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D.C. Flexible Workspace Startup Acquires NYC's KettleSpace

WorkChew location

A company that aims to find solutions for empty commercial space by reimagining them as flexible office space is expanding its New York City portfolio by acquiring the locations of a local provider.

Washington, D.C.-based WorkChew acquired KettleSpace, it announced Tuesday, bringing the company's four locations in NYC under the WorkChew portfolio, which now spans 10 locations in the city.

WorkChew was formed in late 2018, and in March last year scored $2.5M in seed funding. Its total portfolio now spans 100K SF, with more than 100 locations in more than 20 cities and suburbs across the U.S.

"Flexible workspace is playing an increasingly central role in companies' workplace strategies. We have been building our company to maximize flex space opportunities,” WorkChew CEO Maisha Burt said in a statement. “Combining forces with KettleSpace now enables us to be positioned as the industry leader in New York, a key market for us. In New York, we see energy, creativity, and a large pool of people who enjoy flex work and leveraging collaborative spaces outside of their homes.”

KettleSpace CEO Nick Iovacchini said in a statement that the company's workspace business was at a "standstill" during the pandemic, so the company elected to sell that product line.

WorkChew's funding round last year was led by Harlem Capital with participation from Wilshire Lane Partners, Invictus Advisory Group, Techstars Ventures and RW Capital Investments Inc. Individual investors included Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia, Etsy co-founder Chris Maguire and Paradox Capital’s Kyle Tibbits. Before that, WorkChew had raised $225K from accelerators in 2019 and 2020.

The company forms partnerships with hospitality and office venues and turns their empty space into a network of on-demand workspaces. Burt previously told Bisnow that before the pandemic, the company user base was mostly individual workers looking for remote solutions.

Since the coronavirus has upended work arrangements around the world, however, she said most of the customers are firms purchasing the membership as a workplace offering for their employees. She said as hybrid work arrangements become increasingly popular, more companies will be interested in its offerings.

Workers' preference for hybrid arrangements has become increasingly clear in the last year. Some 61% of people who were working from home at the end of 2021 elected to stay remote, even though their office is open, according to a Pew Research Center survey of nearly 6,000 workers in January. Just 38% of respondents’ offices were closed.

But employers appear to be thinking differently. A total of 50% of employers either already require their workforce to be in the office full time or plan to do so in the next year, according to a new work habits survey from Microsoft released last month. In the same survey, 52% of employee respondents said they were looking at switching to a remote or hybrid job.