This article appears in the Winter 2019 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
By Shaun Ritchie, CEO and Co-founder, Teem.
At Teem, we began 2018 grinding away as a typical venture-backed startup, winning more customers, building a more robust enterprise product, and growing a fantastic team. We were hitting numbers and planning on raising another round of capital, which was becoming much easier than in previous fundraising rounds. (It’s an interesting tipping point when investors start calling on you rather than you only calling on them.) In April, we were introduced to WeWork. As we got to know the team, the mission and the vision, we decided to change the course of the future of Teem. On September 12, we announced that Teem had been acquired by WeWork. Together with WeWork, we are combining software, data and analytics with a physical, office-building platform to literally build the best workplaces in the world, and provide an unparalleled workplace offering for the entire community in that space.
Never before, in the history of Silicon Slopes, has one of the fastest growing companies on the planet made a strategic acquisition in Utah. While there have been a few acqui-hires here and there, which typically has resulted in a net talent export — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google — none have made significant acquisitions in the state. There have also been major acquisitions of incredible Utah-based tech companies by Adobe, Symantec and SAP, though none of these companies were growing at, to use Reid Hoffman’s term, “blitzscaling” speed.
In 2018 that all changed in Utah. WeWork, now labeled the second most valuable startup in the United States, acquired Teem to ramp the company’s software offerings as part of it’s Powered by We initiative, also launched in 2018, to bring design, technology, and member services expertise to spaces belonging to enterprises around the globe. This means that Utah just became a hub for software technology development for one of the world’s most valuable startups.
2019: Turning Utah Into a Major Hub for Technology and Innovation
WeWork is currently a relatively unknown entity in the Utah landscape. Though there are already close to 400 WeWork member locations around the world, none of those are located in Utah. 2019 will change all of that. One location in Lehi has already been announced, which will house roughly 1,000 members. Just this one location will be transformational for the Lehi area, and will spur even more entrepreneurship throughout Silicon Slopes. The upcoming Salt Lake City location will spur even more of that downtown.
When we founded Teem five years ago, we did so with the mission to build toward the future of the workplace. We knew that technology would be a driving component for the workplace experience, and that if leveraged the right way, it could enhance the time teams spent together in the workplace. We knew that we could help many companies achieve a better state for their workplace by leveraging the right technology. In 2018, we took that vision and started to truly blitzscale it. We now have embedded access to the largest physical office platform in the world, which is growing by millions of square feet every month. With that kind of scale, we will be able to help many thousands of more companies create a better workplace experience, through both a digital and physical platform. The fact that we can help create that future right here in Utah, while having direct access to the resources of WeWork, is as exciting as 2019 gets.