Women-focused co-working startup The Riveter cuts 5 positions as it aims to grow digital arm

The Riveter CEO Amy Nelson speaks at the GeekWire Awards 2019 after her company won Startup of the Year honors. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The Riveter, a Seattle-based startup building a national network of women-oriented co-working spaces, cut five positions this week as part of what its CEO described as a reorganization.

“We’ve been really deep in planning for 2020 and we’ve been making changes throughout the company to reflect the focus for this year,” CEO and co-founder Amy Nelson told GeekWire.

The Riveter has close to 100 employees and is hiring for six open roles.

Nelson said the company is aiming to grow its digital platform, which now has more than 9,000 members.

This past September The Riveter hired Jed Paulson, a former digital executive at REI and Aritzia, as its chief product officer. It also hired veteran startup finance executive Teresa Kotwis as chief financial officer in October, and former Glamour editor Giovanna Gray Lockhart as its chief strategy officer last month.

Founded in 2017, The Riveter differentiates itself from other co-working spaces by providing amenities, programming, and other membership perks geared toward female professionals. It describes itself as “a modern union of working women and allies.”

The Riveter expanded from two to seven cities last year and operates nine locations. After raising a $15 million Series A investment round in December 2018, it set an ambitious goal to reach 100 locations by 2022.

(The Riveter Photo)

Co-working giant WeWork saw its valuation drop from $47 billion to $8 billion late last year after investors balked at its financial metrics amid a cancelled IPO and layoffs. The struggles have sparked natural questions about the future of other co-working models.

In an interview with GeekWire this past November, Nelson said the fallout from WeWork isn’t having negative effects on The Riveter, which has nearly tripled revenue over the past year.

“Our workspace memberships are growing more quickly than ever … we think co-working is a great business,” Nelson said this week.

Other flexible workspace companies are also expanding, such as co-working pioneer International Workplace Group (formerly known as Regus), which is growing quickly in Seattle and other cities — while turning a profit.

Nelson also pointed to The Riveter’s diversified revenue stream. Less than half of the company’s revenue comes from co-working rent fees, and 80 percent of its membership base does not work out of its physical locations.

Riveter members pay $19 per month to be a “Riveter Ally,” and $199 to $400-plus per month for co-working space. They get benefits such as discounts on travel and event tickets, along with the access to a network. The company also offers corporate memberships.

The Riveter held its first The Riveter Summit: Women Building the Future event this past November in New York City.

It earned Startup of the Year honors at the 2019 GeekWire Awards and was one of three Seattle companies to make CNBC’s list of the 100 most promising startups to watch last year.

Investors in The Riveter include Alpha Edison; Madrona Venture Group; WestRiver Group; Backstage Capital; The Helm; Gingerbread Capital; Women’s Venture Capital Fund; and several individuals.

Nelson, a former corporate attorney, established the company in 2017 with Kim Peltola, who left The Riveter shortly after the launch.

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