WeWork is the latest unicorn on the block with $969 million in funding and being valued at $10 Billion. It is the 11th most valued company of the world. Adam Neumann, founder of WeWork moved to USA in 2011 from Israel after serving as a navy officer in the Israeli military. The story of WeWork is one of extreme struggle, failure and finally hitting the right spot.
How was WeWork Started? The Story of Wework
Adam Neumann had started a baby clothing company in Brooklyn before starting WeWork. The company sold kid clothing with knee pads. Adam says he was putting his energy in the wrong directions while running this company. He was working in the same building where Miguel McKelvey worked at an architect firm.
They met often and found out that the building they were working from was partially vacant. They eventually got the idea of setting up a coworking space with basic features, upcycled furniture and renewed energy for budding entrepreneurs to work together. It was tough but they succeeded to convince the landlord of the building to start a coworking space called Green Desk. The business quickly took off.
Working on the present model of WeWork and scaling up
Neumann and McKelvey sold the Green Desk business to the landlord of the building and made a couple millions. They then went ahead and reiterated the coworking model in New York in 2011. Wework was then expanded all over the world. In total, WeWork has 54 coworking spaces in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, with additional international locations in London and Amsterdam, along with new locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliya in Israel.
What can Indian Startups learn from the story of WeWork?
The key takeaways that Indian startups can take from the story of WeWork are:
- Build a small prototype, reiterate what worked.
- Stick to the core value. For example in WeWork’s case, they stick to being green in some or the other aspect and keep affordable the major selling points.
- Community is the key in present times.
- Offering something for everyone can work. For example, Wework has many packages ranging from a day rental to yearly rentals.
Wework is on an expansion spree which shows coworking is a validated model globally. However, the debate remains that Coworking Spaces are mostly occupied by startups. The whole ecosystem might come tumbling down like a house of cards in case the startup market takes a downturn.
What do you all think?