It was 2016, and Hillary Clinton had just lost the election when Amy Nelson decided it was time for a change. She had recently been passed over for a job promotion after returning from maternity leave. Her boss, she says, didn’t think it was the “right time,” expressing concern over her workload. Her growth trajectory was stalling, and she didn’t like it. So, she left, and decided to become her own boss.
“If there is a time, it is now,” she remembers thinking. “I have to step into the arena and try and do something.”
And she has, with The Riveter, a female-forward coworking space. Since launching in 2017 with cofounder Kim Peltola, the company is growing fast. It has five offices in Seattle and Los Angeles, and as of last week, has raised a total of $20.5 million in funding. Nelson says there are plans to open another eight locations in 2019, with an ambitious goal of 100 by 2022.
Coworking seemed a natural place for Nelson to begin to whittle her vision for an equitable office, one that can be a welcoming space for the increasing number of female founders. Between 2017 and 2018, women started an average of 1,821 new businesses a day, according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.
Coworking spaces are also becoming more appealing to large corporations for their location flexibility, affordability, and employee satisfaction. In its annual real estate report, CBRE says it expects corporations to invest more in these types of spaces. WeWork has been the big-name beneficiary of this trend and is now valued at $35 billion, according to Pitchbook data. Even smaller coworking startups have seen big funding rounds, like The Wing, a women-only space with five locations (and six on the way) that has raised $42 million in venture capital funding.
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