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The Wing: Coronavirus cash-flow wipe out forces global closure

Tom McArthur
Page editor
BOSTON, MA - JULY 23: Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO of iFundWomen, left, works on her phone as Kate Anderson, Co-Founder and Operations Director at iFundWomen, leans in to chat, at The Wing in Boston on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A prominent social club and co-working space exclusively for women has laid off almost all staff worldwide after its cash flow was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses at the Wing, a networking space branded as “instagram-ready feminism” by the New York Times, told staff via a Zoom video call on Friday, saying they had seen “95% of our revenue disappear overnight.”

In mid-march it had announced the temporary closure of 12 physical spaces because of the ongoing global coronavirus catastrophe, but at the time said it hoped to reopen the venues by mid-April.

With the lockdown expected to last at least until the summer, the founders said staff cuts were the only remaining option for the company to remain solvent.

“Dear Wing community, today was the hardest day in the history of our company,” wrote founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan on Instagram. “We simply don’t know when we will reopen again.”

Bloomberg reports that the general managers of the Wing’s 11 locations in the US and London have been furloughed until the sites reopen, if they ever do, and full-time staff are getting two months of severance and health-care benefits.

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WeWork had been an investor in the Wing until it sold its stake in the smaller startup earlier this year. Other backers have included celebrities Mindy Kaling, Kerry Washington and Megan Rapinoe, venture capital firms Sequoia and NEA, and talent agency Creative Artists Agency.