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The history of WeWork — from its first office in a SoHo building to a global company preparing for a much-hyped IPO

By Anne workforce / September 7, 2019

WeWork Press Kit - Common Area in Dalian Lu #1WeWork

WeWork parent company, The We Company, publicly filed its IPO paperwork in August.
The We Company is now considering a valuation of around $20 billion for its IPO — roughly half of the company’s $47 billion valuation from its last private round of funding — according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg on Thursday.
The company could also delay its IPO to 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal.
WeWork started as one office space in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Now it has nearly 800 locations open or coming soon in 124 cities around the world.
The We Company is composed of WeWork, WeLive (a co-living venture), WeGrow (a “conscious entrepreneurial school”), and Rise by We (a “complete wellness experience”).
Read all of Business Insider’s WeWork coverage here.

WeWork, the nine-year-old co-working-space startup, filed for its IPO in August as part of The We Company.

The We Company is considering a valuation of around $20 billion for its IPO — roughly half of the company’s $47 billion valuation from its last private round of funding — according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg on Thursday. The Journal also reported that the We Company may delay its IPO to 2020.

Founder and CEO Adam Neumann opened the first WeWork space in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City in 2010. Since then, the company has rebranded as The We Company and expanded into other ventures, including co-living subsidiary WeLive and the “conscious entrepreneurial school” WeGrow, among others.

Read on for the history of WeWork leading up to its highly anticipated IPO.

Melia Robinson originally authored this post, which has since been updated. Additional reporting by Lisa Eadicicco.

Read more: WeWork isn’t even close to being profitable — it loses $219,000 every hour of every day

WeWork founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey met — where else? — at the office.
Scott Legato/Getty

Neumann came to New York City in 2001, fresh off his service in the Israeli military. He started a company called Krawlers, which sold clothes with padded knees for crawling babies.

“We were working in the same building as my co-founder Miguel McKelvey, a lead architect at a small firm,” Neumann told Business Insider’s Maya Kosoff in 2015.

“At the time, I was misguided and putting my energy into all the wrong places,” he added.

Source: Business Insider

Neumann also had an interest in real estate — he fell in love with a vacant warehouse on Water Street while he was working in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Google Street View

In an interview with Fast Company, Neumann recalled approaching the landlord and asking for the building. The landlord said, “You’re in baby clothes. What do you know about real estate?”

Neumann said he shot right back: “Your building is empty. What do you know about real estate?”

He and his new friend McKelvey struck a deal to start a real-estate business there: Green Desk, which still exists today.

 

Source: Fast Company

In 2008, Green Desk became an early incarnation of WeWork. The company offered sustainable co-working spaces featuring recycled furniture, free-trade coffee, and green office supplies.

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Customers, called “members,” could rent a desk or a private office month to month. Neumann and McKelvey made money by charging more for those spaces than their lease payments.

Green Desk offered most things individuals and small companies needed: fully furnished offices, conference rooms, high-speed internet access, utilities, printing, and a stocked kitchen.

Source: Dumbo NYCForbes

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

WeWork is just one of the businesses owned by the $47 billion company that just filed for its IPO — check out the full listThe life and career rise of Adam Neumann, the billionaire WeWork founder and CEO taking his company publicWeWork files for IPO, revealing spiraling losses of $1.6 billion

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