WeWork Labs Opens San Francisco Incubator, Starts Offering Health Insurance to All WeWork Members

"Residency" is the new incubator.

WeWork Labs SF

WeWork Labs, the coworking space for early-stage startups, which moved to 17,000 square foot space in March, is planning on doubling its size. By July, the incubatorish offices will occupy both the third and fourth floor of 175 Varick Street. Applications are welcome for June, but it’s already at capacity now with more than 100 startups, including Longreads, Fitocracy, Scrollkit, and Material Wrld.

As suspected, WeWork Labs also officially announced its expansion into San Francisco, eWork cofounder Matt Shampine told Betabeat. The two-floor space, at 156 2nd Street, will hold about 100 people and open its doors May 14th with applications open immediately. Three directors have already been named: Kaitlin Pike, a RallyPad Mentor and the “charming host of #sfnightowls,” Seth Blank, founder and CEO of Trove, and Dave Nugent, a freelance Drupal developer who runs the SF JavaScript Meetup and GamesJS.

For those of you trying to keep track of the company’s seemingly-unstoppable coworking juggernaut, WeWork Labs is the early-stage arm of WeWork, a larger coworking network that offers boutique office space to any startup in five locations–four in New York and one in L.A–and raised $6.85 million in January.

But where WeWork companies are typically in the one-15 employee range, WeWork Labs focuses on the one-three employee range. Through sponsors like Microsoft, Pepsi, JWT and WilmerHale, WeWork Labs is able to offer cheaper space ($300 month-to-month) and access to services like office hours with WilmerHale or flat packages on, say, financial advice for raising a seed round. Organizations like SkillShare are free to host classes there as long as the Labs’s members can attend.

“If we have extra resources, like money, we just stick it back into the community,” said Mr. Shampine, describing WeWork Labs. “For instance, one of our startups wanted to have an event during Internet Week, so we got Pepsi to throw in the food and drink and her startup is a beer startup so she got the alcohol sponsor and then we helped by throwing in money for cups and napkins and plates and stuff like that.”

WeWork Labs doesn’t offer investment or take equity. “We think of it more as a residency in a lot of ways because it has all the resources you need in it and you’re surrounded by people in similar situations,” said Mr. Shampine.

With its new SF outpost, WeWork Labs can be an asset to bicoastal or peripatetic young founders. “We’ve already had a few startups that started in New York like Tout and Idonethis,” said Mr. Shampine. “They both went over to California for accelerators and ended up staying over there—but now they both moved into the WeWork building. It’s all about keeping the community and the family growing and everyone together.”

To further support the needs of young startups, WeWork is offering healthcare to all its members–not just Labs residents. “Prices are as low as $360/month and the coverage is good,” Mr. Shampine wrote on his personal Tumblr.

WeWork Labs Opens San Francisco Incubator, Starts Offering Health Insurance to All WeWork Members