Nearly two years after it made its Kansas City debut, WeWork is delivering a measurable impact on the startup ecosystem, the company said Monday.
A first-of-its-kind WeWork research project — the WeWork Global Impact Report — examined the scope of the Crossroads Arts District co-working site and its influence on entrepreneurs metro-wide.
Takeaways from the report included job growth, with WeWork companies supporting approximately 1,000 jobs in the Kansas City area, according to the report.
Home to the Techstars Kansas City accelerator, one in 25 of WeWork’s Corrigan Station members reported that they’re first time entrepreneurs.
“If you have seen the space, you would understand why,” Lesa Mitchell, managing director of Techstars Kansas City said at the time of the Corrigan Station opening in 2017. “I have spent a lot of time in the Austin WeWork location. The energy is contagious, the space and amenities are beautiful.”
Measuring the local impact of WeWork JOB GROWTH: The WeWork economy supports approximately 1,000 jobs in Kansas City. INNOVATION: 88 percent of WeWork members in Kansas City are in the innovation economy, compared to 12 percent in the region as a whole. GROWTH: In Kansas City, 63 percent of WeWork members say WeWork has helped their company accelerate its growth. ENTREPRENEURS: 18 percent of WeWork members who are entrepreneurs in Kansas City are first-time entrepreneurs.
Measuring the local impact of WeWork
JOB GROWTH: The WeWork economy supports approximately 1,000 jobs in Kansas City.
INNOVATION: 88 percent of WeWork members in Kansas City are in the innovation economy, compared to 12 percent in the region as a whole.
GROWTH: In Kansas City, 63 percent of WeWork members say WeWork has helped their company accelerate its growth.
ENTREPRENEURS: 18 percent of WeWork members who are entrepreneurs in Kansas City are first-time entrepreneurs.
Among early-stage founders who echo the claim is Steven Coen, founder of SaRA Health and a graduate of the Techstars Kansas City 2018 cohort.
“They have provided an excellent and welcoming space that allows us to ‘fake it til you make it,’ by having top quality amenities on a startup budget,” he said. “I have met and used other founders’ technologies and service after meeting near the microwaves for lunch and consistently catch up with other founders and mentors that provide a nice founders therapy session when necessary.”
WeWork has worked closely with Techstars grads, allowing them to stay close after the program, Coen added.
Click here to read more about Techstars decision to make its home in WeWork.
Additionally, WeWork reported 63-percent of its members said the co-working site helped accelerate the growth of their company.
“We see every day that people want more out of their work environment,” said Erik Wullschleger, community director at WeWork Kansas City. “WeWork strives to support our communities, in part by driving global economic growth and ensuring our members can effectively optimize and grow their operations.”
For Donald Hawkins, serial entrepreneur and founder of KC Collective, WeWork has served as a pivotal pillar of support for his endeavors, he explained.
“I can easily connect WeWork to nearly every piece of local traction we’ve accomplished,” he said of the coworking site’s role as a growth catalyst for his ventures. “My KC entrepreneurial journey started with meeting David Heyburn who introduced me to Erik Wullschleger who introduced me to Spencer Carlson who introduced me to Jill Meyer who introduced me to Roy Scott who introduced me to Lesa Mitchell who introduced me to Bo Fishback and the list goes on and on.”
When Hawkins decided it was time to form KC Collective — an organization designed by founders to support founders — a five-minute conversation with WeWork’s team gave the idea the momentum it needed to be fully realized, he said.
“[Hayburn and Wullschleger] agreed to do whatever they could to help us stand things up. It’s not a surprise that the success of KC Collective is also connected directly to WeWork,” Hawkins said. “They’re friends that I value. Who knew you could get all of that from a coworking space!”
More than a trendy coworking space — boasting such amenities as fruit-infused water and an on-site Roasterie coffee shop — WeWork has also supported the ideas of Kansas City entrepreneurs by way of resources.
Venture Legal returned as a finalist in 2018 with Contract Canvas — the product it designed using the funds won a year prior, explained founder Chris Brown.
Disabled But Not Really founder Wesley Hamilton snagged the Community Giver Award in the 2017 contest, also earning an $18,000 prize.
Click here to learn about Hamilton’s latest venture: an adaptive Crossfit gym.
Through the Creator Awards, WeWork gives more than $20 million to startups annually.
On a global scale, WeWork is a hub for women-led companies, the report revealed.
“Globally, regardless of firm size, 39-percent of all senior roles (executives, senior managers, managers and sole proprietors) at WeWork member companies are held by women, compared to 24-percent of those roles held by women globally. Outside of the U.S., WeWork member companies have nearly double the share of women in leadership than the countries they are in,” the report read.
Further investigation found 31 percent of all senior roles at WeWork member companies in Kansas City are held by women, WeWork told Startland.
Click here to view the WeWork Global Impact Report in its entirety.