Believe it or not, WeWork is still in business after suffering a failed IPO, the CEO’s resignation, and a global pandemic in the span of a year and a half—not to mention the less-than-flattering Hulu documentary WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn.
Yes, the company—which at one point had the most real estate in Manhattan of any private company—seems to have survived what The New York Times called “an implosion unlike any other in the history of start-ups.”
According to TechCrunch, WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure set to work on a five-year turnaround plan in February 2020. Since then, the company has exited over 100 pre-open or underperforming locations, with more than 800 locations still open, according to the company’s website.
And even though WeWork's revenue dropped from $934 million in the third quarter of 2019 to $811 million in the third quarter of 2020, its net loss dropped from $1.2 billion to $517 million during the same period.
WeWork added new options to make its platform “as flexible as humanly possible.”
As part of its rebound, WeWork supplemented its existing membership plans with On Demand and All Access options to give customers more flexibility in booking work spaces, TechCrunch reported.
“What we’ve essentially done is un-bundle our space,” Prabhdeep Singh, WeWork’s global head of marketplace, told the site. “It used to be that the only way to enjoy our spaces was via a bundled subscription product and monthly memberships. But we realized with COVID, the world was shifting, and to open up our platform to a broader group of people and make it as flexible as humanly possible. So they can now book a room for a half hour or get a day pass, for example. The use cases are so wide.”
Singh also said, “Right now, we are in the largest work from home experiment I think we’re about to shift to the largest return to work experiment ever. We are just going to be very well-positioned.”
WeWork’s new CEO says the company is “on track” to be profitable later this year.
WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani, who took over command of the company in February 2020 following co-founder Adam Neumann’s exit, told Reuters in January 2021 that the company is making progress toward becoming profitable by the fourth quarter of 2021.
“It’s not my first time at a rodeo trying to turn around a company,” he said with a laugh. “And so, my job was to streamline the organization and streamline the real estate portfolio so that we could go to our path to profitability by Q4 2021. We’re completely on track.”
He also said, “We exited over a hundred locations, and again, you don’t read much about that because we did it in a win-win way with the landlords. We’ve written checks. We did it in an amicable manner.”
The news came as WeWork discussed a merger with a SPAC to go public, as The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. The newspaper added that a SPAC deal could value WeWork at $10 billion, which is far less than its $47 billion valuation in early 2019 but far more than its $2.9 billion valuation a little more than a year later.