This morning WeWork made news by announcing a new initiative called WeWork Food Labs.
Jenn has the full story here, but as the publisher of The Spoon, I wanted to write about the news for a slightly different reason: We’re a launch partner with WeWork Food Labs.
What does this mean?
In short, we’ll work with WeWork to possibly co-create events, tap into each other’s networks and collaborate on programming and other opportunities.
More tangibly, the partnership will mean the following:
- We have interest in doing events across the US, including the east coast. This partnership means we will have access to WeWork event facilities. WeWork Labs has also expressed interest in our ability to bring interesting food innovators together, so we will explore ways to co-produce events in the future.
- WeWork Food Labs also recognized our strength in bringing together innovators in the food and cooking worlds through our Startup Showcase. Because of this, WeWork will offer placement in the WeWork Food Lab to a mutually agreed upon SKS 2019 Startup Showcase finalist.
- We will help WeWork Labs to tap into our network for food and cooking innovators as well as serve as a resource for programming for foodtech.
- Our NYC-based writer, Jenn Marston, will work in the WeWork Food Labs flagship space.
As the publisher, it’s crucial for me to be transparent about all aspects of a partnership like this. But more importantly — and because we work hard to earn the trust of our readers — we also want to make sure we put guardrails in place for our editorial coverage going forward.
More specifically, here’s what this means:
- We will continue to cover WeWork Food Labs companies, which means we will cover both the good news and the bad news. In other words, we will call it as we see it, uncompromising and analytical, just as we always do.
- WeWork asked us to periodically donate a couple “office hours” a month to members of the WeWork Food Labs network, which means someone from The Spoon answering questions about the foodtech market. While the core editorial team for The Spoon will not participate in office hours, as Publisher and former market analyst, this is something I felt I could do (and wanted to do). However, that means I will not write about the companies that I interact with for office hours.
- We will disclose our membership in the WeWork Food Labs on a permanent disclosure page which we will link to when we write about any stories in the Labs.
In reality, this partnership is something new for us, but one we felt was something worth doing. Why? In part, because of all of the benefits outlined above, but the bigger reason is WeWork holds a similar view to us about the future of food. This view was best captured by a single slide in a presentation the WeWork team made to us about Food Labs. The slide illustrated how food innovation has lagged behind that of other spaces:
“The Food industry is decades behind other sectors in adopting technological innovation. Technology startups related to food systems are attracting a fraction of the capital of those in the health sector. The food sector has only attracted $14 billion since 2010. While the healthcare sector attracted $145 billion in investments.”
I made a similar point when I got on stage at the first Smart Kitchen Summit four years ago. I talked about how cooking, food and the kitchen has lagged behind that of other life spaces like the living room, where disruptive technologies have completely changed how we entertain ourselves in under a decade.
It turns out that people wanted to have that conversation as they realize that reinventing food and cooking is a 10X opportunity. Today WeWork – a company that changed the way people think about work spaces – let the world know they want to join the discussion.
That’s something I thought we should be a part of.