The first-floor Hollywood office space once occupied by defunct incubator io/LA has a new tenant.
WeWork, a New York operator of co-working facilities that has been in the building since 2012, has expanded into the former io/LA office and opened an incubator of its own.
WeWork acts as a standard co-working facility, charging a fee for companies that want to rent out work space. For its incubator program, called WeWork Labs, the company partners with large brands to subsidize the rental fee and works with partners to connect its companies with investors or early customers.
Unlike many incubator programs, WeWork Labs does not invest in the companies it works with or take an equity stake.
"In our minds, the real value of an incubator is not so much someone taking a piece of the company," said Jesse Middleton, co-founder of WeWork Labs. "It's about working with the right partners along the way."
Companies employing about 450 people work in WeWork Labs in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The L.A. office has enough space for about 70 people; its co-working space houses 400.
WeWork, which occupies several floors in the building, at 7083 Hollywood Blvd., had subleased the ground-floor office to io/LA to create an event space and incubator. But in March, io/LA – co-founded by Myspace veteran Aber Whitcomb – closed its doors.
WeWork regained control of the space, renovated it and opened WeWork Labs. Middleton said about 30 percent of io/LA members stayed in the in the WeWork space.
The Business Journal reported in March that a few companies had moved across town to CrossCampus in Santa Monica.
Middleton said he wanted the L.A. outpost for WeWork labs to double as a gathering space for the tech community – when they’re willing to cross the 405, that is.
“We wanted to offer the community a cool event space,” he said. “We’re definitely looking to drive some interesting people in there.”