The Wing, an all-women social, co-working and networking club in New York, has closed an $8 million Series A round as it gets set to open new outposts in Brooklyn, Manhattan’s Soho, and Washington, D.C.
This funding will also allow for investment in technology as The Wing extends beyond a physical space, developing a micro-social network for its members.
Cofounders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan opened the doors to the club’s original space in Manhattan’s Ladies’ Mile in October 2016 to a group of 200 founding members*, including the likes of trailblazing rapper Remy Ma, ‘Girls’ showrunner Lena Dunham and Glossier CEO Emily Weiss.
By November, there was already a 1,300-strong wait-list of women willing to pay $150 to $185 a month for membership. Today, that figure is up to 3,000.
“We quickly realized the demand outpaced the square footage that we had,” said Gelman, a former political publicist who teamed up to launch The Wing with fellow Forbes Under 30 list member Kassan, an expert on community-building who has worked with fitness startup ClassPass.
The Wing’s Soho location will open this fall, with spaces in downtown Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. up next.
“I lived in D.C. twice, and if I’d had The Wing my quality of life would have been totally transformed,” said Gelman.
With the opening of its new clubs, The Wing will introduce tiered pricing options. Existing members will have the choice of sticking with the flagship club or paying more for access to all.
The company’s Series A was led by early-stage venture firm NEA, with participation from Kleiner Perkins and existing investors including BBG Ventures and SoulCycle cofounders Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler.
It brings the organization’s funding to date to well over $10 million and sees NEA principal Sheel Tyle, co-head of the firm’s seed practice, join the board at the year-old company.
“Rarely do we see a consumer brand achieve this level of reverence this quickly through entirely organic channels,” Tyle said.
Since its fall 2016 opening, The Wing has established a popular online presence, with almost 90,000 Instagram followers as of early April. Its photogenic quarters help: the pastel-hued penthouse includes a feminist library of books by and about women; a cafe stocked with food and drinks from women-run establishments like the Lower East Side restaurant Dimes; and a pump room for new mothers.
The bathroom, shower room and beauty room are stocked with products by women-run companies, like Brooklyn-based hair line Carol’s Daughter and organic tampon startup LOLA.
Hear cofounders Gelman and Kassan discuss The Wing’s early days on an episode of Forbes’ Million$ podcast.
Photo Credit: Forbes