WeWork rival Convene is betting a healthcare startup can help it win new customers by bringing office clinics to the masses

WeWork rival Convene is betting a healthcare startup can help it win new customers by bringing office clinics to the masses

Medical exam room at Convene's flagship site.

Clarrie Feinstein / Business Insider

The medical exam room at Convene's flagship site.

  • Convene, a WeWork rival, has partnered with the healthcare startup Eden Health to deliver primary care in its workspaces. The companies just opened their first clinic in Convene's midtown offices.
  • Eden plans to open at least 24 more health clinics in partnership with Convene over the next 18 months.
  • Convene's CEO Ryan Simonetti calls the partnership a means to provide quick access to healthcare and win over tenants.
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The newest must-have office amenity isn't an indoor Ferris Wheel, a water lounge, or arcade games. Instead, Convene and the startup Eden Health are betting it's a doctor's office.

Convene, which operates flexible office spaces, partnered with Eden to build at least 25 primary care clinics in Convene's workspaces. The first opened in June in midtown Manhattan at Convene's flagship site. There, workers can get a flu shot or a checkup, without leaving the office.

Employers are offering more perks, including healthcare, to boost their employees' productivity and win the war for talent as the unemployment rate stays low. Companies like Convene are offering similar perks to woo tenants. Convene CEO Ryan Simonetti said Convene wanted to stand apart from rivals by offering an amenity that is typically only available at the largest corporations.

"To have immediate access to healthcare like that is something you can't get unless you're a massive company, based in their headquarters," Simonetti told Business Insider.


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WeWork, the most recognizable name - though not the biggest company - in the flexible office space business, doesn't have health clinics in its office sites. The company declined to comment for this article.

Workers want more than a cool office

Unlike WeWork, Convene got its start as an event space provider with an eye toward luxury touches such as high-end chefs. It then morphed into a provider of flexible offices and coworking space, much like WeWork. Convene has 28 outposts in the US, half in New York City, compared to WeWork's 485 locations. WeWork's most recent funding round in January valued the company at $47 billion.

In July 2018, Convene raised $152 million from investors including Revolution Growth, Brookfield Property Partners LP and the Durst Organization, a Series D round that valued the company at more than $500 million, according to Bloomberg News. The rival to WeWork is expanding rapidly and believes the onsite clinics can offer a new type of workplace experience.

Melanie Gladwell, the Americas head of flexible workplace solutions at real-estate company Cushman & Wakefield, said long-standing space providers like Regus and Servcorp have "dabbled in" healthcare in response to member demand for more than just a cool office. Gladwell has worked at a number of different providers of flexible office space.


"Because work and personal life is so blurred these days and business is done at every hour, the accessibility to these amenities is in high demand," she said. "It's giving companies the edge. You don't have to go far to get what you need and you can still be a rockstar."

Large companies like Apple or Goldman Sachs have long had on-site or near-site healthcare options. Workplace clinics have been around for almost a century, but over the past few years they've grown in popularity.

According to a 2018 survey from employer benefits consultant Mercer, roughly a third of employers that have more than 5,000 workers have an onsite or nearsite clinic, up from 24% in 2012 and 17% in 2007.

Read more: The company that runs health clinics for Facebook and LinkedIn just made a big bet that the future of healthcare is moving online

Eden, for its part, tends to work with smaller employers. For instance, Convene as an organization employs roughly 500 people.


"Now is really the right time," Eden CEO Matt McCambridge told Business Insider. "You've had large employers for a long long time have on site clinics. You even talk to the large consulting groups who are fed up with frankly the level of service that is seen. Trying to give people what they intuitively expect is important."

Founded in 2009, Convene designs and services places for people to work, host meetings, and put on events, similar to WeWork. Convene partners with landlords to offer companies and building tenants access to the workspace and amenities.

Eden provides virtual and in-person primary care to employees, pairing up patients through its app with a care team of physicians and medical experts. Patients can choose to seek care virtually - according to Eden, 70% of patient encounters happen online - but they can set up in-person appointments too.

Eden and Convene announced their partnership in March, shortly after Eden raised $10 million in a Series A round from investors including Convene. Beyond New York, the plan is to put clinics in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Los Angeles.

"Wellness is really important in these environments," Simonetti told Business Insider. "We want to bring that driving experience at Convene, and to our landlord partners as a broader amenity to the building."


A tour of Eden's first clinic at Convene's midtown site

Convene workspace at 530th Fifth Avenue, New York.

Clarrie Feinstein / Business Insider

Convene's space at 530 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

A recent tour of Convene's midtown location provides a preview of what's to come. Convene's three-floor open office space is located in the middle of a midtown office building. There are kitchens filled with snacks, glass enclosed conference rooms, a roof deck, and a workout room with a Peloton bike.

To find the clinic, take a left just after the entrance. Inside the private, encolosed room, user of Eden can sit on an exam table and talk with a healthcare professional in a white coat. The door to the exam room is the only thing signaling that this is a doctor's office - there's no waiting room.

Eden says patients can book an appointment on the app, walk in, and see a member from their primary care team without a long wait.

By the end of 2019, Eden plans to have four New York clinics open (right now it operates an independent location as well as the initial one with Convene), two in Chicago and two in Washington, D.C. Another 25 are planned for 2020. The partnership with Convene will play a big role in growing that capital-intensive, brick-and-mortar presence.


"That allows us to have pretty immediate national scale," McCambridge said. "For employers who this day and age have people everywhere, it's really important to achieve scale for them quickly if you're going to promote having physical clinics."

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