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WeWork Case Study: A Fall From the Pinnacle of Success

Devashish Shrivastava

Here's a thorough WeWork case study briefing the history, business model, and the fall of WeWork from the pinnacle of success. WeWork is an American organization that gives shared workspaces to other companies and organizations.

Established in 2010, it is headquartered in New York City. WeWork oversaw 46.63 million square feet of space in 2018. WeWork structures and fabricates physical and virtual shared spaces and office administrations for people and companies. WeWork has over 700 locations in 38 countries for workspace.

In January 2019, the firm declared its plan to rebrand as "The We Company"; it was valued at $47 billion at that time. In that year, troubles started brewing for the company.

Adam Neumann left his position as the CEO and surrendered a greater part of ballot control in WeWork from 26 September 2019. WeWork also postponed its arranged securities exchange posting until the end of 2019 as issues began to arise in its corporate administration, valuation, and other business aspects.

On September 30, 2019, WeWork officially pulled back its S-1 documentation. The proposed IPO was thus delayed. The organization's valuation fell below $10 billion, not exactly the $12.8 billion it had raised since 2010.

How Was WeWork Founded? Rapid Expansion of WeWork Business Model of WeWork WeWork Business Growth WeWork IPO Failure Future of WeWork In India

How Was WeWork Founded?

In May 2008, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey started GreenDesk, an "eco-accommodating coworking space" in Brooklyn. In 2010, Neumann and McKelvey sold the business and began WeWork. Its first area was New York's SoHo district with halfway financing from Manhattan land designer Joel Schreiber who obtained a 33% stake in the organization for $15 million.

WeWork Founders - Neumann and McKelvey

By 2014, WeWork was considered "the quickest developing renter of new office space in New York", and was on track to turn into "the quickest developing tenant of new space in America. "During the monetary emergencies, there were these vacant structures and these individuals outsourcing or beginning organizations," Neumann told the New York Daily News.

"I knew there was an approach to coordinate the two. What isolates us, however, is community." WeWork collaborated with several organizations, including new businesses such as Consumer, HackHands, Whole Whale, Turf, Fitocracy, Reddit, and New York Tech Meetup. In 2011, PepsiCo put a couple of representatives in the SoHo WeWork, who went about as guides to littler WeWork part companies.

The first WeWork Labs opened in New York's SoHo in April 2011. WeWork Labs works as a startup hatchery , furnishing an open workspace to empower joint efforts among individuals who "don't have their business-related thoughts completely cooked."

WeWork Labs

Rapid Expansion of WeWork

The company had 51 cooperating areas in the US, Europe, and Israel in January 2015– twice the same number as it had towards the end of 2014.

On June 1, 2015, WeWork reported that Artie Minson, previous Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner Cable, would join the organization as President and Chief Operating Officer.

On March 9, 2016, WeWork declared that it raised $430 million in another round of financing from Legend Holdings and Hony Capital Ltd., pegging the organization at $16 billion at that time.

By October 2016, the organization had raised $1.7 billion in private capital. In October 2016, the organization reported its arrangements to open a fourth area in Cambridge/Boston region. It opened workspaces in Boston's Leather District and Fort Point in 2014.

On January 30, 2017, the Wall Street Journal composed that SoftBank Group Corporation is gauging speculation of well over $1 billion in WeWork Corporation, in what could be among the principal bargains from its new $100 billion innovation fund."

In April 2017, the organization began offering wellness classes in some of its areas and opened an exercise center at a New York location. In July 2017, the valuation of the organization came to around $20 billion .

WeWork Valuation from 2012 to 2022

Later that month, it was reported that WeWork would expand to China using $500 million contributed by SoftBank , Hony Capital, and different loan specialists to shape "WeWork China".

In September 2017, WeWork ventured into Southeast Asia through the acquisition of Singapore-based SpaceMob , and it put aside a financial limit of $500 million to develop in Southeast Asia, the home of more than 600 million people. The association's top rival in China is Ucommune, the main Chinese unicorn in the coworking space.

In late October 2017, WeWork purchased the Lord and Taylor Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan from the Hudson's Bay Company for $850 million. The arrangement incorporated the use of floors of certain HBC-claimed retail chains in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, and Germany as WeWork's shared office workspaces . The deal was formally finished in February 2019.

wework case study analysis

Business Model of WeWork

WeWork was established in New York in 2010 to offer cooperating spaces to business visionaries, new businesses, specialists, and enterprises. WeWork has developed quickly, making it one of the biggest and most obvious cooperating chains on the planet.

It presently has representatives in over 700 areas around the world, incorporating stations in many U.S. urban areas and 38 nations that include Brazil, Germany, and Thailand.

How Does It Work

Superficially, WeWork's business model resembles a moderately ordinary land play. Over the 700+ areas it operates in, everybody from solo business people to enormous organizations can lease everything from a work area to a private floor. WeWork is not the same as your normal land organization — it conveys an incentive to the inhabitants and the landowners.

WeWork gives its occupants something that is conventionally elusive, an on-request adaptable space with momentary leases (even on a month-to-month premise at times). This takes care of the problem of continuous shifting, one that affects developing businesses.

The process of shifting involves finding another office space, moving in, marking a long-haul rent, rebuilding the space , and moving out to begin everything once more elsewhere.

At the point when an organization exceeds its WeWork participation, it can move up to a progressively extensive alternate space, a private office, or even a private floor — diminishing erosion from changes. Clients don't need to consider all the particulars of leasing office space, and they gain admittance to a lot of office advantages (free espresso, quick web, etc).

For landowners, WeWork offers huge incentives , including higher rents, an extended inhabitant pool, and increments in land esteem. In a blog entry distributed in 2018, the organization announced lease premiums between 15-29% in structures it managed in New York and Los Angeles. WeWork claimed a generation of $250 million in extra income for proprietors in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles alone.

Space Used by WeWork

WeWork feels managing a business workspace is an intense issue regardless of how enormous (or little) your association is— and it's once in a while a center competency. Consultants and the employees of nascent stage companies don't have the financial backing to pay for office space, and end up telecommuting or working out of some stop-hole arrangement.

A below-standard working space could restrain joint effort and profitability. Small and medium-sized organizations battle with spending requirements and restricted assets, and development directions can make space needs a moving objective.

Venture associations face close consistent strain to cut expenses and increment productivity — land and activity costs can be a difficult barrier to cross. WeWork positions itself as the answer to these issues. By giving turnkey, versatile workspace arrangements, the organization vows to wipe out the contact associated with finding, involving, and dealing with a workspace.

Consultants and new companies get the advantages and preferences of having an office space without the expenses and obligations that accompany it. Small organizations get adaptable, reasonable space alternatives that can be reconfigured as needed.

WeWork rents a couple of floors of a structure from a property director in a high-thickness urban zone. It revamps the space to incorporate a blend of private workplaces, meeting rooms, parlors, and open workspaces.

It adds additional facilities such as espresso, office supplies, and brew on tap. WeWork pivots and leases workplaces to a blend of specialists, solopreneurs, new companies, and huge organizations.

WeWork essentially fits a larger number of bodies into its spaces than a run-of-the-mill corporate office. The normal per-individual office space in the United States is just shy of 200 square feet, as indicated by the US General Services Administration.

WeWork individuals can anticipate under 100 square feet. WeWork does this without yielding specialist profitability or fulfillment. Indeed, a central guarantee at WeWork is that its spaces are deliberately intended to cultivate greater efficiency and more development.

