Drinking, Skills, Banking and Venture

This Weeks in Coworking for September 17 - 30

Hey, BarKeep. Does your cowork space have a drinking problem?

While it’s nice and a very cool perk to offer beer, wine, cocktails at your coworking space, generally in the name of team cohesion or morale upkeeping, I often wonder how an HR executive would view the issue? Is there additional liability insurance one must procure? Is it hidden in the membership terms and conditions whereby the coworking space is immune to lawsuits? This article on Covene’s blog goes a little deeper.

Learning skills faster, making more connections, feeling inspired and in control

These are a few of the reasons given by employees that are also pushing corporations into taking the leap into coworking. But while the overall ROI is still difficult to measure, innovation and learning from others seems to be enough of an outcome for the forward-thinking co’s to take the plunge.

Capital One Banking, Free Wifi and Peet’s Coffee?

I watched a Capital One television commercial over the weekend, you know, the what’s in your wallet people, and was shocked to see them advertise a coworking/banking concept called Capital One Cafes. Just to be clear, I was more shocked at the fact that a brand was spending big money on a national ad campaign, not necessarily at the concept itself. After all I get that banks want to be convenient and to be where the customer is, but personally I’ve never been a fan of banking within grocery stores. Such a terrible experience. This one might be a better fit. Reminds me of the German coworking/coffee concept, St Oberholz. Additional insights from St Oberholz’ Manager here.

WeWork is launching a venture fund to invest in the future of work (article below)

Emily Keeton, who joined WeWork last year as global head of mergers and acquisitions, is now managing director at WeWork Creator Fund. Ms. Keeton is planning to assemble a team of about five people behind the effort, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The move is another way in which WeWork is tapping its significant funding and revenue for expansion purposes after the company and its subsidiaries gathered more than $6 billion in equity and debt funding.

WeWork has already been an active acquirer of startups over the past 12 months, buying companies including education startup MissionU, marketing software specialist Conductor and group-organizing platform Meetup.

The size of WeWork’s fund couldn’t be determined. It has started taking outside capital that will add to the balance-sheet resources it is dedicating to the fund, one of the people said. The fund has already started evaluating startup deals, the people said.

Corporate funds are fairly common at more established companies, but some private technology companies have created them. Examples include enterprise software startup Slack Technologies and drone startup DJI, both of which teamed with traditional venture firms for their corporate funds.

WeWork Creator Fund will seek out social-impact startups, as well as those in the future of work category, one person said. Those will include technologies for human resources, recruitment, training and education, employee experience and real estate.

The fund also will house existing investments that WeWork has made through its $20 million Creator Awards initiative. Under the program, the company funded about 50 companies through a “safe agreement for future equity” structure, which entitles WeWork to equity in the event of a future financing.

The new fund might be used for additional investments into Creator Awards entrants, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.