WeWork buys Welkio to streamline office sign-in

Ronny Kerr · March 18, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4417

For undisclosed amount, major coworking company acquires an iPad-based digital sign-in system

Hot off a new funding round, WeWork has made an acquisition.

The company, which offers a platform for booking shared workspaces, announced today that it has bought Welkio, a software system for registering office visitors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but WeWork says in its blog post announcing the acquisition that Welkio will remain an independent company. We’ve reached out to the company to see if we can glean some additional details about the deal.

Welkio, which costs $99 per month per location, offers an iPad-based visitor sign-in system for offices. Those who've walked into at least a few technology companies' offices have probably encountered something akin to Welkio. (Other products of this kind include The iPad Receptionist, Sine, and Envoy, though there are plenty more.)

The Welkio system collects visitor info (including name, company name, email address, photo, and purpose of visit), has the visitor sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and prints badges. Additionally, the software will alert an employee at the company (through Slack, HipChat, email, or SMS) so they know their visitor has arrived.

That’s the most basic functionality, but Welkio offers a ton of features in the background as well. For example, office managers can access a dashboard to see a log of visitors currently in the office and those who have visited in the past. Additionally, the platform is fully customizable, so you can white label it with your logo and colors. Also, if you don’t need certain information or an NDA signed, you can disable those fields in the sign-in process.

One of the cool things about this acquisition is that Welkio was actually created during a hackathon hosted by Hathway, a mobile development company. The story, from WeWork:

During an all-team hackathon in 2014, Hathway employees DJ Tarazona and Florent Ferere came up with the idea to build Welkio—a comprehensive visitor sign-in system that modernizes the front desk reception process for visitors, receptionists, and IT teams, while also increasing office-wide security and productivity. We saw Welkio go live on Product Hunt a few months later and immediately knew it’d be the perfect fit for us.

Because WeWork operates over 85 locations around the world, it made perfect sense for the company to buy Welkio. Incorporating the digital sign-in system will make signing in seamless at each location and will also facilitate a consistent experience across all those locations.

Just last week, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann announced that the company had closed a new round of funding led by Legend Holdings and Hony Capital with participation from previous investors. Though terms of that deal were also undisclosed, reports peg the round at $430 million, which would be about the same size as the company’s round from last summer.

Though it’s fair to say that WeWork raised the new round (from Chinese investors) to heavily invest in expansion to China, it’s equally fair to assume that the expanded warchest has opened the door for the company to make more acquisitions. We’ll keep our eyes open to see if it becomes a trend.

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