The We Company joins growing list of firms pursuing an IPO

30 Apr 2019135 Views

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WeWork offices on Harcourt Street, Dublin. Image: The We Company

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The We Company is raising cash to become the world’s largest physical network.

Formerly known as known as WeWork, The We Company, which operates a number of properties in Dublin, has confirmed that it confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the ‘WeWork’ symbol last December.

For a company that has reportedly been making revenues of $1.8bn but also has racked up losses of $1.9bn snapping up properties and refitting them in key locations in cities across the world, an IPO might make actual sense.

‘As one of the world’s largest physical networks, it is our responsibility to help lead the way and set the global example for people and corporations on how we should take care of each other and of our planet’
– ADAM NEUMANN

The company is in a kind of a race against time between buying these properties and putting its stamp on them, and actual revenues from tenants catching up with costs.

Co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York City in 2010, The We Company is currently a privately held company with more than 5,000 employees.

Global ambition

WeWork rebranded to The We Company in January and boasts more than 335 physical locations across 24 countries and 83 cities around the world, with about 400,000 members.

The We Company been growing rapidly in Dublin with six locations. The latest location at Charlemont Exchange was revealed last November, with plans to host a community of more than 2,600 members and reports of Amazon as an anchor tenant.

Last June, Siliconrepublic.com reported how the company’s 55,000 sq ft operation on Harcourt Street became operational. At that point three of the company’s other premises in Dublin were already operational, hosting more than 1,000 workers including staff from Microsoft and Twilio, and it subsequently emerged that WeWork was also taking on the iconic former Central Bank building on Dame Street.

In February the company revealed that its entrepreneurial programme, WeWork Labs, was to open its first Irish location in March.

Up until now The We Company’s business model has relied on heavy funding from private investors such as SoftBank, which has poured more than $10bn into the company, including $2bn this year, giving it the cash it needs to snap up real estate. Other ventures include WeLive, which provides flexible residential offerings and an educational unit called WeGrow.

The idea is that willing entrepreneurs’ rent will translate into long-term recurring revenue and a very real cash cow for the company.

The We Company is the latest in a flurry of firms filing for IPO, including Lyft, Pinterest, Zoom, Uber and Slack.

Neumann, the CEO, said in a memo to staff: “As part of keeping all options open, we confidentially filed a draft S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December. After a lot of thought, last week we decided to file the first amendment to our submission, which is a step towards allowing us to decide to become a public company. As partners on this journey, it is important for me to personally share this information with you, and again thank you for your collaboration in getting us to this point.”

He added: “Partly due to technology and partly due to the times we live in, the world has never felt smaller and yet more people than ever are sharing that they feel alone. As one of the world’s largest physical networks, it is our responsibility to help lead the way and set the global example for people and corporations on how we should take care of each other and of our planet.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com