Services Added With Value by WeWork

Another factor adding to WeWork's guarantee of "greater profitability, more development" is the worth-added administrations the organization offers to individuals. In 2018, it relaunched WeWork Labs, a hatchery-style program for new companies planned for helping them develop their business.

In February 2019, the organization reported a redo of the WeWork application, complete with new ability-sharing highlights planned for making it simpler for clients to discover, interface, and team up with different individuals.

Once individuals enter the WeWork environment, it becomes hard for them to leave owing to the benefits. The organization's open recording archives report a net enrollment consistency standard of 119%.

WeWork Space

WeWork's developing exhibit of significant worth included administrations — going from espresso and office supplies to showcasing programming and an administrations commercial center — push it past a basic landowner into a sort of full-administration proficient "hatchery" where an individual can arrange, and develop their business, adopt new abilities, and have the everyday details of dealing with a workspace dealt with.

On the off chance that an organization or individual moves to another city, there will be another WeWork space sitting tight for them . If a vital accomplice or specialist organization is required, WeWork can help find the ideal option. What's more, as the organization develops from a little startup to a large organization, WeWork's administration scales to keep up with the upgrade.

Analysis of Data

An essential piece in the WeWork ecosystem is the utilization of information. WeWork has for quite some time been utilizing information to advise participating organizations on areas, where they ought to be set, and what the blend of workplaces, workspaces, and courtesies should be like.

WeWork started to create products out of its information capacities with the "space-as-an-administration" offering "Powered by We". Presented in 2017, Powered by We denotes a critical change for WeWork.

Earlier, WeWork's administrations were limited to the spaces that it involved. Through Powered by We, the organization started to grow its range outside its leases into the organization's current spaces.

This has a one-two-punch impact, empowering the organization to order the more significant expenses that accompany serving endeavor customers, while simultaneously shedding one of its most noteworthy wellsprings of both expense and hazard — the leases themselves.

Share of Workspace

The common workspace level is the least worth offering that WeWork has — not the organization's most beneficial part, but a significant establishment for what's worked above it.

These mutual workspace collaborations are what many pictures when they hear the words "cooperating space." Members come in every morning and either snatch any accessible work area space in a typical zone if they have what WeWork alludes to as a "sweltering work area" enrollment or, for $100 or so extra a month, settle in at their very own committed work area in the common workspace.

As indicated by the WeWork site, these common workspaces are intended for new businesses and little organizations, specialists, advisors, and telecommuters. Hot work area participation starts at $190 every month and can reach upwards of $600 in costly urban communities like San Francisco. Committed work areas run from $300 to $700.

Central Station by WeWork

The level above office suites, central station by WeWork will be WeWork's "white name" answer for big business customers. Instead of setting the organization up with a space inside a current WeWork premise, the central station is set up in independent areas sourced by WeWork in an area of the customer's decision.

Customer organizations pick one of four "configurable designs," running from an open warm-up area to official suites. Customers also pick inner staff to oversee everyday tasks for their area, with WeWork taking what the site alludes to as an "in the background" job.

WeWork Labs

A striking case of how WeWork uses esteem-added administrations to draw organizations into the WeWork system comes as WeWork Labs. WeWork Labs is WeWork's "worldwide development stage" — an in-house startup hatchery that enlarges the central WeWork workspace offering extra highlights, including devoted program directors, week-after-week occasions, pitch evenings, workshops, and financial specialist presentations.

Relaunched in 2018, the program is at present offered in more than 700 areas — 154 in the United States and others in significant urban communities over the world, incorporating Brazil, China , Israel, Singapore , the UK , and Thailand, among others.

The organization said 1,000 new businesses have been brooded through the program as of December 2018.

The key factor that separates WeWork Labs from other startup quickening agents is the plan of action; instead of the standard hatchery model of taking value in the business, WeWork Labs charges a level expense, basically an up-charge to what the startup would some way or another compensation for space at WeWork.

Costs for the program's US areas go from $300 - $600 every month. There's a key measurement to WeWork Labs too as effective organizations move on from the program and develop into undeniable organizations, they become potential clients for WeWork's growing suite of administrations.

wework case study analysis

WeWork Business Growth

The We Co., the American firm which works collaborating office spaces under the WeWork brand, has posted vigorous income development in India, even as it reels under huge misfortunes universally, demonstrating the organization's first open administrative recording.

We Co. posted an overall deficit of around $689.7 million and an income of $1.54 billion in the initial half-year of 2019. According to a report by Reuters, it is hoping to raise $3-4 billion through the first sale of stock (IPO), which is probably going to be propelled in September this year.

Since its entrance in India in 2016 through an organization with Bengaluru-based Embassy Group, WeWork has been forcefully extending its impression. At present, its services are available in over 40 locations in 6 cities.

Internationally, We Co. is available in over 700 areas in 38 nations. According to the recording, the organization earned $3.5 million in the executive's expenses in the half-year finished on June 30, enlisting a 118% bounce from $1.6 million in the year-back period.

In January 2019, the organization's valuation was expressed as $47 billion, however by September when an IPO was arranged and deferred, the valuation was decreased to $10-12 billion.

Throughout the final quarter of 2019, WeWork's evaluated market capitalization has kept on falling to a limited extent because of various examinations of Neumann's conduct and strategic approaches.

In 2018, WeWork's misfortunes and income both multiplied. As per the Financial Times, the organization lost $219,000 every hour of every day from March 2018 to March 2019 .

As of December 20, 2022, WeWork's net worth is $1.03 billion only a drop from $21.76 billion (2021).

WeWork Income Statement from 2017 to 2021

WeWork IPO Failure

In January 2019, WeWork declared that it would move into a two-story structure in Tampa Heights in 2020 as a component of its venture into Tampa.

On April 29, 2019, WeWork was documented privately for an IPO . On July 18, 2019, Wall Street Journal detailed that Adam Neumann sold $700 million of his WeWork stock before its IPO. The organization was hoping to raise over $3.5 billion from its IPO.

The We Company recorded S-1 desk work to go public. Media inclusion featured the organization's overwhelming misfortunes uncovered by the S-1 documenting disclosures, while experts communicated apprehensions over WeWork's capacity to end up productive later on. The IPO unveiled that WeWork faced $2 billion in losses in 2018.

Smartkarma, an expert on speculation research expressed, "We can't understand the reshaping's that would be important to verbalize a way to gainfulness here," and noted it didn't anticipate that the organization's valuation should go beyond $20 billion.

Future of WeWork In India

WeWork India has its services available in over 40 locations in 6 cities with over 62,000 members occupying over 5 million square feet of space.  

WeWork India

Since the dispatch of the American shared workspaces supplier in India, the Bengaluru-based Embassy Group had put $181 million into the WeWork partner. The target at present is the six main markets in the nation, including Bengaluru and Mumbai.

The raising support plans come amid discussion around WeWork's first sale of stock. WeWork's parent, The We Company, pulled back its IPO seven days after the SoftBank-backed adaptable office startup removed author Adam Neumann as its CEO.

"Despite everything, we keep up a great association with WeWork all-inclusive and will hold the brand," said Karan Virwani, chief of WeWork India.

The organization had hold of the establishment for WeWork in India till the end of 2021. It might want to hold onto the brand; however, WeWork holds the main right of refusal and can purchase out the Indian Realty designer.

