WeWork: How The $16Billion PropTech Firm Is Taking Over London

Shared-office-space startup WeWork was valued at $16.9 billion in it’s latest funding round. Headquartered in New York, the firm has already established 24 office locations in the city and now they have London in their sights.

DMZ opens the doors to the enigmatic start-up and reveals their ambitions for this side of the pond.

The company already boasts an impressive 15 locations in London.

Typically in hipster neighbourhoods such as London Fields or Old Street, their shared workspaces are marketed on the stunning aesthetics as well as the broader community feel. They also have all the mod-cons any good start-up needs, including super fast broadband, I.T equipment like printers and scanners in addition to free micro-roasted coffee, tea, fruit, water and beer.

Communal workers get down to business at WeWork in London Fields
Communal workers get down to business at WeWork in London Fields

The firm aims to aggressively expand in London and earlier this year claimed their ambition was to add a further 10 offices in London by the end of 2017. They are certainly on track to meet these lofty expectations; this month they announced they would take 72,000 sq ft of office accommodation across three floors of South Bank Central’s Vivo building, housing over 1,000 new WeWork members.

WeWorks pricing for access to their shared workspace in Spitalfields
WeWorks pricing for access to their shared workspace in Spitalfields

A joint venture between Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Vivo building will be the second space WeWork have taken on the South Bank. 

Patrick Nelson, Head of Real Estate for WeWork in Europe said, “we are delighted to add another prominent location to our London portfolio, our second on the South Bank where we first opened our doors in London just over two years ago.”

Chief Executive and Co-Founder Adam Neumann said the company was committed to “London’s entrepreneurial community” and had an “integral role in London’s future”. 

The much talked about common areas at WeWork, which host member hosted 'Learn & Learn' sessions
The much talked about common areas at WeWork, which host regular ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions

On WeWork’s expansion, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “our great city has long been at the very forefront of financial services. When you combine that with our new-found technological expertise, it creates an unrivalled opportunity for companies looking to break into the European market.”

The company appear to be relentless in their mission to expand in the Capital.

In addition to the South Bank expansion, they also announced they would be taking 59,000 sq ft at The Tower within The Bower development in Old Street. Designed by architects AHMM and due for completion in July 2018, The Tower is currently under construction and will provide 171,200 sq ft across 17 levels, with two additional ground floor retail units.

Gerald Kaye, chief executive of the projects developers Helical, said, “WeWork is an incredibly dynamic and exciting organisation, whose concept of shared working will ideally complement the new community we are creating at The Bower.”

The Bower at Old Street, before and (developers view) of after
The Bower at Old Street, before and Helical’s view of after

DMZ‘ers who are primarily interested on the residential side of things might be thinking “that’s great, but it doesn’t affect me”. Like all the big tech players WeWork are looking to not only diversify their locations, but their offerings too.

In April this year the company launched WeLive, a co-living venture that applies the same principles of WeWork to housing offering rental apartments that have shared spaces and services such as cleaning, cooking and laundry in addition to group events and activities. Leaked internal documents reportedly claim WeLive is projected to make up 21% of the firms revenue by 2018.

At DealMakerz we think WeLive has the potential to make a real impact on the residential market in London. If they choose to, WeWork could become fully blown property developers – purchasing London space and having the luxury of using it for either their residential or commercial businesses. With backers in the form of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, there isn’t many who would bet against the PropTech titans right now.

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