In 2018, WeWork more than doubled its presence in Houston in terms of desks available. The company went from one location in the Galleria area with 1,100 desks to adding a second location in downtown with 1,500 desks. In 2019, WeWork is expected to again double the number of coworking desks the company will have by the end of the year — most new desk space will come from WeWork's new location in The Woodlands.
"In 2018, WeWork grew its footprint in a very big way in Houston. Now, in 2019, we're growing even more, but in a way that's as much about desks as it is impact," says Roniel Bencosme, WeWork Houston's community director, in a news release. "In this next year, WeWork will build a constellation of opportunity through new spaces spread across Houston, and opening in the Woodlands is key to that effort."
WeWork will have 1,000 desks at the new northwest location (1725 Hughes Landing) across two floors and 52,000 square feet of space, according to the release. WeWork Galleria will add 775 desks in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 1,000 more desks will be added by end of the year pending new leases, the release says. Regionally, WeWork has a presence in five cities in Texas — Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and Plano — but will launch in its sixth Texas city, San Antonio, in early 2020.
In 2019, WeWork will also be growing its social impact programs on a national level in addition to its footprint. Recently, WeWork formed a partnership with the Female Founders Alliance, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, to hire 1,500 refugees at WeWork over the next five years. The company's veterans hiring initiative will also be hiring 1,500 veterans over the next five years.
Houstonians can also expect to see new WeWork Labs, WeWork's accelerator concept, around town, as well as the Veterans in Residence third cohort. WeWork's Flatiron School, which is in its downtown Houston location, will see new cohorts and boasts of a 98 percent job rate placement rate. The school alsy awarded $200,000 in scholarship dollars last year.
"Impact for WeWork is about enabling opportunity. We unlock access to thriving workspaces for companies of all sizes that would otherwise be out of reach," Bencosme says in the release. "We help cities like Houston attract top companies and reduce friction for them to put down roots. We're creating synergies and connectivity across the metro region at a level and scale that's never been done before. That's impact.
WeWork recently released its Global Impact Report for 2019, and the research tracked specifics about its Houston membership. Here were some key findings of the study locally:
- The majority of Houston WeWork members (83 percent) are in the innovation economy, compared to 12% in the region as a whole.
- When it comes to sustainable commuting, 42 percent of WeWork members walk, bike, or use public transit to go to work.
- The Houston WeWork economy contributes over $1 billion to the city's GDP — either directly ($480 million) or indirectly ($530 million)
- WeWork's small and medium-sized member companies in Houston have an average job growth rate of 32 percent (compared to 1 percent for all companies in Houston).
- In Houston, 58 percent of WeWork members say the organization has helped their company accelerate its growth.
- While 44 percent of senior roles at U.S. WeWork member companies are held by women, Houston's percentage of female-led companies at WeWork locally is slightly lower at 36 percent.
- Of WeWork members that are entrepreneurs in Houston, 26 percent are first-time entrepreneurs, and 1 in 20 of the city's first-time entrepreneurs are WeWork members.