Coworking venture WeWork just reported a stratospheric $16 billion valuation, up from $10 billion last summer, after a new round of investment spearheaded by Chinese investors suggests the company has its sights set on Asia.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the valuation would make it the third-most valuable publicly traded office space landlord (if it were to go public), despite owning just a fraction of the space of its competitors. The investment announced Tuesday is a massive vote of confidence for the communal office space company and the sharing economy, especially considering the pessimism being shown recently towards investment in startups.
The size of WeWork in relation to its valuation—with 5 million square feet of space and a $16 billion valuation, it has an eighth of the total space of Regus, with four times the valuation—has caused many in the real estate industry to question the company’s value and ability to sustain aggressive growth. But the company seems perfectly poised to profit from the generational and economic shifts making the workforce more decentralized and entrepreneurial. And, it’s not merely growing, it’s also growing smart and diversifying.
In addition to expanding its coworking empire, the company is also testing out coliving ventures, becoming one of the highest-profile companies to test out a contemporary spin on communal living. Viewed in tandem with its acquisition of CASE, a firm that specializes in BIM (business information modeling), WeWork seems poised to not only become something of massive landlord for the sharing and gig economy, but manage and even design space in a much more progressive and efficient manner than its competitors. Seems like a tough time for old-school competitors, such as Regus, right? Turns out that multinational actually saw 37% operating profits last year and expanded its network by 22 percent. Looks like the battle to design and control the office of tomorrow’s mobile worker got even more interesting.