WeWork Labs has its eyes set on food tech startups, according to TechCrunch. The innovation program was relaunched by WeWork, the coworking space giant, about a year ago. Now, it is hoping to grab the attention of early-stage startups from across the world.
Currently, WeWork Labs has locations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Houston, and Seattle, along with various other international locations. The labs feature workshops, introductions to VCs, mentorship and pitch events to help founders grow their businesses and skills.
WeWork Labs’ food tech initiative comes as more investors lean into food tech and other food-focused businesses. According to a report by Food Tech Connect, $1.08 billion in venture capital investments were made to 99 beverage and food industry agreements in 2017.
“I do have to say, food carries a disproportionate amount of weight and attention,” Global Head of WeWork Labs Roee Adler said to TechCrunch. “We think it is one of the most exciting areas in the world right now, because this isn’t merely about encouraging businesses — this is about the future of the world, no less than what our children will eat.”
Companies like Seamless and UberEats have led the way for food delivery platforms, while others like Goodr are providing a sustainable, philanthropic way to conserve food waste. These startups can target a variety of issues including food insecurity, grocery shopping, and delivery services.
Food-focused startups are becoming increasingly popular and now some of these companies are hoping to make it big. Instacart, the online grocery shopping startup, announced it wants to IPO later this year. The company raised more than $600 million in funding last year to gear up for the big move.
WeWork is hoping to tap into the food tech gold mine by leveraging its tools and connections for blooming companies. The company told TechCrunch that there may be more specialized initiatives from WeWork Labs in the future.