WorkChew, a start-up that works with restaurants and hotels to turn underutilized space into flexible workspaces, has raised $2.5 million from investors. The company plans to use the capital to invest in its product development and marketing team to help fuel further expansion.
This investment round was led by Harlem Capital, a venture capital firm "on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years." Other investors included Wilshire Lane Partners, Invictus Advisory Group, Techstars Ventures and RW Capital Investments.
More on WorkChew
WorkChew started in 2018 and currently has locations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago but plans on expanding into New York, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Denver this year.
WorkChew focuses on giving restaurants and hotels a chance to maximize the revenue potential of their footprints. The company works with restaurants and hotels to turn their underutilized space into on-demand workspaces for remote workers.
The available workspace hours are variable depending on the needs of the hotel or restaurant and the market they operate in. For example, restaurants that only open for dinner may have full day availability while hotels can have more sporadic usage based on occupancy and other factors, highlighting the beauty of WorkChew.
Chief Operating Officer Allyson McDougal said restaurants and hotels have been more open to listening during the pandemic since WorkChew gives them a chance to make up for lost revenue. "They're more inclined and open to learning about alternative methods that might help right now," McDougal explained. "The pandemic has opened up doors for people to really understand the value of the product in a very immediate sense where it automatically clicks."
The pandemic has also caused WorkChew to refocus its customer acquisition efforts. Prior to COVID-19, the company targeted individuals needing office space. Now the company takes a more business-to-business approach by targeting businesses that can offer remote workspace to their employees.
Does this type of business sound familiar? That's because it is -- well, was. While WeWork was on its spending spree, it acquired Spacious, a company similar to WorkChew. But WeWork shut down Spacious just four months after the acquisition.
WorkChew is a prime example of a tool commercial landlords can use to maximize the cash flow of their real estate footprint. Not only is the play pretty obvious to a hotel bleeding during the pandemic, but if you're a landlord with restaurant tenants, offering this sort of plug-and-play service to tenants could make a difference.
Not only is this a trend in hotels and restaurants, but we're seeing it in warehousing and logistics as well. It's exciting that proptech solutions like this can help landlords and small businesses explore other ways to generate top-line revenue.