- WeWork’s competitors and investors in coworking space are anxious to comb through the company’s detailed financials when it unveils its initial public offering filing.
- Five executives told Business Insider what they’re looking for once WeWork makes its S-1 filing public – many said churn rate, occupancy, and what real estate deals WeWork has been making.
- One CEO of a competitor said that WeWork’s planned IPO would be "a huge moment for the industry," since none of WeWork’s peers have yet gone public.
- Read all of BI’s WeWork coverage here.
WeWork owner The We Company, valued at $47 billion in its January funding round, is expected to unveil its finances to the public as it gears up for an IPO. It’s a huge moment for the coworking industry, given WeWork’s explosive growth and massive valuation.
Competitors and investors in the coworking space will be combing through WeWork’s S-1 filing once it hits to understand more about the company, and they told us exactly what they will be looking for. WeWork has already released limited financial information — it lost nearly $2 billion last year— so the question will be if there’s any clear path to profitability.
Venky Ganesan, partner, Menlo Ventures
"I’m going to look at the churn rate of their contracts, how often are people staying and leaving, the size of their customer base and the density of how they’re packing people in. The WeWork model relies on density … I think the WeWork model is not based on 200-250 square feet per person, but 100 square feet per person."
"[I”m] trying to look for how many big cities there are, and city-by-city staffing information… Can the WeWork model go from big cities and tech hubs to the suburbs? What is their non-lease revenue? Eventually for WeWork to make this all work, they’ll need to charge something more than their lease."
Ganesan, whose venture capital firm has funded Breather, said called WeWork’s latest advance towards public markets a watershed moment.
"Commercial real estate will be changed forever."
Zach Aarons, co-founder of real estate venture capital firm MetaProp and WeWork investor
"WeWork has recently made a big push to the enterprise side of the business. You’d want to look at how is that revenue trending as it relates to the more traditional business model … If the offering is successful, it’s going to be a great indicator for the industry as a whole. I think you would expect more of them from smaller competitors, whether that’s going to be Industrious or whomever is next."
WeWork is trying to ink more deals with Fortune 500 companies, rather than sell coworking memberships – a higher-risk business – to individuals and start-ups. WeWork has said it wants to grow what it calls "enterprise memberships" with companies including Microsoft, BlackRock, Salesforce, and Adidas.
WeWork started targeting these companies just over two years ago, in a push led by Michael Gross, the company’s vice chairman. About 40% of WeWork’s memberships fit that category in the first quarter of the year, compared to 21% in the first quarter of 2017.
Yaron Kopel, founder of flexible meeting space provider Meet in Place
"I’m looking for occupancy and real estate deals made with different landlords ... More and more landlords are open and thinking of the potential" of flexible office options, he said.
"It’s really interesting to see and follow all this data. WeWork is the first innovative real estate company that’s going to IPO. I’m sure more will follow in the future."
Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of space provider Convene
"We’re most interested in seeing how the public equity markets value the business. What are the metrics that they’re looking at? …What are the key metrics that really drive value?"
Simonetti’s Brookfield-backed company Convene focuses more on meeting and event spaces, with about 20% of the space going to workplace outsourcing.
He said WeWork going public would mark "a huge moment for the entire real estate industry," validating the change from traditional, long-term office leases to new ways of offering space.
Jamie Hodari, co-founder and CEO of office space provider Industrious
"I’m personally very excited about the fact that they’re IPO-ing … the fact that robust metrics about the industry will be available will help customers better understand the dynamics of our industry, what good looks like, what’s sustainable, what’s not sustainable."
"Even a year or two ago, people were saying is this a trend, is this not a trend? Are they just selling ping pong tables or beer on tap?"
Hodari will be focusing his attention on WeWork’s basic economics. He’s mostly interested in comparing "lease liabilities and overall unit performance" over time. Industrious has moved their model towards partnerships with landlords, and away from traditional leases.
Have a WeWork tip? Contact Meghan Morris via text or encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a non-work phone, email at email@example.com, or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
- WeWork, the $47 billion co-working company, is gearing up for a huge IPO this year. Here’s everything we know about what’s going on.
- Jeffrey Epstein hired a college student for erotic massages. She also gave a massage to his billionaire friends Glenn and Eva Dubin — though they say they don’t recall it.
- Hedge-fund giant Glenn Dubin and his wife, Eva, told Jeffrey Epstein’s probation officer they were ‘100% comfortable’ with the sex offender around their kids. New documents show the extent of the billionaire couple’s relationship with Epstein.