International Haven Group had paid around $200 million for the establishment two years prior. The Realty conglomerate holds an 80% stake in the establishment.

Independently, Embassy Group intends to concentrate on business, modern, collaborating, and co-living portions to grow its impression in the nation.

Does SoftBank still own WeWork?

Yes, Softbank holds about 65% of the equity in WeWork .

What happened to Adam from WeWork?

Adam Neumann resigned from the position of CEO and gave up majority voting control in 2019.

Can WeWork be profitable?

It is hard to tell that WeWork will be profitable ever. The company has a negative cash flow. According to WeWork's initial-public-offering disclosures, its losses are running ahead of its revenue. WeWork is not profitable on its preferred metrics either.

What is the problem with WeWork?

The problem is it has a negative cash flow. According to WeWork's initial-public-offering disclosures, its losses are running ahead of its revenue. WeWork is not profitable on its preferred metrics either. Also, its whole business model is flawed with excessive leverage.

Does WeWork make money?

WeWork expects revenue of around $5 billion in 2022. On other hand as of December 20, 2022, WeWork's net worth is $1.03 billion only a drop from $21.76 billion (2021).

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Wework case study

Case study: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

With this WeWork case study, we will learn how the most prominent unicorn of this era once valued at $47bn and backed by the big players… Take a look at us on

This era’s most prominent unicorn, the co-working space company WeWork backed by Soft Bank was once valued at $47bn – the highest valuation a start-up with so less proof of concept had received. Everything was great until the Wall Street Journal published an explosive article about the company’s management and past accounts of the founder Adam Neumann. These past accounts included heavy drinking, drugs, and emotional instability when it comes to management. When the IPO was declared and the numbers were revealed, that was it – both for him and his company.

Case study: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

This negative publicity led to a delay in the IPO when the investors around the world deterred from investing in the company even when the company dropped their valuation to a mere $10bn – $12bn slashing its earlier valuation by 75%! To understand why this happened, let’s first understand how the company rose where it rose.

The Rise of WeWork:

WeWork was started by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey (who is an architect). The idea hit when Adam’s landlord was showing him some places in a building when he thought of sub diving that space and they started their first company called GreenDesk, which they sold. And in 2010 they started WeWork in New York. The company had their first building in New York and in only a year, they doubled in size and after this, they only kept rising.

Their earlier investors included some individual real estate individuals and their very first investment came from a venture capital firm called Benchmark. And because of this support and the entry of new investors, the company kept on growing and by 2015 it quadrupled its valuation to nearly $10bn with the investment of only $500mn in the company. The reason behind this was the buzz that the company carried, the founder on multiple occasions mentioned how people coming from different places working together in a community can inspire innovation – which led young entrepreneurs to use WeWork as a platform to expand their companies because they saved a lot on office spaces now. This buzz often pushed the investors to invest in the buzz rather than in the fundamentals of the company.

The entry of Softbank:

In 2017, Softbank invested in the company owing to the great relations Andy Neumann had with Masa, the Japanese Softbank executive, Masa was impressed by Adam’s energy. Between 2017 and 2018 Softbank invested around $8bn in WeWork, it is now when the valuation of the company really took off – WeWork was now valued at $20bn. In 2019, Softbank invested another $2bn in the company and with this investment, WeWork expanded globally – they had 485 locations around the globe and their valuation doubled again to $47bn.

Case study: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

This is where the investors started to suspect. IWG (another co-working company), who was similar or better than WeWork in every aspect (see the table below) except for the valuation. WeWork was valued 13 times higher than IWG! It was about time the investors realized that the company was a bubble and finally it burst.

Case study: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

The fall of WeWork:

While WeWork was growing it started investing in small companies and in reality, these investments seemed like a waste of the investors’ money in the activities that were not related to the company. For example, Adam Neumann invested in an “indoor wave-making” company while surfing with the owner.

Things went south in August 2019 when WeWork announced that they will be filing for an IPO and it was during this time when investors actually got the data about the internal finances of the company. WeWork thought that the investors would just buy into the “buzz” logic and the IPO would be a hit, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The prospectus also mentioned that the company CEO Adam Neumann who personally had the trademark of “We” sold it back to the company for $5.9mn, and when the founder is trying to get loose of his company assets, we know something is wrong. This hinted to the shareholders that the company leadership was trying to make themselves money rather than investing it for the company.

The prospectus also reported huge losses in the past few months which said something was wrong with the valuation and working of the company. The investors deferred from showing interest in the IPO even after the company’s valuation was dropped down to 10-12bn and in September 2019, the much-awaited IPO was postponed indefinitely.

Case study: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

Adam Neumann’s Resignation:

The board was very uncomfortable with this perception of WeWork in the market and in the same month, Adam Neumann resigned: in fact, along with the other board members he voted himself out. Two senior executives of WeWork (Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson) were now assigned as Co-CEOs. Their new plans for the company included closing down of the WeWork elementary school (WeGrow), thousands of layoffs, and selling off the private jet of Adam Neumann.

Even after the election of these new co-CEOs, there was new word around the town that the co-CEOs secured themselves a hefty severance package at a time when the company had no money to pay its employees. After all this fiasco, Softbank came to the company’s rescue (bailout) – it injected $9.5bn into the company barely saving it. However, the company was now only valued at a mere $8bn of valuation.

Current picture:

The new WeWork executives have been striving towards making the company one of the biggest co-working space around the Globe. However, the approach this time around is to keep profitability in check and growth a little slower if need be. The new chairman – Marcelo Claure – said that he wants the company to be cash-flow positive by 2023 and he announced a six-point plan in order to achieve this.

Follow us here for real interesting upcoming cases.

(A similar thing happened during the dot-com bubble, read here .)

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wework case study analysis

WeWork Company: Case Study Analysis

Introduction, internal and external analysis of wework, wework’s clients, wework’s strategy and its weakness, factors challenging wework’s future viability, recommendations, works cited.

The business strategy and business model of any company determine its development, profit, and future opportunities. At the same time, the strategy must be strengthened and adapted according to the requirements of the time and the competitive market for the company to maintain its position. This paper will examine the WeWork case study to identify problems and challenges for the company’s development and propose recommendations and changes to overcome them.

WeWork is one of the companies that has demonstrated that innovation and market understanding can bring rapid business growth. WeWork calls itself a partly true technology company, but it is more a real estate company. The primary service of WeWork is the provision of offices to small, medium, and large businesses in many cities around the world. The main feature of WeWork’s business model is its approach to its operation, since initially the company rented premises in buildings, improved them, and then rented them out as offices, making a profit (Brandwein and

Niessing 10). At the same time, the feature that attracted customers is that the office space is optimized for employees and has everything they need, from a comfortable workspace to beer in the kitchen and a ping-pong table. At the same time, the tenants did not worry about ensuring the office’s work, since all organizational issues, such as connecting the Internet or purchasing coffee, WeWork also tool for itself (Brandwein and

Niessing 10). These features allowed the company to scale up its operations and generate significant profits in a short time.

