WeWork, a $20 billion startup that leases trendy
millennial-friendly office spaces around the world, is getting
into the business of childhood education.
A spinoff called “WeGrow” will open its first school in
New York City in fall 2018. The startup hopes to expand from
one school to many globally.
Students in the WeGrow pilot program learn business
from entrepreneurs who rent office space from WeWork, and spend
one day a week at a farm.
Coworking startup WeWork wants to change the way people live,
get fit. Now the $20 billion company is tackling education
with the launch of a grade school.
According to Bloomberg, WeWork will open a private elementary
school called “WeGrow” inside a New York City WeWork office next
fall. The goal is to mold the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools
can’t be launching their own businesses,” Rebekah Neumann, chief
brand officer of WeWork, told Bloomberg.
WeGrow already has a pilot program with seven students underway
at the startup’s Manhattan headquarters.
Children ages five to eight spend one day a week at a 60-acre
farm north of the city, where they learn business and bits of
math and science by running their own farm stand. The other four
days of the week, students engage in more traditional
On occasion, WeWork employees and entrepreneurs who rent office
space from the company offer lessons. Adam Neumann, cofounder and
CEO of WeWork (and Rebekah Neumann’s husband), led a workshop on
supply and demand. Students can also secure mentorships with
In the future, there will also be classes around mindfulness
through yoga and meditation.
The Neumanns join a growing list of tech entrepreneurs trying to
disrupt the classroom. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla
Chan run a private company that
couple’s Facebook stock into programs that improve schools.
They also own a school in Palo Alto. Tech investors spent a
$2.35 billion on education-technology startups in
There have been some missteps in Silicon Valley’s attempts
to revolutionize education.
Last week, AltSchool, an
educational software developer and network of “micro-schools”
with locations in California and New York, announced it is
shuttering at least two schools at the end of the academic
Bloomberg reported that its losses are “piling up.”
With WeGrow, WeWork envisions a network of
micro-schools inside the company’s office rentals. The first
school will be located inside the startup’s headquarters in
Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood; when WeWork moves into its
new headquarters at the flagship Lord &
Taylor location on Fifth Avenue in 2018, the WeGrow school
will relocate with it.
Rebekah Neumann plans to enroll about 65 students next fall.
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG has been tapped to
design the first school.
According to Fast Company, the design will break down
traditional classroom environments into “more tactile and
visually stimulating” work stations.
Tuition at WeGrow has not been publicly announced.
The startup has raised at least $8 billion to date, with $4.4
billion flowing in since July. At a whopping $20 billion
valuation, WeWork is the sixth
most valuable startup in the world.