Knack co-founders Mariah Lincoln and Catherine Bye. (Knack Photo)
Competition is heating up among co-working spaces geared toward women.
The Riveter pioneered the model, launching a female-focused coworking space in Seattle in 2017 and the business quickly took off. The Riveter raised a $15 million investment round last year that is helping it expand across the nation. Last month it opened its sixth location in Austin, Texas.
Now newcomers are entering the space, seeking to put a new twist on inclusive co-working. In Seattle, two such operations have cropped up this year.
Marketing entrepreneurs Catherine Bye and Mariah Lincoln are opening Knack Collective in Seattle this spring. They met when they were both working for a Seattle marketing agency and decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge together. They launched Knack, a marketing agency that generated $3.4 million in revenue in its first year. The Knack Collective co-working space is a new branch of that business.
“We understand that there is a significant gap for underrepresented communities when it comes to access — whether that’s access to funding, mentorship, supportive professional communities, and operational resources,” said Bye, Knack’s CEO. “We determined that filling this gap would be best served by reimagining co-working to include business-critical resources and advisors in legal, finance, recruiting, IT, and marketing, to name a few.”
Knack’s co-founders insist they are offering something that The Riveter isn’t. Knack memberships are geared toward women, members of the LGBTQ community, and their allies. Pricing runs from $35 for a day pass to more than $1,850 for a private office or suite.
You can’t just create a space — you have to help people along.
“Much of our hope for the future of work is shared by many, but we differentiate in that we are heavily focused on providing access to business-critical resources and support that goes beyond a safe space,” Bye said. “You can’t just create a space — you have to help people along.”
Tag Spaces is another new female-focused co-working space. It is attempting to serve entrepreneurs with smaller budgets and irregular hours.
Eileen Carpenter managed 10 apartment buildings in Seattle’s University District before launching Tag Spaces. She opened the facility in January with her business partner, Craig Smith. Tag offers floating desks and flex spaces 24 hours a day to accommodate different schedules. Over time, Tag plans to add community events and workshops.
“Although, monthly events may be female-focused, Tag wants to appeal to all locals that are simply passionate about what they do, whether it be entrepreneurship, education, a product or service,” Carpenter said.
Jennifer Carpenter founded Tag Spaces to bring co-working to a broader range of customers. (Tag Photo)
Tag’s day passes cost $25 and dedicate desk rentals go for $600. Like Knack’s co-founders, Carpenter believes Tag has something different to offer in the increasingly competitive co-working world.
“Nestled inside a community like University District, Tag intends to be a spark to reignite the area’s small business,” she said. “Larger co-working ventures, like Riveter are placed in areas of established business, buzzing with activity. Tag intends to start this trend where ever the next location happens to be.”
Female-friendly co-working spaces are on the rise across the country, from Minneapolis to Brooklyn. This offshoot of the growing co-working movement seeks to provide resources, community, and safety at a time when women are confronting mistreatment in the workplace like never before.