Like any company, WeWork has its strengths and weaknesses, as well as external threats and opportunities; thus, the SWOT analysis will be used for the company’s internal and external analysis. The case study demonstrates that the company has several strengths. First, WeWork offers a unique “vibing” atmosphere, design, and office provision that satisfy all the member’s needs (Brandwein and Niessing 6). Secondly, WeWork performs the functions of an office manager, which allows a company that rents an entire office not to waste efforts to provide the office with necessary items. Thirdly, WeWork offers various solutions for different types of business, from renting a workplace by one entrepreneur or freelancer to organizing several floor offices for a large corporation. Fourth, the company uses technology and machine learning to design workspaces and use space more efficiently and cost-effectively (Brandwein and Niessing 15). In addition, WeWork takes into account the interests and needs of clients according to the direction of their work and can organize an office of any specificity, for example, a call center. Consequently, this customer focus allows WeWork to retain and receive new customers and profits.

However, WeWork also has some disadvantages, such as a lack of privacy and high prices. Firstly, the prices for renting the offices of WeWork are pretty high, especially if a single entrepreneur wants to occupy an office (Brandwein and Niessing 7). Such a price is justified for all the services that WeWork offers; however, it may be too high for freelancers or small businesses. In addition, since most offices are designed with glass walls and open space, the lack of privacy and noise may not satisfy clients. However, the company usually offers options of closed or private offices that can address this complaint (Brandwein and

Niessing 6). Nevertheless, these disadvantages are the company’s characteristics, which exist as consequences of its numerous advantages. At the same time, the case study does not point to any internal obstacles to the company other than the need to maintain authenticity in the face of significant company growth (Brandwein and Niessing 16). This feature can also affect the organization, structure, and communication of employees since they are divided into multiple offices in dozens of cities.

Consequently, the company’s main opportunities are to expand the business according to the original idea of ​​the creators. Neumann planned to develop other similar to WeWork projects for hotels, boutiques, cruise ships, and banks (Brandwein and Niessing 2). The availability of capital makes such initiatives possible, although they differ significantly from workspaces and, therefore, require careful analysis and planning. Another more profitable opportunity is creating and deepening services WeWork to offer unique options that competitors cannot provide. Since most of WeWork’s competitors offer similar conditions for customers, the development of new options and approach can give the company a competitive advantage. At the same time, the main threats are associated with high competition in this area and the demand for services. First, since WeWork has many competitors, there is always a threat that some kind of innovation and marketing will help them outperform the company. Secondly, there is a threat of a decrease in demand for offices in general due to economic instability, technological development, or, as the last year has shown, the epidemiological situation. Therefore, the company needs to strengthen its current position but not develop other areas.

The core of WeWork’s work is that it signs long-term leases or buys premises and then modernizes them according to the target audience’s needs. For this reason, WeWork has different categories of clients and various offices for them. Firstly, clients are freelancers or aspiring entrepreneurs who rent a table or office in a co-working. Another category is small businesses that occupy part of the office and share it with other companies. In addition, large companies that require offices spanning multiple floors are also WeWork’s customers. Thus, all categories of clients have similar needs for a convenient place to work, and space for team meetings and breaks, but they can also have specific requirements depending on the direction of work. WeWork can meet most of these needs by adapting shared offices or re-making offices due to the requirements of corporate clients.

This overview demonstrates some of the features that determine the company’s strategy. One might note that, according to Porter, the WeWork business model manifests itself as operational efficiency but not a strategy. The company offers clients the same services as its competitors but performs them better, providing modern design, supply of office equipment, and paying attention to detail (Nirgudka). However, the fact that WeWork uses machine learning and technology to plan their offices demonstrates the difference. This feature allows the company to understand the needs of its customers better, as well as to increase the efficiency of the use of space. Hence, the strategy of WeWork has needs-based positioning, which, however, has its drawbacks (Nirgudka). The main problem with WeWork is that almost all of its services are also provided by competitors; consequently, WeWork’s strategy is unsustainable.

According to Porter, the fit is one of the aspects that helps ensure the sustainability of the strategy, since it is more difficult for competitors to repeat interlocked activities than individual ones (Nirgudka). However, almost all features of the WeWork work have the first-order fit; that is, the activities coincide with the main strategies (Nirgudka). For this reason, while Big Data is used primarily by WeWork today, competitors will be able to repeat this approach and take the company’s competitive advantage.

Analysis shows that WeWork’s future viability is challenged by such factors as strategy sustainability and external threats. First, the first-order fit creates an environment in which the company has little difference from its competitors, and they can replicate its features. At the same time, the rebranding of WeWork into The We Company and the expansion of its area of ​​work to WeLive and WeGrow demonstrate that the company will probably not deepen its strategy of providing office spaces (Brandwein and Niessing 6). This approach threatens the loss of profits from WeWork, which should cover some of the costs of new projects. At the same time, although the case study was published in 2019, it is also worth noting that the events of 2020-2021 jeopardized the sphere of tourism and co-working due to quarantine restrictions. Consequently, competition has increased due to a lack of demand as many companies have switched to remote work or closed. Hence, it is too risky for a company to invest in projects like WeLive.

The factors defined above help determine the following recommendations for the development of WeWork or The We Company after rebranding. First, the company should focus on deepening and developing options for WeWork initiatives to make the strategy more sustainable. The company’s significant capital, as well as the availability of technology tools, allow WeWork to offer new options and office formats for companies or freelancers that require it. At the same time, the company can strengthen its position by using more expensive options that are not available to its competitors and applying the second-order fit and the third-order fit to offer unique working conditions for members (Nirgudka). Such changes will be especially relevant in connection with the new requirements for public places due to the pandemic. However, there is also another option to save profits, which, however, requires drastic changes. The company could, as planned, move to the WeGrow project, which aims to create elementary schools and coding academies (Brandwein and Niessing 6). However, such a transition requires significant investment, precise planning, and risk assessment as the project failure could result in the bankruptcy of WeGrow and WeWork if the company intends to maintain both directions.

Therefore, the analysis demonstrates that WeWork has many strengths that attract customers; however, the company’s strategy is not very different from its competitors. Consequently, the main challenges for the company are to improve the sustainability of the strategy, which will help it gain a competitive advantage. In this case, the solution option is the development of new functions and features to improve the work of the offices that the company offers to its clients and straighten the fit of the strategy. This approach will allow the company to resist external threats and maintain its position in the market, while the planned expansion of the company’s area of activities can threaten the failure of current and new projects.

Brandwein, Nancy and Niessing, Joerg. “WeWork – Service Excellence Through Business Model Innovations: Creating Outstanding Customer Experience by Leveraging Data, Analytics and Digital Technologies.” SMGT 3000 R Course Kit , edited by Charles McMillan, York University, 2021, pp. 5-20.

Nirgudka, Aarti. “Porter, M. E. 1996. What is a strategy? Harvard Business Review: 61-78.” Management And Accounting Web , 2002.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 30). WeWork Company: Case Study Analysis. Retrieved from

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Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann

Why WeWork went wrong

The office-space startup took a tumble when investors tired of its messianic CEO and lack of profits. But why were its backers – the House of Saud among them – so keen to pour billions into it in the first place?

I t’s so easy to focus on Adam Neumann, the tall, long-haired, barefoot, meat-banning, weed-smoking, tequila-drinking, Kabbalah-studying, experimental school-opening Paltrow-cousin-in-law and founder and now deposed chief executive officer of the We Company, the real estate company that dropped “Work” from its name after it bought the copyright for the word “We” from Neumann himself.

