The WeWork fallout isn’t having any negative effects on The Riveter, a Seattle-based startup that has grown its women-focused co-working business rapidly over the past year.
GeekWire caught up with Amy Nelson, CEO of The Riveter, after she spoke at a Female Founders Alliance event in Seattle on Tuesday.
Co-working giant WeWork has seen its valuation drop from $47 billion to $8 billion over the past few months after investors balked at its financial metrics amid a cancelled IPO and layoffs. The struggles have sparked natural questions about the future of other co-working models.
The Riveter is unique among the rising tide of companies offering flexible office space, not only with its focus on women but its business model. Less than half of its revenue comes from co-working rent fees, and 80 percent of its membership base does not work out of the company’s nine locations across the U.S.
Riveter members pay $19 per month to be a “Riveter Ally,” and $199 to $400-plus per month for coworking space. They get benefits such as discounts on travel and event tickets, along with the access to a network. The company also offers corporate memberships.
“We’ve always thought of ourselves as a community membership,” Nelson said. “We are a membership network for working women — that is what our community is built on.”
“WeWork in many ways does have a great community of entrepreneurs, but it’s very broad,” Nelson said. “We have a much stronger uninterrupted focus and we’ve always had diversified revenue streams that aren’t ancillary services to coworking.”
Nelson said that WeWork’s core business model is still strong and she expects other operators to continue growing. For example, co-working pioneer International Workplace Group (formerly known as Regus) is expanding quickly in Seattle and other cities — while turning a profit.
IWG differs from WeWork because it earns more revenue from selling services such as office staff and tech support, The New York Times reported last month, and also operates via partnership with landlords. Shares of IWG, which has 3,500 global locations, are up more than 60 percent this year.
Real estate giant CBRE is also benefiting from WeWork’s bad press, Business Insider reported.
“Coworking is very much here to stay,” Nelson said, adding that “our revenue has grown really strongly this fall.”
The Riveter kicked off a national expansion earlier this year, part of its goal to open 100 locations by 2022. The company, which is open to all genders, employs 80 people and raised a $15 million investment round last year. It earned Startup of the Year honors at the 2019 GeekWire Awards and was one of three Seattle companies to make CNBC’s list of the 100 most promising startups to watch this year.