WorkChew — a Black women-founded startup that transforms hotels and restaurants into on-demand workspaces — just announced an oversubscribed $2.5 million seed funding round raised to further the company’s mission.
The round was led by Harlem Capital and saw participation from other VC firms such as Wilshire Lane Partners, Invictus Advisory Group, Techstars Ventures, and RW Capital Investments, Inc. Additionally, individual investments came from angel investors, including Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia, Etsy co-founder Chris Maguire, Kyle Tibbits of Paradox Capital, and Alex Chan, formerly of UBER.
The startup plans to use the new funding to further build out its team, product development, and marketing to help increase customer acquisition and build supply across the U.S.
WorkChew was co-founded by CEO Maisha Burt and COO Allyson McDougal back in 2018, who at the time were two remote workers suffering from inconsistencies of not having flexible spaces to work from.
According to co-founders Burt and McDougal, “the lack of on-demand workspace, if and when a professional needs it, has enormous implications on productivity, mental health, and the overall ability to perform well on the job.”
“We’ve found that when people have access to nearby, local workspaces, it eliminated time spent figuring out where they would work, allowing them to focus on the tasks for the day,” they shared with AfroTech. “Having certainty in knowing you have a seat, conference room, or private room really helped with people’s ability to plan productive days.”
Harlem Capital Managing Partner Jarrid Tingle shared that when he met Burt this past January, he “instantly understood the need for the business and was impressed by the founding team’s vision and relevant experience.”
Both co-founders and their combined experience in corporate finance, investment banking, enterprise sales, and marketing, along with this business idea inspired them to create a company designed to cater to the needs of remote professionals in search of flexible and reliable workspaces.
WorkChew’s innovative business model chose to target hotels and restaurants who were looking to optimize “downtime” revenue and in turn transformed those spaces into affordable, productive workspaces.
In a time where many companies are transitioning to hybrid workplace models, WorkChew presents itself as a game-changing solution that’s benefitting both the hospitality industry as well as the individuals it serves.
“WorkChew is changing the way freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote employees think about where they work. By partnering with hotels and restaurants, users can book a dedicated workspace with guaranteed high-speed WIFI and exclusive discounts on food and drinks,” Burt and McDougal shared with us. “Instead of people being relegated to a drab home desk, noisy coffee shop, or expensive co-working space, we allow local hotels and restaurants to be your go-to office. On top of that, you can meet colleagues and other people when Zoom calls just don’t do it.”
WorkChew is not only capitalizing on a prime opportunity amid the pandemic, they’re also optimizing a two-sided marketplace that will continue to thrive post-pandemic thanks to their startup idea.
WorkChew currently occupies locations in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and has plans to launch in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Denver soon as well.
Moreover, WorkChew shared with AfroTech that its growth plans for the next 12 months include “scaling into the top 20 US cities and providing professional workspace options in urban and suburban communities.”
Burt and McDougal’s mission for WorkChew is to create environments that provide working professionals the spaces and tools needed to elevate their productivity at a fair price.
According to them, the end goal for WorkChew is to “revolutionize how people view workspace and provide a blueprint for how the Future of Work could look. By leveraging existing assets and technology, we can create solutions that improve user experiences while generating diverse revenue streams for the hospitality industry.”
For more information about WorkChew, visit its website.