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- Real estate startup WeWork is reportedly recruiting for a new startup incubator called Area 51 Paradise Ranch.
- The startups incubator will reportedly first be tested out at the company’s Tribeca office space in New York City.
- The invite-only incubator will give startups a modern workspace and mentorship in exchange for a monthly fee – not equity.
WeWork declined to comment on the new incubator, and the full scope of the company’s long-term ambitions for the venture are still unclear.
WeWork has continued to raise eyebrows over the last year as its valuation continues to climb. The co-working and co-living startup reached a $20 billion valuation in July, making it New York City’s most valuable startup and spurring a number of acquisitions. In just the past few months, the company has set out on an ambitious spending spree, purchasing networking site Meetup.com for $200 million, a mobile communications app, a coding camp in New York City, as well as sleek new headquarters in downtown New York.
According to images viewed by Wired, Area 51’s pitchdeck describes the incubator as a “fluid yet systematic platform” that will foster “pioneers, inventors, and leaders” – an extension of the pre-existing WeWork Labs. But Area 51’s approach will differ from that of other prominent incubators, like Y Combinator, where startups trade a stake in their company’s equity for a modern workspace and mentorship. Instead, Area 51 is modeled after WeWork’s business model: providing space and community for a flat monthly fee. According to Wired, there’s no promise of a potential WeWork investment or an equity stake.
Incubators are famously tricky business due to the unpredictable nature of determining a successful startup, but, given its past successes, WeWork might prove a fierce competitor on the incubator scene.
You can read more about Area 51 – and view some of WeWork’s pitch deck on the incubator – over at Wired.