WeWork Labs and StrongHer Ventures Partner to Empower 1 Mn Women

  • Arise is an engaged acceleration program offering knowledge sessions, bootcamps, sector experts, engaged mentors, extensive networking sessions, hiring drives, warm client connect, access to follow-on capital, and over $1M worth of benefits to participants
  • The program will engage with 5,000 startups, mentor 1000 entrepreneurs and invest in over 100 startups over the next 5 years
  • Arise expects to add $1.5 billion to India’s women-led economy (GDP)
WeWork India, the leading flexible workspace provider, today announced its partnership with StrongHer Ventures to launch ‘Arise’, a programme designed to unlock opportunities for India’s women entrepreneurial ecosystem. The association will be jointly led by WeWork Labs, the global incubation and acceleration arm of WeWork, and StrongHer Ventures, the first woman-focused VC in India and globally. The programme will focus on helping women entrepreneurs through a blend of competitive guidance, business support, community development and broader societal impact.

Arise brings together the benefits of StrongHer Ventures’ extensive investment expertise and investor network, coupled with WeWork Labs’ global acceleration platform. The programme will engage with 5,000 startups, mentor 1000 entrepreneurs and invest in over 100 startups over the next 5 years. It will impact engagement and empowerment of over a million women in India, resulting in 5x increase in funding for women entrepreneurs, doubling the number of women leaders across the impacted group of women, and a 50% reduction in pay gap. Arise expects to add $1.5 billion to India’s women-led economy (GDP).

Arvind Radhakrishnan, Head of Labs, WeWork India, said, "WeWork Labs has always been uniquely capable of delivering ground-up impact because of WeWork India’s extensive physical presence across the country. This allows us to have our eyes on the ground in several micro-ecosystems, and engage with founders on a much deeper level. We are delighted to partner with StrongHer Ventures to leverage this access and reach to address the perennial issue of underrepresentation of women in the startup ecosystem. With StrongHer’s extensive track record and network, the aim of the partnership is to build a solid foundation for women-led and focused businesses in India and offer a combination of capital, acceleration, mentorship, customer and market access to high-potential women-led or women-focused startups going forward."

Apart from capital investment, Arise will offer women entrepreneurs a range of benefits as part of the acceleration program including knowledge sessions, bootcamps, sector experts, engaged mentoring, curated networking events, hiring drives, warm client connect, access to follow-on capital, and up to $1 million worth of perks. Given the access, reach and track record jointly offered by StrongHer Ventures and WeWork Labs, Arise will empower the women-led ecosystem with hands-on portfolio support. Additionally, access to WeWork spaces will be offered at highly subsidised rates through WeWork Labs’ Growth Campus offering.

Ankita Vashistha, Founder & Managing Partner, StrongHer Ventures, said “We are founders of the first venture capital fund to invest in women entrepreneurs and with Arise we are now launching the largest accelerator platform for women led and focused startups, along with WeWork Labs in India. We are engaging women leaders, investors, founders, professionals and corporates to build the most engaged community and ecosystem for women. Arise is uniquely positioned to accelerate growth and value with engaged mentors and sector experts and extensive focus on digital innovation, networking, partnerships, investor relations and business connections. We are proud to change the narrative and are confident of increasing the amount of funding to women entrepreneurs by 5x and impacting the number of women in leadership and entrepreneurial positions. The female economy is here and we are leading the change.”

The programme will draw out the entire women led/focused innovation ecosystem in India, including founders, talent, corporate leaders, investors & mentors such as Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Biocon), Kirthiga Reddy (WeWork), Deepak Parekh (HDFC Bank), Upasana Taku (MobiKwik), Neha Motwani (Fitternity/CureFit), Bhavna Suresh (10Club), Ganesh Natarajan (Ex Zensar), Anisha Patnaik (LexStart) and Avinash Vashistha (Former Chairman & MD, Accenture), among several other leaders.

Commenting on the program Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics said, “The Arise program by StrongHer Ventures and WeWork Labs is leading the way to triple the number of women entrepreneurs who get funded and increase women in leadership positions by 50%. Let’s arise and break the bias."

The acceleration programme will be open to all pre-seed women-led/women-focused startups in the broad categories of health, fin-tech, consumer, future of work & web 3.0. One of the core focuses will be to engage with the startups throughout various rounds of fundraising to help scale their businesses and focus on driving long-term societal impact, by publishing original research from their learnings obtained throughout the programme. This is aimed to encourage thought leadership and advocate policy changes in the industry.

Co-investors, mentors, sponsors and ecosystem enablers who are interested in contributing towards the programme can apply here.

About WeWork Labs

WeWork Labs is a platform for early-stage startups that takes an innovative and personalised approach to helping entrepreneurs succeed. It serves as a growing ideation hub for forward-thinking organisations, partnering with local incubators, accelerators, and large enterprises to power future corporate innovation in both India and around the globe. Coupled with access to WeWork’s global community of 5000+ founders, investors and mentors, WeWork Labs provides members with the space, access to investment, upskilling sessions with experts, warm client connect and educational resources to help grow their business.

About StrongHer Ventures

StrongHer Ventures is building the largest, most impactful and engaging platform for women entrepreneurship, investments, engagement and leadership. StrongHer Ventures is a $100M platform, launched after the successful deployment of Saha Fund, investing across pre-seed to early stage companies. Looking at women led/focused technology driven, scalable business models across health, fintech, future of work and life, consumer and web 3.0. StrongHer Ventures is driven by an experienced team, led by Managing Partner - Ankita Vashistha with a proven track record of investing in technology, ventures and diversity across USA, India, Europe, Asia and supported by a strong board of experts, global advisory board, entrepreneurial and corporate operator network.


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