WeWork is an American company which provides shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses. Founded in 2010, it is headquartered in New York City. As of December 2015, WeWork had 54 coworking locations in across the U.S., Europe and Israel – twice as a large number of as it had at the end of 2014 with plans to expand to reach every continent (except Antarctica) by 2017. A $400 million funding round this summer from Fidelity, J.P. Morgan and additional major investors brought the company’s total funding to an estimated $1 billion and raised its valuation to $10 billion—double its $5 billion last December. WeWork was named among the "most innovative companies" of 2015 by Fast Company magazine.
WeWork designs and builds physical and virtual communities in which entrepreneurs share space and office services and have the opportunity to work together. The company’s 30,000+ members have access to health insurance, an internal social network, social events and workshops, and an annual summer retreat. WeWork has more than 250 employees and has locations in 19 United States cities and 11 countries.
History and funding
In May 2008, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey established GreenDesk, an "eco-friendly coworking space" in Brooklyn. In 2010, Neumann and McKelvey sold the business and started WeWork with its first location in New York’s SoHo district. By 2014, WeWork was considered “the fastest-growing lessee of new office space in New York” and was on track to become “the fastest-growing lessee of new space in America.”
“During the economic crises, there were these empty buildings and these people freelancing or starting companies,” Neumann told the New York Daily News. “I knew there was a way to match the two. What separates us, though, is community.”
WeWork members have included startups such as Consumr, HackHands, Coupon Follow, Turf, Fitocracy, Reddit and New York Tech Meetup. In 2011, PepsiCo placed a few employees in the SoHo WeWork, who acted as advisors to smaller WeWork member companies.
WeWork Labs functions as a startup incubator within WeWork. It provides an open workspace with the goal of encouraging collaboration among members who “don’t have their business ideas fully cooked.” The first WeWork Labs opened in New York’s SoHo in April 2011.
WeWork investors include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, T. Rowe Price Associates, Wellington Management, Goldman Sachs Group, the Harvard Corp., Benchmark, and Mortimer Zuckerman, former CEO of Boston Properties.
On June 1, 2015 WeWork announced that Artie Minson, former Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner Cable, would join the company as President and Chief Operating Officer.
It was announced on March 9th, 2016 that WeWork raised $430 million in a new round of financing from Legend Holdings and Hony Capital Ltd., valuing the company at $16 billion. As of October 2016, the company had raised $1.7 billion in private capital.
In October of 2016, the company announced their plans to open a fourth location in Cambridge/Boston area. WeWork opened offices in Boston's Leather District and Fort Point in 2014 and have plans in place for a larger office in Back Bay. The first Cambridge office will be in Central Square and have space for 550 desks.
WeWork launched a separate but related "co-living" venture called WeLive in 2016. WeLive applies the same basic principle of WeWork to housing, offering rental apartments that are grouped together with a number of shared spaces and services, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry, as well as group activities and events. The first tests of the concept launched in New York City and Washington D.C. Leaked internal documents from 2014 stated that WeLive is projected to make up twenty-one percent of WeWork's revenue by 2018. Competitors to WeLive include Common, additionally headquartered in New York City.