WeWork customers will now literally be able to waltz into their office buildings using their smartphone. The coworking giant announced plans to acquire New York-based startup Waltz, a mobile building access and security management platform earlier this week.
Founded by CEO Matt Kopel in 2015, Waltz is a mobile platform which allows workers to gain access to a building via their phones, bypassing traditional building security.
The amount of the acquisition remains undisclosed, but according to reports, Waltz will maintain its existing customer base as it is integrated into WeWork after the deal is complete.
“The key to supporting our on-demand memberships is the ability to provide each member with a single global credential connecting people with space everywhere,” WeWork said in a statement released announcing the acquisition Monday.
WeWork’s enterprise clients will be able to use a single credential, Waltz’s electronic pass, to gain instant access to the buildings, turnstiles, elevators and doors to manage their employees’ on demand memberships to WeWork spaces.
Shiva Rajaraman, WeWork’s chief technology officer, stated that the provision of frictionless global access to properties is a crucial area of focus for the company’s technology team.
Kopel did not comment about the details of the acquisition and issued the following statement which accompanied the announcement: “Waltz was founded with the mission to reduce friction in the physical world through a single credential to access buildings and more. WeWork has created a truly global platform, and we’re thrilled to join with them in realizing our vision by deploying our technology solutions in the built world.”
The acquisition is a part of WeWork’s long-term transition from a coworking provider to a software as a service company and offers significant advantages.
Firstly, access control is a significant pain point for many enterprise employees. More than 25% of employees surveyed across the U.S. stated that access control is the most outdated feature in their offices, according to a recent survey by Openpath.
Openpath found that more than 50% of employees indicated that they expect to be able to control smart devices in the workplace with their mobile phones in the next five years and would prefer to only carry their mobile phone as a door key instead of a separate badge, card, or fob.
However, Waltz isn’t eliminating the friction related to employee access control; it will also serve as a massive enabler to generate workplace data and raise revenue.
Waltz’s cloud-based management portal provides employers with data about who enters and exits their workplaces and allows property management teams to place access restrictions on the use of designated spaces.
Waltz’s also has a revenue-generating feature which displays ads in its app. It’s feasible that WeWork may use Waltz’s advertising feature for marketing other product and service offerings to enterprise clients and their employees in the future.
Additionally, research has shown that smartphone apps which incorporate access control features are far more successful at maintaining long-term user engagement, which often wanes after the initial launch so the addition access control will also increase engagement from existing members currently using the WeWork workplace app.
Rajaraman told Business Insider that Waltz would be the WeWork’s last acquisition this year.
WeWork, which has been criticized for its $34 billion pile of mounting debt from existing lease obligations, purchased three other startups, Teem, Managed by Q and Euclid a spatial analytics tool this past year.
While investors wonder how the company will fair with its looming IPO, WeWork has acquired a covetable arsenal of tech-based workplace data generating tools which could add tremendous value to clients and investors very soon.