Neumann’s ambitions were as ludicrous as his persona. “Rather than just renting desks,” Fast Company reported in January, “the company aims to encompass all aspects of people’s lives, in both physical and digital worlds.” This included expanding the WeWork model to residential housing and education. Before Neumann had even started the company, he had envisioned “WeSleep to WeSail to WeBank”. While none of these will ever be realised, perhaps he was right to think beyond office space subleasing. The company as he had built it is in crisis.

Everything went wrong for WeWork soon after it publicly filed documents for an initial public offering of shares, on 14 August. Six weeks later, Neumann had voted to remove himself from the CEO job and given up his majority control of WeWork’s stock. The company’s proposed valuation had fallen by more than half, and the IPO had been called off entirely. The failed IPO and the company’s subsequent takeover by SoftBank, its largest investor, were both facilitated by the public exposure of long-known information: WeWork was losing a ton of money; its projections of the size of the market for shared office space (up to $3tn) were wildly optimistic (it counted anyone who worked at a desk in an American city where there was a WeWork as a potential “member”; in non-US cities with WeWorks, the estimate applied to anyone with an office job); and its corporate culture and strategy were completely in hock to Neumann and his family’s bizarre ideas and whims.

The company’s business model had been known to be expensive and have little path to profitability since at least 2015, when BuzzFeed first published documents WeWork had used to solicit investors. Neumann’s weird behaviour, meanwhile, had been part of the sales pitch from the very beginning. What seemed to make this year’s WeWork stories different, and more damaging, was the addition of alleged self-dealing and self-enrichment by Neumann to the core model of leasing office buildings, transforming them into “shared” workspaces, providing free beer to tenants, and then counting on a rotating cast of freelancers, venture-funded startups and some larger corporations to pay rents that could be as short as a month at a time. But Neumann’s propensity to sell stock and lease buildings he partially owned back to WeWork wasn’t news either – it was exposed by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, before the trouble started.

The more sceptical sections of the financial press have always had WeWork’s number, even when the company’s footprint and valuation were soaring. In 2017, the Wall Street Journal’s indefatigable Neumann correspondent Eliot Brown described “A $20 Billion Startup Fueled by Silicon Valley Pixie Dust”. It was all there: his casual transubstantiation of office space subleasing into something more like software (he had told investors they were buying into a “physical social network”), as well as the doubts from anyone who knew about his actual business – real estate – that the company was worth $20bn, let alone the $47bn it was valued at in its last round of private fundraising, let alone the more than $100bn Morgan Stanley reportedly told the company it could be worth.

What happened since August wasn’t the consequence of the kind of investigative journalism that felled Theranos , or the long-foreshadowed public tumble of an Uber. It was more akin to the kind of frenzied group condemnations that emanate from Twitter every so often. Widely known facts were re-aired in a new climate. What was once amusing or somewhat confusing was now, in a new light, merely horrifying. But this time, instead of hopped-up teenagers hurling moralistic condemnation at mediocre TV shows, it was middle-aged men condemning a 220-page financial statement on Twitter, in real time.

Like a film-maker caught in an unanticipated critical maelstrom, WeWork and Neumann tried hard to swim against the current. There was the eventual partial compromise to stem the tide of ill will, when Neumann finally returned to WeWork the $6m or so he got for the name “We”. But that didn’t help the valuation. Nothing did. Bankers proposed cutting the company’s value by more than 50% until the capitulation became final. By 24 September, Neumann was out of his job and the WeWork show was pulled off air. There would be no debut, no whirring of computers at Nasdaq’s New Jersey servers. Now the company is majority owned by SoftBank at a valuation of $8bn, well short of the $13bn that’s been put into it.

P ast exposés of WeWork’s kooky business practices and sunny projections had relied on documents distributed to potential venture investors. When WeWork turned to the bond market last year to borrow hundreds of millions, it had to deliver some more revelations. What the investor documents showed, amid all the fantastical profit projections, was that in 2017 WeWork had lost $883m, despite having some $886m in revenue. A leak to the Financial Times revealed that in 2018 the company managed to lose $1.9bn on some $1.8bn of revenue.

Throughout all this, Neumann was being Neumann. His private jet trips may have involved some incidental transportation of marijuana across international borders, his wife may have fired employees for their bad vibes , and the company may have ended a meeting announcing layoffs with a performance by a member of Run-DMC.

A WeWork co-working space in Washington DC

But Neumann’s leadership and loose corporate culture wasn’t all surfing in the Maldives, guitar-shaped houses and expensive experimental schools, according to one lawsuit. A former WeWork employee alleged last year in a civil case that she was groped or forcibly kissed at corporate events, including at an alcohol-fuelled WeWork “Summer Camp”, and that her complaints resulted in little attention from human resources and little to no action against her alleged assailants. She was later fired.

“The sexual harassment and assaults of Plaintiff did not happen in a vacuum,” the employee’s complaint read. “They are product in part of the entitled, frat-boy culture that permeates WeWork from the top down.” The former employee specifically mentioned that during her job interview with Neumann, he served shots of tequila and that “company managers and executives heap immense pressure on employees to attend after-work events and place a premium on employees’ participation in the parties that WeWork sponsors”. The company said she had been fired for poor performance.

What transformed WeWork from an investor darling into a pariah didn’t belong to any predetermined boom-and-bust model, and it wasn’t about prosaic investor concerns, like future cash flows. According to the great Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine, WeWork’s downfall could only be explained in abstract terms. Something about what happened – and the speed with which it occurred – seemed unknowable.

Levine pointed out that at its peak valuation, WeWork was worth almost half the entire value of publicly traded US real estate investment trusts: “Nobody gets into venture capital because the best-case scenario is doubling their money.” Such returns would be far too small. “For WeWork, maximal office-landlording success would be kind of disappointing,” wrote Levine. More ambitious schemes were required. If you could somehow build a company that included micro-apartments, software and schools, then, sure, why not? Maybe it really would be worth $100bn someday. Or, at least, if people as smart as WeWork’s venture capital investors bought into this, then surely the less sophisticated asset managers that buy into IPOs would, too.

That’s not how things worked out. Private investors are supposed to be long-term thinkers – especially SoftBank, which claims it wants “to create an ecosystem that will continue to grow for 300 years”. But WeWork’s investors folded quickly, suddenly demanding from the company the focus and discipline critics had been saying was missing for years. Maybe some of the more dour and anonymous asset managers expected the CEO of a nearly $50bn company to act like one, while his venture capital investors wanted him to maintain his overwhelming ambition.

But it was precisely those investors, SoftBank and the Silicon Valley venture firm Benchmark, that forced him out. What was strange was that they knew better than anyone that WeWork really did need to raise more money to address its endemic cash burning. Even Levine admitted to being a little stumped: “WeWork’s investors, particularly SoftBank, were there because of Neumann’s upside, his ability to sell a wild vision of WeWork as a transformative company that can dominate the world and justify a $47bn private valuation. And now, nah, never mind, office landlord.”

U nlike real estate booms past, WeWork’s subleasing spree won’t leave behind many monuments: no half-built skyscraper complexes in Kuala Lumpur, no pointless airports in rural Spain. Instead the money found its way into already existing infrastructure, made visible only by discreet signs or logos on windows scattered on office buildings in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston.

