Remember when WeWork opened their first location here? It shouldn’t be too hard, it was only 2017. Over the past few years, Dallas has amassed an impressive lineup of coworking companies, from imports such as CENTRL Office to homegrown names like The Slate, Common Desk, and Her HQ. In January of 2019, a study by Colliers International found that Dallas was the number one city in the country for coworking growth.
And yet, even with the constant openings, The Riveter may be one of the more exciting coworking concepts to debut in Dallas this year. After recently receiving $22 million from three different rounds of venture capital funding, the female-founded, Seattle-based company made plans to expand nationwide, settling on Dallas (and more specifically, Oak Lawn) for their seventh location.
Like The Slate, also female-founded, The Riveter was created with female entrepreneurs in mind, but men, who account for about 30 percent of Riveter membership, can also join. Investors include TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, international lawyer Anne Marie Slaughter, maternity apparel pioneer Liz Lange, and producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Events at The Riveter’s other locations have featured speakers such as Jane Fonda and Maria Shriver.
So, how did such a young company (the first Riveter location opened in May 2017) in such a saturated field grow so quickly? Founder Amy Nelson believes it might be the fact that her concept goes beyond coworking, focusing on catering to entrepreneurs that are genuinely searching for new ties rather than companies looking for ancillary workspaces.
Nelson had been a lawyer for 10 years before she decided to build her own legal practice—a move spurred by motherhood. “I felt like the world shifted underneath me,” says Nelson. “I wanted to work, but I felt like I was perceived differently from the moment I told people I was pregnant. I think that’s a really common experience in corporate America.” She began visiting coworking spaces in Seattle to take classes on writing a business plan, and quickly noticed a frustrating trend: the majority of the members were men. “Literally, in one space there were videogames, a ping pong table, billiards, bean bag chairs, and beer on tap,” recalls Nelson. “I was like, All of these things are great, but as a 37-year-old mom, this is not where I feel at home.” She began speaking with other female entrepreneurs, who had also struggled to find a community. So Nelson, shifting her focus from her own legal practice, decided to fix the problem and build it herself.
Apart from about 30 percent of the space, which is dedicated to offices, The Riveter is mostly open concept, filled with dedicated and floating desks that can be removed for evening or weekend programming. “We really wanted to create a community where entrepreneurs could share resources and connections,” says Nelson. “That’s really played out, and I think it’s been buoyed by having that open space that can be used in so many different ways. We can do meetups for moms, or nuts-and-bolts programming on how to write your business plan, or social media 101. We have the space.”
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A big differentiator for The Riveter is its membership plan, which features a monthly ($365 per month) and part-time ($180 a month) plan, along with a “Second Shift” (5pm to 8am and weekends for $250 a month) or “10 Hour Flex” ($99 for 10 hours a month) option. “When I became part of that solo entrepreneur demographic, I started thinking more about what they want,” says Nelson. “I may not be able to afford a full-time office. And I’m okay working from home sometimes. We wanted to calibrate it so that, when you came in, you didn’t have to pay for a full day.”
Every community is different, but we’ll be able to see how The Riveter acclimates to Dallas beginning today, when the new space opens its doors on Welborn Street. Leading up to the grand opening on May 16, The Riveter will be hosting a slew of events, including “Wellness Wednesday with Jen Broyles,” “Diversity in Dallas, and Stories of Overcoming,” and “Operation and Organization: Master Your Email and to-Do List with Katrina Teeple.” And for anyone interested in a very non-committal flirtation with female-centric co-working, The Riveter is offering first-timers a free day pass.