WeWork has confidentially filed for an IPO.
The coworking behemoth’s parent company, The We Company, said Monday that it had submitted confidential paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.
At the end of March, The We Company released select financial results which showed that its revenue more than doubled last year to $1.8 billion. But it is still bleeding money: It also reported a $1.9 billion loss.
The New York-based company was founded in 2010 as WeWork by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, and it has made a name for itself as a global network of coworking spaces. It is one of the most valuable privately-held companies in the US, raising billions of dollars in funding on its selling point of “community.” SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate that’s been aggressively pumping money into Silicon Valley in recent years, is a major investor.
“This company is ready to become next Alibaba,” Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, once said of WeWork, comparing it to his famous investment in the Chinese e-commerce giant.
Over the years, WeWork has tried to foster community in ways that go beyond working — 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.
“I do not have an exact date or timeline to share with you, but I wanted you to know first that this process has started,” Neumann said in an email to The We Company staff obtained by CNN Business.
The company’s footprint currently spans 100 cities in 27 countries, up from 65 cities across 18 countries in 2017. It had more than 400,000 members in 2018, up from 186,000 members the year prior. Enterprise companies such as Microsoft and Bank of America make up a growing portion of its memberships.
Ahead of becoming a public company, We Company has been sweeping up startups to bolster its offerings.
Earlier this month, WeWork acquired Managed by Q, the office-services management startup. The deal was for around $200 to $250 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. The company’s largest acquisition to date is Naked Hub, a Chinese coworking startup. WeWork struck a deal to buy the company for about $400 million last April.
The confidential filing process lets a company privately file its registration statement, known as an S-1, with the SEC for review. This allows it to keep sensitive information out of the hands of competitors, customers and investors until it is closer to being ready to go public.
WeWork joins a horde of other unicorn companies — the term for privately-held startups valued at $1 billion or more — that expects to go public in 2019. Lyft (LYFT), Pinterest (PINS), and Zoom (ZM) have already made their Wall Street debuts, while Uber and Slack are expected to do so in short order.
At the end of his email to employees, Neumann shared a bit about how he sees the company’s place in the world:
“Partly due to technology and partly due to the times we live in, the world has never felt smaller and yet more people than ever are sharing that they feel alone. As one of the world’s largest physical networks, it is our responsibility to help lead the way and set the global example for people and corporations on how we should take care of each other and of our planet.”