WeWork had consistently promoted itself as “asset light”: its buildings leased from developers, then, after being subdivided, rented out on a short-term basis. This lightness will stand out as WeWork’s true innovation, in two ways. The first was that by signing leases, as opposed to buying or even building, it could grow incredibly quickly, as long as it was able to raise enough money to cough up rent. It also built light. Contra its loudest critics, WeWork is more than just marketing, spin and pineapple water. It has used all of that atmospherical ephemera to convince workers – whether they’re freelancers or employees of fast-growing companies that can’t build out their own space quickly enough – that they don’t need as much space as they might have thought. One estimate puts WeWork’s square footage per “member” at around 50 sq ft, well short of the office average of 250. WeWork is thus able to charge high rents for substantially less space than its competitors.

But because of its pretensions to being a technology company, the offering to tenants is famously flexible: you can rent month to month and can easily expand or shrink your space according to your needs. For WeWork, this means that the revenue can vary substantially over a year. If there were ever a large drop in demand for flexible office space, WeWork would still have its own lease payments to contend with. In its company filings, WeWork placed its average lease length at 15 years and wrote that it was on the hook for some $47bn worth of payments, with only $4bn of revenue commitments from members. The company is essentially renting long and subleasing short, leaving itself exposed to the same risk as financial institutions that fund themselves with short-term borrowing while maintaining long-term funding commitments.

Adam Neumann at the opening bell ceremony at Nasdaq in New York, January 2018

A model this risky requires an unusual source of investment, and these days SoftBank is the most unusual of all. Or perhaps the second most unusual, after its own partner: the Saudi government. A year before SoftBank’s Saudi-backed Vision Fund poured $4.4bn into WeWork, in 2017, the Saudis invested directly in Uber. WeWork and Uber’s involvement with the Saudi government raised hackles in the press. For a while, before the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi , the two companies were able to pitch themselves as liberalising forces in Saudi Arabia, helped along by the government’s eventual announcement that women would finally be able to drive. But when the Saudis attempted to host a “Davos in the desert” investment conference soon after Khashoggi’s murder, several technology and finance executives dropped out. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s brutal purge of the Saudi elite investor class had not provoked much of an outcry from the American public and business class; neither had the brutal war against Yemen. The dismemberment of a journalist, overseen by some of the prince’s closest advisers, was different.

Khashoggi’s killing was so shocking and blunt that even SoftBank’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, was compelled to condemn it. But that was as far as Son went. He would stay in business with the Saudis because SoftBank had “accepted the responsibility to the people of Saudi Arabia … to help them manage their financial resources and diversify their economy”.

Late last year, SoftBank publicly listed shares in its core business, a Japanese mobile phone company, helping effect its transition into a company that primarily invests or owns other technology companies. These holdings include a stake in the Chinese e-commerce marketplace Alibaba, a wholly owned English semiconductor company, and US telecoms giant Sprint, as well as stand-alone funds for dozens of other bets, including the Vision Fund, whose biggest single investment was WeWork. The Fund is supposed to invest in “unicorns”, or in companies that are or will be leaders in their sectors. Typically these types of bets are supposed to be lower risk, because companies with valuations that high have businesses that are more or less … real. Though the fund is supposed to be yoked to Son’s 300-year vision, it also promises some investors 7% returns every year.

It is in this nexus – between the Japanese telecom company trying to turn itself into an investor betting on a global technology revolution, a cash-rich nation trying to diversify its economy and embed itself into non-energy global markets, and an ambitious entrepreneur trying to raise as much money as possible – that the WeWork mania and Neumann’s behaviour come into focus.

When it comes to Neumann, there are two diverging theories. In one telling, he let his ambition get ahead of his abilities to run a profitable business: he was simply taking what money was available and pouring it back into the company, trying to deliver the impressive revenue growth that venture capital investors supposedly want. In a different telling, suggested by another one of WeWork’s great chroniclers, the journalist Reeves Wiedeman, Neumann is the genius of this period of venture capital mania. His deal to give up control over the company in SoftBank’s acquisition of majority control over it only proves it further: the Japanese conglomerate is buying $1bn of WeWork stock from Neumann along with an $185m consulting fee and $500m in order to pay off a loan from JPMorgan – and, the Wall Street Journal reported , covering $1.75m he owed the company for using the company’s private jet for “surf vacations and other jaunts”. Neumann may have become a laughing stock, but he is a very rich laughing stock.

O ne of the great mysteries of modern finance is how to make money when you know there’s a bubble, or at least how to get much, much richer than everyone else. The obvious way is to bet against the bubble, but this is difficult, as its expansion can easily outlast one’s ability to finance the wager. It’s even harder if the bubble is primarily happening in the private markets, where it is very difficult, if not impossible, to directly bet against the fortunes of a company that you think is overvalued. What you can do, however, is try to find a way to soak up as much money as possible from optimistic investors and then furiously distribute it to yourself and your family, so that by the time things turn, you’re already rich.

And to properly pull this off, you would need to find investors with a lot of money that they felt obligated to spend. It was just as important for WeWork to serve as a parking place for Saudi and Japanese cash as it was to provide office space for burgeoning businesses. In the introduction to SoftBank’s most recent annual report, Son thanks shareholders for their support as “we continue to move forward, inspired by our belief in the power of technology to build a more connected, efficient, and joyful world, as expressed by our corporate philosophy: ‘Information Revolution – Happiness for Everyone.’” He goes on to hail the coming “AI Revolution, which is poised to redefine all industries – including education, health care, real estate and finance, as well as the advertising and retail sectors”. This revolution will, Son intends, be funded by SoftBank.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son delivering a press briefing on the company’s financial results in November 2019

The scale suggested by Son’s plan is massive – literally all industrial output for the rest of human history – and it has been matched by the Vision Fund, which raised almost $100bn, including a $45bn commitment from Saudi Arabia. But you still have to invest the money, or, as Son put it, “take the helm of a group of companies led by top AI entrepreneurs from all different fields, much like a preeminent orchestra made up of virtuosos on scores of instruments, and help them harmonise, while creating additional value along the way”.

To take Son’s logic seriously, if the entire world economy is going to be transformed by a set of emerging technologies, the investment opportunity is never too big. But just because an investment is justified by a theory about how technology will transform all production doesn’t mean there are enough companies actually pushing those changes to fund. One day you wake up and you’re funding on-demand dog walkers, indoor farming and an Indian hotel chain, to the continued bafflement of journalists and market observers. The private equity titan Stephen Schwarzman put it delicately when he told CNBC: “[Tech] often comes with no earnings, and so if you’re going to finance the expansion of an industry that often doesn’t earn anything, you’re going to need large amounts of money to the extent you’re a believer.”

Unlike traditional venture capital funds that might raise, at most, a few billion from wealthy families and pension funds, SoftBank needed to raise much, much more, because its strategy was different. When those traditional venture capital firms are confronted with a bizarre, failed investment, more often than not they will shrug it off, pointing out that their overall returns are overwhelmingly generated from a few hugely successful bets. This model is most effective with software companies, which require some startup capital to hire engineers and start selling a product, but then can quickly turn into highly profitable businesses as they find a market and mature.

But as the technology industry grew, the market for funding tech companies changed. Following the financial crisis, interest rates fell to rock-bottom levels, cash piled up on companies’ balance sheets and in the hands of the ultra-wealthy, and regulatory changes made going public quickly less attractive. Technology companies were able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from mutual funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other huge pools of capital when, 10 years earlier, they would have had to sell their shares to the public. But the resources and eagerness on the part of these funds – and the wealthy families that spent as lavishly – would come to mean what one might call over-investment.

