We Work, the office rental company that became popular for renting out Commercial Office Fit Outs and spaces to tech freelancers and start-up, recently filed to go public discretely, in spite of the company losing close to $2bn in 2018.
The co-working giant, which was last valued at $47bn, reported that they first filed the paperwork with US regulators earlier in December, which would let the company float on public markets in the future, should the conditions be favourable.
This would make it the latest in what are called “unicorns”; privately-held companies valued over a billion dollars, like Uber and Airbnb, that have looked to going public after years of being privately operated, and protected from the markets.
We Work, however, is surrounded by questions as to whether or not the business will ever be profitable, thanks to enormous expenses, and a business model; renting out Commercial Office Fit Outs, which experts say is notably vulnerable to economic downturn compared to other businesses.
We Work published an internal memo, with the New York Times being granted a look, which had We Work co-founder Adam Neuman saying that going public would help the company realize its goal of moving forward into the next level, in all of its aspects.
Now officially listed as The We Company, We Work makes its money by renting out office spaces in high-activity cities, remodeling the spaces in the vein of Silicon Valley’s tech-company headquarters, plush aesthetics and all, then using customer date to subdivide the spaces and leasing them out on a monthly basis.
Thanks to funding from the Saudi-backed Softback Vision Fund, the company has expanded operations across the world at a notable rate, even as the company’s losses kept going up. Company revenue doubled between 2017 and 2018, from $886m to $1.8bn, but the company also lost a whopping $1.9bn, double than the preceding year.
As of mid-2019, We Work has a accrued a total of $8.4bn in debt and equity, with the majority of it from the Softbank Vision Fund. Since being founded in 2010, the company’s also managed to grow into the second highest-value private company in the United States, behind only Uber.