Before its doors even open, WeWork is making significant inroads to the area entrepreneur community.
The international coworking giant — which announced plans to create a 40,000-square-foot space in Kansas City in March — has hired Erik Wullschleger to become its community director.
Most recently the director of LiveKC and previously general manager of the Sprint Accelerator, Wullschleger will help WeWork engage area entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and other businesses.
WeWork — which has offices in 37 cities and 15 countries around the globe — is snagging four floors in Kansas City’s Corrigan Station for a new 40,000 square feet space. With locations in Hong Kong, London, Buenos Aires, New York City and many others, the cosmopolitan coworking company will occupy the third through sixth floors at the recently rehabbed tower, which is the tallest building in the Crossroads Arts District. New York-based WeWork aims to host more than 750 members — from freelancers to small businesses — at the Kansas City location.
Ahead of the Aug. 1 opening of WeWork Kansas City, Startland News caught up with Wullschleger to discuss his new gig.
What attracted you to this position?
I’ve long believed that the missing component to KC’s continued growth is creative or cultural density within our urban core. When I heard that WeWork was looking at Kansas City, I was instantly excited. We are putting a community workspace with a global reach into a building on Main Street. Can’t get much denser than that.
How will you approach community engagement with this role?
We ‘ve started with the launch of KC Connected, an interactive series designed to engage and connect entrepreneurs, elected officials, philanthropists and artists. We’re also building partnerships with local events like 1Week KC. This is just the beginning. Once we’re open, you’ll find a regular cadence of programming. Our objective is to help connect Kansas Citians to both the local community and global WeWork community.
What’s surprised you about WeWork as you’ve learned more?
The reach and growth of this organization is phenomenal. WeWork has 120,000 members and 140+ locations in 15 countries across the globe. I’m sitting in one of three Dallas locations as we speak. The opportunity to engage on a local level is a big deal but when you start thinking about the ability for an entrepreneur, nonprofit leader or design agency to tap into this global network, it gets really exciting!
How will WeWork help KC’s entrepreneurial community?
I’ve been meeting KC expats, entrepreneurs and funders within the WeWork community who are excited to hear that we will have a space in Kansas City. I think we’re going to see a lot of people taking a look at traveling to KC now that they know they have a space where they can connect in person with our local community.