While the cost of starting a traditional startup has plummeted thanks to cheaply available server access from Amazon, companies that, in the parlance of the industry, move “atoms” (stuff) instead of “bits” (code) can be ruinously expensive to run. Whether it’s the cost of leasing and building out new locations for WeWork, or the torrent of rider discounts and driver bonuses that Uber and Lyft pay out to start up new markets, these companies eat through investor cash for years in order to survive.

Looking backwards through the telescope, the mega-funding for app-based taxi-cab dispatchers and beer-distributing office subleasers makes more sense as a case of savvy operators creating landing zones for massive flows of cash, of demand for big “tech” investments creating a supply of them, which can then be sold as the next big thing. What distinguishes many of these companies, especially ones that have received investment from SoftBank, is their neither-fish-nor-fowl, real world/software nature, along with their insatiable need for capital. As popular business analyst Ben Thompson has argued, the Vision Fund may have confused companies that need lots of capital with companies that offer big opportunities, resulting in a “paucity of tech companies” in its portfolio and instead a collection of Wags and WeWorks.

S o why did the Saudi government want to pour money into companies selected seemingly almost at random by a charismatic and eccentric Japanese businessman? The resulting fit between the Saudis and Neumann was not just awkward for business reasons, but also cultural. Not because Neumann is Israeli, or likes weed and tequila, but because to a degree unusual even by startup-founder standards, WeWork had wrapped itself in gauzy rhetoric about its ability to change the world. This led to predictable tension when it turned out that the company’s biggest funder was Saudi Arabia, a country ruled by an authoritarian regime and where religious authorities still exercise tremendous control over everyday life.

But as is so often the case in the world of technology investment, what looks like a contradiction may actually be consistency. If WeWork couldn’t offer software-esque returns on investment, then it could offer all the superficial trappings of a technology company: spiritualist pablum about elevating global consciousness, a charismatic CEO with a fondness for giving talks with a microphone attached to his face, and an overall approach that sometimes appears to have started with the HBO satire Silicon Valley and then worked backward into an actual company. If Saudi Arabia wanted to more fully enmesh itself into the global economy, then it had to sign up for the pseudo-new-age bullshit on offer from some of its largest companies. For the companies – whose social liberalism often runs far ahead of the Republican party’s, let alone that of the House of Saud – SoftBank’s intermediary role offered plausible deniability. But, as Mohammed bin Salman put it himself, with admirable directness: “Without the PIF [Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund], there will be no SoftBank Vision Fund.”

In the old days – which is to say before 2017 – Saudi leaders were content for their relationship with the US to be relatively discreet. Ever the flashy millennial, Bin Salman wanted more attention, touring the US in 2018 and publicly wooing the most visible instantiations of the American imperium: technology executives, prominent journalists, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As part of his much-ballyhooed “opening” of Saudi Arabia, he even allowed an American movie to be screened on Saudi soil. The film told the story of an ambitious young king seeking to open up his rich but isolated country to the world: Black Panther.

The attempted diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy has occasionally veered off into farce, like when the government tasked western consulting firms with implementing Bin Salman’s dreams of a future city in the Arabian desert called Neom. (According to the Wall Street Journal, Neom would feature a beach that supposed to glow “like the face of a watch”, as well as a “robo-cage fight”, “one of many sports on offer”.)

If Neom and Bin Salman’s American grand tour were the most visible attempts in a wider plan to become something more than an oil supplier to the modern corporate technology world, then the cheque written to SoftBank is the downpayment. And if WeWork is what happens when capital is in the hands of resource-rich autocracies, futurist telecom executives and cash-rich mature companies, perhaps it can serve as a launching point for thinking about how capital would behave differently under the aegis of democratic control.

The “We” in WeWork was the customers working in the offices, living in the apartment buildings, and learning in the schools – not the people determining where any of this was built, and in what quantity. If money is indeed piling up on the balance sheets of large corporations and in the coffers of the Saudi treasury as proceeds for burning the planet – and if that money is ultimately at the disposal of a farseeing Japanese mobile phone mogul – one might ask if it could be managed differently if it were in the hands of, well, “We”.

A longer version of this article first appeared at

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Why is WeWork Failing (Case Study)

Vishal Gupta

Vishal Gupta

WeWork, the co-working space Start-up, that was once valued at $ 47 billion is now struggling to survive. It's failing & failing fast. What went wrong? Did it happen all of a sudden? Or, was the failure inevitable?

If you visit WeWork's website , you'll instantly be greeted by their tag line - "Revolutionize your workspace" & some pictures of their fancy interiors.

wework case study analysis

Impressive? Isn't it? A couple of years ago I too worked at a co-working space. And, let me tell you, look-wise & feel-wise they weren't even close to WeWork. The office spaces built by WeWork are simply gorgeous.

The WeWork Start Up Story

Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann & Miguel McKelvey, WeWork is a co-working real estate company. It's head office is located at New York. Right now, WeWork's office spaces are spread across 86 cities in 32 countries.

As of 2014, WeWork's investors included the following:

Yes, big names indeed.

Coworking means leveraging of common office infrastructure & facilities by several individual freelancers, startups or companies. So, what coworking companies like WeWork do is lease properties from landlords & renovate them into a coworking space. They then sub-lease the coworking space to freelancers, startups & companies.

The advantage of coworking for clients is lesser cost. Since the common infrastructure like printers, internet, cafeteria, kitchens, rest rooms are shared by many, the cost is lower as compared to leasing a full-fledged office facility.

Coworking isn't a new concept. In 2006 (before WeWork was born), Noel Hidalgo & Beka Economopoulus started the World's first coworking space in Williamburg, Brooklyn. It was later renamed as Brooklyn Coworking.

As per a stat , 2188 new coworking offices were opened in 2018. Out of which 1,000 were in the US alone. There're various smaller players in the coworking space but WeWork aim has always been to become the Uber of coworking industry.

But here's the twist: WeWork isn't just a normal coworking space. It's instead a deluxe or premium coworking space. As you can see in the above pictures, the interior & the feel at WeWork's offices are pure bliss. On top of that, WeWork's coworking spaces are generally located at high-end commercial locations.

The other advantage of coworking spaces is the community that comes with it. You can meet, network & collaborate with like-minded professionals. Also, these coworking spaces support start-up training & incubator programs.

Adam Neumann

WeWork is also known for its charismatic CEO (former CEO now) - Adam Neumann.

As WeWork's CEO, Adam was known for his aggressive vision, innovative ideas & fast execution. However, on 22nd September, 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that WeWork directors were insisting on Adam's resignation following his eccentric behaviour & drug use. The publisher further reported that Adam used his private jet to fly from the US to the Israel along with his friends & that Adam has wild dreams like "living forever", "building WeWork on Mars", etc.

One of the former employees of WeWork also complained of the "harassment" culture existing in the company. She was later fired for "poor performance".

Apart from these, Adam was also involved in various shady deals. I'll talk more about it later in this article.

WeWork's real breakthrough came when SoftBank invested $ 10.65 billion thereby soaring its valuation to $ 47 billion.

But, who's SoftBank?. Think of it like a company that holds/owns many other companies. It's a Japanese telecom conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo. SoftBank is known for its successful investments in the following companies:

Mayoshi Son, the founder of Softbank is a well-known face of the company. He's known for his incredible talent of spotting potential unicorn start-ups & investing heavily in them.

