Flexible office provider WeWork has filed the paperwork that will eventually enable it to list its shares on the US stock market. It could still decide not to go public, but this is a first step in that direction as it seeks funds for further expansion.
Its rise to fame in the world of flexible office space has been swift and sharp since its inception in the US in 2010. It now has about 401,000 memberships across 425 locations (as of 31st December 2018). In London alone, there will be 42 WeWorks by the end of 2019. The company was valued at $47 billion this year by private investors.
WeWork now has about 401,000 memberships across 425 locations.
But despite all of this, WeWork is not yet making a profit. Last year, the company’s revenue doubled to $1.8 billion but its losses hit $1.9 billion. Executives defend the now-popular ‘empire-building’ approach, which they say is about building the business out to begin with, rather than maximising profits.
If they do end up going public, they’ll be hoping that public investors believe they can eventually turn a profit from their vision.
In the US in the last few months, several other privately held companies with valuations of at least $10 billion (known as ‘decacorns’) have filed to go public, including Lyft, Pinterest and Uber.
“We have regularly focused on how to take our business to the next level in every aspect,” said Adam Neumann, WeWork’s chief executive.