WeWork, a US firm that provides workspace to entrepreneurs, has opened the largest coworking space in the UK just a stone’s throw from Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout in Tech City.
The company, founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York City, said one of the reasons it chose to open the eight-storey office in London’s Moorgate area was to meet demand coming from the digital sector. It already has offices in South Bank, Soho and Devonshire Square.
The Moorgate office at 1 Fore Street will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 members, making it the largest single shared workspace community in the UK, and one of the largest in the world. Prices are at the upper end of the spectrum, with a private office starting from £725 per month for an individual and going up to £17,150 per month for a team of 21 people.
Miguel McKelvey, cofounder and chief creative officer at WeWork, said: “There is a worldwide move towards entrepreneurial culture and, as a global leader in culture and commerce, London embodies that more than most cities.
“In London we’ve been able to connect with not just entrepreneurs, but also small businesses and even divisions of larger corporations who really appreciate the open, collaborative environments of our buildings."
One organisation to move into the new space is Tech City UK, the government-backed agency tasked with supporting the British technology sector.
Gerard Grech, Tech City UK CEO, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of the digital startup culture. Digital businesses instinctively understand that the growth of their business and the cluster they’re in is founded upon a supportive network of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders - exactly the type of environment coworking spaces such as WeWork foster."
Ed Vaizey MP, minister for culture and the digital economy, added: “Coworking spaces have become a vital component of London’s business ecosystem. The opening of this huge space from WeWork is a clear example of how digital businesses are driving growth, and initiatives like this will be instrumental in ensuring that the London tech sector continues to thrive.”
WeWork now has over 35 workspaces globally and the Moorgate office is the largest outside the US, said McKelvey. Technology companies are the main occupants, taking up about 40 percent of the space on average.
Speaking to Techworld last month, McKelvey said he and a WeWork team of 40 architests and designers try to make every building a little different.
At the time McKelvey said he was looking at "pockets" across London that could be suitable for WeWork spaces but he said it can be difficult to find the right properties in London if you're not "opportunistic".
He said that he's also got an eye on Dublin, Glasgow and Manchester. "It might be 6 months before we change our focus to outside London."
Outside the UK, McKelvely pointed to Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm and Paris as possible locations for a WeWork office.
Reports suggest that WeWork could now be valued at close to $10 billion (£6.4 billion), something that McKelvey says is a testament to the company's concept.
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