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Co-working company The Wing shutters after 6 years

The female-led company was unable to recover from pandemic challenges

All-women co-working company The Wing sent an email to all its members on Tuesday announcing that it was permanently closing after six years of being in business. The New-York startup, founded by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in 2016, cited an inability to recover from “increasing global economic challenges” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The email also said the company could not grow its membership and event activity to continue its operations. All of its locations will be closed and inaccessible immediately.

The Insider reported The Wing “arranged for workspace and membership needs to be fulfilled by IWG, which bought a majority stake in the Wing in February 2021 and also owns over 1,000 co-working spaces in the U.S. and 3,500 locations globally.

Mark Dixon, the founder and chief executive officer of IWG, said in a statement that The Wing’s business dwindled during COVID due to their locations in downtown Chicago. This is because people “wanted access to centers in suburban locations, closer to where they live,” he said.

The Wing’s Instagram page has 430,000 followers and is still active but users cannot comment on its page.

It operated in 11 locations across two countries but reduced its business to three locations in New York City, and areas in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It fired half of its corporate staff and hourly workers during the pandemic.

Its spaces were hugely popular, owing its to ‘Insta-ready’ pastel interiors, velvet leather couches, wallpapers, and indoor plants.

The yearly price of renting the spaces was $2,950, while five monthly drop-ins cost $95.

The Wing recently underwent changes in its leadership as well. In February, Jen Cho was promoted to CEO from her former role as chief marketing officer when co-founder Kassan stepped down. Five months later, Fatima Konig of IWG replaced Cho as CEO.

The organization had seen better days before the onset of the pandemic. It had raised around $118 million in funding from investors including Mindy Kaling and Megan Rapinoe, in 2019.

But it also faced gender discrimination lawsuits in 2020, which alleged that the company mistreated people of color and led co-founder Gelman to resign. The employees also complained of low wages and long hours of work, reported The New York Times in their story “The Wing Is a Women’s Utopia. Unless You Work There.”

In other recent proptech news, Flyway, the proptech startup that manages co-owned second homes, raised $10 million in seed and debt funding to acquire and sell its first properties in London. Haywire, a fiber broadband internet and managed Wi-Fi provider to multifamily communities, is bringing its technology to Purdue University’s Discovery Park and other multifamily developers and residents.

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