- WeWork, the startup operating coworking spaces in more than 25 countries, is rebranding to The We Company.
- The rebrand is part of the company’s goal to push beyond providing desk space and into creating residential and educational units as well.
- The announcement comes after news that SoftBank, the company’s biggest investor, reneged on plans to invest an additional $US16 billion and would instead invest just $US1 billion in new capital, with another $US1 billion going to shareholders and additional $US1.5 billion arriving in 2020.
The coworking startup WeWork is rebranding itself ahead of plans to further expand its business beyond commercial office workspaces.
The new name is apparently related to the ambitions of CEO Adam Neumann to expand the company “to encompass all aspects of people’s lives, in both physical and digital worlds,” according to Fast Company.
As of now, Neumann’s company provides commercial spaces, in almost 100 cities in more than 25 countries, for businesses to rent out and employees to use as office space. But under the new We Company brand, the startup will consist of three business units.
Beyond the existing WeWork entity, the new model includes the spin-offs WeLive and WeGrow. WeLive runs community-oriented coliving “hacker houses” in New York and Arlington, Virginia. WeGrow is more education-focused. WeGrow opened its first school last fall, an elementary school with a focus on entrepreneurship that operates out of a WeWork space in New York City.
Fast Company’s report of the company rebranding comes a day after reports surfaced that WeWork would not receive an expected $US16 billion investment. The wide-reaching Japanese investment firm SoftBank had reportedly planned to invest an additional $US16 billion into WeWork on top of the $US8 billion it previously put in.
But the deal fell through in the face of pushback from SoftBank’s government-backed investors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investors called into question The We Company’s money-losing year in 2018.
The $US16 billion investment would have given SoftBank a majority stake in the startup. Instead, SoftBank will invest just $US1 billion in new capital, at a $US47 billion valuation.