Adam Neumann, the office provider’s founder and chief executive, announced the news at the company’s internal annual conference on Tuesday and followed it with a blog titled ‘The beginning of a new story’.
“Through the extended WeWork network and the Meetup community, The We Company now touches approximately 5m people around the world, with the funding to reach millions more. We’re driven by the impact we know we can have when we all work together with a shared intention. I am grateful to our employees, members, and our incredible partner in SoftBank for their commitment to our mission,” said Adam.
The announcement follows the loss-making company’s largest investor, Softbank, scaling back on its planned investment of $16bn to $6bn, of which $1bn will be used to fund share purchases from other investors and employees. The investment includes a previously announced $4bn, bringing the total funding commitments from Softbank to $10bn, since 2017.
Many question the viability of WeWork as despite substantial investments, WeWork has yet to make a profit and reported a net loss of $723m in the first half of 2018. The company has also taken on long leases for large, expensive spaces with rent-free periods that will and already have started to wear off.
The product is also very easy to replicate, and many have, including; commercial real estate firm CBRE’s Hana, developer British Land’s Storey, IWG’s multiple coworking companies include Spaces, and Knotel.
As of this year WeWork has more than 400,000 members at 425 locations in 100 cities, across 27 countries (there are 44 locations in the UK, the majority in London), with the funding bringing the valuation of the company to $47bn. There are currently 44 locations in the UK, 42 in London and 2 in Manchester.
WeLive is the firms ‘coliving’ offer of furnished and flexible apartments and is currently available in New York and Washington, DC. WeGrow is a self-described ‘conscious entrepreneurial school’ and is run by Adam’s wife Rebekah.
In Adam’s words, “WeLive’s mission is to build a world where no one feels alone. WeGrow’s mission is to unleash every human’s superpowers.”
Looking at the 2009 plans for the company, it appears that WeWork’s business ambitions will grow beyond schools and apartments. Will we see a WeBank in 2019?