With free coffee, sofas and glass partitions, WeWork has rocked the office culture and shook the real estate market. Ignoring questions about his business model, the New York company did not plan to give up.
In seeking fresh money, the group is preparing for an IPO and, according to the Wall Street Journal, is still looking at early July to borrow up to $ 4 billion to mark a little more in the world. "Coworking"shared office.
When installed in New York, a choice was quickly made for French startup CybelAngel, which moved several times in the WeWork network when expanded. Their current office is a corner room with basic furniture next to a small conference room, overlooking the mystical 5th Avenue.
"It's not cheaper" traditional professional room "But you don't have to commit to three years"said Jocelyne Attal, chief operating officer of CybelAngel in New York.
"Security, hospitality, respect for standards, cleanliness, we don't need to worry about anything"he said.
Breakfast Monday mornings and free Thursday night concoctions are welcome bonuses.
Deco for millennial
When the community emerged in 2010, the concept "Coworking" not new. But it has just grown in support of new technology, which allows it to work from anywhere, and the financial crisis, which forces many graduates of finance or creation to improve their technology. company.
"WeWork is the first to truly meet the demands of small entrepreneurs"said Alex Cohen, specialist in commercial real estate markets for Compass in New York.
At that place, all stewardships are maintained, from Internet connections to printers through households. And the decoration, a combination of bright colors, industrial design and ethnic fabric, attracts the attention of millennials.
The biggest companies, such as Microsoft, HSBC or Facebook, also allow themselves to be tempted. Companies with more than 500 employees now represent 40% of WeWork members.
Officially renamed the We Company in January, this group now operates 485 sites in 28 countries. Often the entire floor is modulated between private offices, public areas and individual cabins, landscaping, and sublets.
"Square meters are much more expensive than traditional offices"said Alex Cohen. "But we have to think in terms of people: we share offices at 4 or 5 but we also have access to meeting rooms, public areas, kitchens."
The owner's reluctance
The rise of society is not always seen with good eyes.
"There is reluctance among owners to rent to WeWork because they rent themselves for a relatively short period of time"said Cohen. If a recession occurs, the office will be empty.
Real estate market participants remember Regus's big mistake, currently a giant workspace and "Coworking" by the name of IWG, but it was almost out of business after the dotcom bubble exploded in 2001.
And there are still questions about the WeWork business model.
This, according to the latest estimates, is worth $ 47 billion while continuing to lose a lot of money: $ 1.9 billion in losses in 2018 with a turnover of $ 1.8 billion.
IWG has a turnover of almost twice as high as 2018, it is profitable and valued on the stock market … 4 billion dollars.
WeWork, which has invested in other sectors such as apartment rentals and education, is also known to have developed a "Creative accounting"said Alex Cohen.
And the financial maneuver of his manager, Adam Neumann, was sometimes horrifying, like when he personally invested in real estate and then rented it to WeWork.
Rest, said Alex Cohen, that "Demand for commercial real estate in cities like New York has been fully driven by coworkers in the last five years" and the owner "Forced to consider WeWork as an opportunity".