WeWork Labs, a program for early-stage startups the real estate unicorn launched last year, has come to the Southeast. The first location is in Durham, North Carolina’s Innovation District, with a job posting for a regional Head of Labs hinting at more to come.
WeWork Labs is essentially an extension of the community benefits offered to WeWork members that provides tailored offerings geared toward early-stage companies.
These benefits include things like access to a mentor network of thousands of professionals, business growth-focused educational programming, and a dedicated team including a Labs Manager.
WeWork says it will operate over 100 Labs on five continents by the end of this year. With over a dozen Labs in the U.S. already open, the Southeast provides a fertile ground for expansion: Atlanta will be home to over 10 WeWork locations by end of 2019, Nashville to four, Charlotte to three, and so on.
Labs Members pay a set fee to join the program, which takes no equity and has no end date.
The Durham Lab is located in the recently-opened WeWork Durham.ID (as in Innovation District).
A company representative says they are currently working on establishing a “team of experienced local leaders” including serial entrepreneurs and investors.
Durham has a robust innovation economy, propelled by the strong research component of the Triangle — an area home to Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC State University. The largest locally-owned tech startup hub, American Underground, is one of only 11 Google for Startups Hubs in North America and is home to hundreds of startups.
Bailey Dodds, WeWork Labs Expansion Director, says, “With hundreds of startups already in the area, Durham has proven to be a city that welcomes entrepreneurs looking to grow their companies. We’re excited to build a hub for founders looking to grow and connect with our WeWork Labs community in this city brimming with talent and big ideas.”
Bobby Condon, WeWork General Manager for the Southeast, notes that over 80 percent of WeWork members in Durham are in the innovation economy.
The Durham.ID Labs location will support up to 40 startups.
Image provided by WeWork