WeWork Teases ‘Totally New Concept’ Coworking Scheme

SoHo-based coworking conglomerate WeWork is working on big, vague things, including “a whole new concept in collaborative independence” called WeWork Labs, announced today.

WeWork Labs is seeking 50 entrepreneurial types with the goal of building a strong community with a diverse stable of talent, said Matt Shampine of Simande and We Are NY Tech, who is collaborating on WeWork Labs with WeWork’s director of Technology, Kyle O’Keefe-Sally, and GetMinders founder Jesse Middleton.

WeWork Labs will be run democratically–Mr. Shampine likened it to a co-op–and residents will get a desk, WeWork membership, the standard IT utilities and access to a food-stocked fridge at an affordable price. Residents will be selected to optimize the mix of skills and talent in the WeWork Labs, which will occupy a floor at the SoHo location. Everyone works on their own startups on freelance work for the majority of the time, but the space will be structured to foster as much inter-startup collaboration and innovation as possible.

“We really just want to bring really awesome, talented people together and help them both succeed in their own projects and companies but also contribute to the community as a whole, with either side projects or just helping others with their work,” Mr. Shampine said.

In theory, the new initiative will bolster New York’s entrepreneurial community as well as WeWork’s.

“Jesse and I really believe that in order for New York City to take that next step forward, we’re going to have to all rely on each other,” he said. “It’ll be awesome having a UX person, iPad developer, iPhone developer, web developer, and a copywriter in a room together. Say we order dinner one night and we all sit around talking–guaranteed there will be like 90 things we want to build by the end of the eating. And the coolest part is that we’re going to have everyone in a room together that can actually build it or solve a particular problem.”

WeWork Labs is not a prank, founders said, despite its April 1 launch date, and The Observer was promised more details would be forthcoming between now and South By Southwest Interactive, which takes place March 11-16. “Look for some serious NOISE at SXSW around WeWork Labs,” O’Keefe-Sally said in an interview on We Are NY Tech today.

WeWork is also building internal productivity software called WeConnect, and will be opening a location in the Meatpacking District and one in San Francisco  in addition to the existing SoHo and Midtown locations soon.

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries

WeWork Teases ‘Totally New Concept’ Coworking Scheme