- WeWork‘s $47 billion parent company, The We Company, publicly filed its IPO paperwork on Wednesday.
- 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, just filed for its IPO as part of The We Company, its parent company last valued at $47 billion.
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 re-branded 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.
WeWork founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey met — where else? — at the office.
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.
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.
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