WeWork files for IPO after losing $1.9 billion last year

Posted at 7:57 AM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 07:57:45-04

A WeWork office in New York City on July 19, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Money-losing tech companies like Uber and Lyft have struggled to win over investors since going public earlier this year. But that isn’t stopping WeWork from racing to Wall Street.

WeWork’s parent company, The We Company, publicly filed paperwork on Wednesday to raise $1 billion in an initial public offering. The amount is a placeholder and will probably be substantially higher.

The company is moving forward with its plans to go public despite losing a staggering $1.9 billion last year, according to its IPO prospectus, an unprecedented amount for a company about to go public. By comparison, Uber said it lost $1.8 billion in 2018 and Lyft lost $911 million.

The We Company continued to burn through money this year. In the first half of 2019, the company lost $904 million, a roughly 25% increase from the same period in the prior year. But its business is growing fast too. Revenue roughly doubled to $1.5 billion in the first six months of the year.

The company said in April that it had submitted confidential paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.

In addition to raising money from the public market, The WeCompany is also said to be looking to raise billions of dollars more in debt, according to multiple reports. The funds could help the coworking space provider continue its rapid expansion around the world even with its steep losses.

The New York-based company was founded in 2010 as WeWork by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey. It now offers coworking spaces in more than 100 cities around the world and ranks as one of the most valuable privately-held companies in the US. Investors have poured billions of dollars into the company and its incredibly broad — arguably vague — selling point of “community.”

Over the years, WeWork has tried to expand beyond its original business with ventures such as co-living (WeLive), health and wellness (WeRise) and education (WeGrow). In January, it rebranded itself as The We Company, which serves as an umbrella company to those various businesses.

The company has also been on an acquisition spree as it prepares to go public. It acquired workplace management software platform SpaceIQ at the end of July, office cleaning and management startup Managed by Q in April, and Euclid, which tracks and records movements in the office in February, to name a few.