fund, Founders’ Co-Op, and Start It Labs.
The Riveter now has more than 700 members across its original location in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood — which opened 10 months ago — and another space in Fremont. It plans to open locations in Bellevue, Wash., Los Angeles, Dallas, and Denver this year, while growing its team from nine people to 35 by the end of 2018.
“We’re raising now because we’re ready to grow,” said Amy Nelson, CEO and founder of The Riveter.
Other expansion plans include a digital platform for members; a new podcast and newsletter; and additional programming offerings.
Nelson left her job in corporate litigation last year to help create a co-working space that didn’t exclude women from the business world because of their gender. The Riveter differentiates itself with amenities, programming, and other membership perks geared toward female professionals. For example, you won’t find keggers and foosball tables, but instead mothers rooms and daily yoga classes.
Nelson said that women are starting more than 1,000 businesses in the U.S. each day and at a rate that’s five times faster than men.
“The reason we’ve seen so much success is that professional women are a really big market, and they are a market that no one has been paying attention to,” she told GeekWire. “If you look across the entire spectrum of business offerings, you see very little built by women for women.”
Though the company is built “with women in mind first,” Nelson said that The Riveter is open to all genders.
“People often think we are women-only, and yet our membership is 20 percent men,” she said. “There are a lot of men and other genders who are really open to seeing some different take on the workspace and who want to be apart of moving women ahead in leadership.”
The Riveter generates much of its revenue from membership fees that range from $180 per month for floating desk space to $750 a month for a private office at the Capitol Hill location. There are also community memberships for those that don’t need regular office access, along with temporary options like daily and hourly passes.
The Riveter offers more open floating spaces and fewer private offices than other co-working companies, Nelson said, which allows it to house more members.
“The other really powerful thing about our business model is that a majority of our members are solo practitioners or small teams,” Nelson added. “They are not growing teams that will scale out of our space really quickly. We have very low churn. That’s a different model than we’ve seen more broadly in the market.”
The Riveter previously raised a $760,000 seed round. Nelson created the company with Kim Peltola, who is no longer listed on The Riveter’s website.
“Kim and I founded The Riveter after sharing workplace frustrations as working moms,” Nelson said. “Kim’s passion was fundamental to setting the vision for our brand. Shortly after we launched the company, Kim transitioned away from the day-to-day.”
Hope Cochran, venture partner at Madrona Venture Group, noted that women-led businesses “look quite different than the companies that occupy other coworking spaces.”
“Their working patterns are often more flexible, as they fit a lot of competing priorities in their day,” Cochran, who joined The Riveter’s board as a result of the funding, wrote in a blog post. “The Riveter has been able to hone in on this market and design a business model with great economics focused on professional women by offering things like part-time memberships and locations closer to people’s homes. Because of these different dynamics, The Riveter is maximizing their space differently than other co-working locations.”
Co-working industry leader WeWork reached a $20 billion valuation last year after raising a $4.4 billion round.