Softbank also runs a "vision fund" of $ 100 billion that's focused on investing on tech start-ups. The media reports say that the SoftBank is even planning on a "vision fund 2.0" of another $ 100 billion.

The Softbank vision fund of $ 100 has the following investors:

Very rightly, the Softbank's vision fund makes it the World's largest tech investor.

WeWork's Business Model

WeWork's business model is simple. Lease rental properties from landlords & sub-lease them to freelancers, remote workers, start-ups & companies.

So, how does WeWork generate money? Let's understand this with an example:

Assume WeWork leased a property with 5 floors from a landlord. The agreed lease price is $ 1.5 million a year. Now, WeWork renovates the property & sub-divides it into various products like hot desk, dedicated seats, conference rooms, private offices, lounge, kitchens, etc. WeWork markets the property & attracts a good number of its target users. Let's say 500 freelancers. Each freelancer is charged $ 300 a month (WeWork has tiered pricing structure. Let's take a fixed price for simplicity). So, the aggregate revenue WeWork gets from sub-leasing per year is $ 1800,000. The profit that WeWork makes from this property is $ 300,000 a year.

wework case study analysis

The business model I explained above is how WeWork planned it to work. However, due to various factors, WeWork still hasn't ever generated a profit. Instead, its losing money in billions. The reasons? I'll talk about it later in this post. Stay tuned.

WeWork generally selects high-end commercial plots for its products & renovates them from top to bottom. That practice surely shoots up the fixed cost considerably. And, not to forget other variable expenses that WeWork has to bear like staff, beverages, cleaning, internet, telephone, air conditioning, electricity, security, utilities etc.

WeWork's pricing is flexible. It largely depends on the type of product you want (hot desk, dedicated desk, or private office) & the location of the property. They also run a membership program that allows its members access to WeWork's properties from across the globe.

On its website, WeWork lists the following advantages of working from their properties:

WeWork also earns money by providing various ancillary services to its members or clients like:

If you'd like me to help you with your business, you can message me by clicking on the button below:

Reasons for WeWork Failure

Flawed positioning.

WeWork's positioning itself isn't demand-oriented. You need to understand a typical start-up's requirement. All what start-ups want is an affordable place to work from. Yes, community matters. Yes, coffee matters. Yes, a cool furnishing also matters. But, primarily, what a freelancer or a start-up wants is a dedicated yet affordable space where they can work from.

WeWork's major problem is its occupancy rate & average revenue per member. As per a stat , the occupancy rate of WeWork fell to 80% in 2019. And, the average revenue per member fell to $ 6,360 a year. Once, you've built a premium coworking space, you need to charge a premium price for it. However, if your target audience is fresh start-ups & remote workers, will you be able to charge those premium rates? So, what do you do? You lower your prices to attract as many members as you can. But, by losing money.

May be WeWork would do better if it focuses on high-end corporate clients. But, again, why would an established organization need a coworking space. Sure, they've the capital to lease & build their own space. Don't they?

Start-up Bubble

When it comes to business, I'm old school. I feel sorry when I see astronomical valuations of start-ups solely based on some "world-changing ideas". Ideas are cheap. They sound pleasing to our ears. But, how many start-ups really execute their ideas flawlessly?

As per a stat , 90% of the start-ups fail. Isn't it high time, we change the way we value our businesses? Isn't it time for VCs & Angels to invest in "real" businesses with "real" track records.

What's even more disappointing is that most of these start-up founder aren't serious when it comes to building a sustainable business. All they want is to pump up their valuation artificially & then exit by selling their shares for millions dollars.

Losing Enormous Money In Short Time

WeWork lost $ 2 billion in 2019 alone. Aggressive expansion, lower occupancy rate, charging basic rates for its deluxe properties, high lease costs, high operation or variable costs were some of the factors that contributed to its loss.

May be sometimes, its wise to simply slow down. WeWork isn't the first start-up to lose this kind of money. Most of these unicorn start-ups burn cash simply to acquire more users. Their flawed thinking says "Let's first get the customers, then we shall think about profit". But the problem is how long will you continue to lose money? And, how long will the VCs bail you out. At one point of time, you got to start generating positive figures.

And, with WeWork the issue isn't just acquiring users but also acquiring its lease properties.

Non-Scalable Business Model

A scalable business model is where you can increase your number of users or customers exponentially by keeping your fixed cost intact. Example: If Facebook acquires 1 million new users, it won't have to invest anything extra in terms of fixed costs. The salary or office rent it pays remain unaffected whether they've 1 user or 1 billion users.

On the other hand, the business model of WeWork is non-scalable. If WeWork wants to acquire next 1000 new users, it'll need a new property & will have to pay other fixed expenses associated with it like lease cost, salaries of staff, security, electricity, etc. The tangible nature of real estate makes it difficult to scale. Real estate isn't something you create simply by coding or programming. It requires huge efforts, time & money.

A better business model would be to simply connect the landlords with startups or freelancers & not lease or renovate the property directly. Similar to what Uber does with cars & Oyo does with hotel rooms.

Unit Economics

As I explained earlier, WeWork charges less than what it should from its members & clients. The reason being "growth". WeWork is focusing unilaterally on increasing its occupancy rate & users. Even at the cost of losing significant money.

Any business (new or old) only aim should to be serve its customers by generating a positive profit at unit level. Sure, initially, your investors can bail you out. But, the bigger questions is - for how long? And, with WeWork the problem gets deeper because of its deluxe positioning. I don't think start-ups & remote workers are in a position to pay that kind of price. There're many basic coworking spaces like Regus. Why won't they go there?

Aggressive Non-Vertical Expansion

WeWork started as a coworking space & rebranded itself as We Company. Then, they started various non-vertical segments like WeGrow (School), WeLive (Living), etc.

As per a media report, Adam Neumann had even envisioned something like "WeSail" & "WeBank" as well. What? Really? I mean who thinks like that.

The Charismatic Founder's Fancy Expenses

Adam Neumann's irresponsible work culture & fancy expenses were also some of the reasons why WeWork is struggling right now. In fact, those were the reasons why the directors asked Adam to step down as the company's CEO.

Softbank & Adam Neumann's Exit Deal

Adam resigned from WeWork on the following conditions:

Really? A CEO that resulted in $ 2 billion loss for the company in a year is being paid more $ 2 billion simply for an exit. Wow!

Shady Transactions

WeWork dropped the word "Work" & rebranded itself as We Company. And, you know the funny part? From whom did they buy the "We" copyright? From Adam Neumann himself. That too for a whopping $ 5.90 million. After wide spread criticism, he refunded back the money.

It was also noticed that Adam was renting his own personal properties to WeWork & earning the lease revenues. And, how did he get the money for those personal properties? By pledging his own WeWork shares to banks. Ouch!

Not A Proper Product-Market Fit

Now is the time everybody is talking about work from/at home. Why should I care about spending dollars at WeWork?

Meetings? I've Starbucks. Or even libraries.

Even if in case I need a coworking space, there're other coworking spaces (at not-so commercial locations) offering better pricing options. So, why WeWork?

Again I say, WeWork will need to reinvent its business model. They should start focusing completely on high-end & high-growth companies or start-ups.

Softbank's Backtracking On Its $ 3 Billion Bailout Package

In October, 2019 Softbank had agreed on a WeWork bailout package of $ 3 billion (buying shares from existing shareholders including $ 1 billion from Adam Neumann).

However, Softbank recently announced that they're not going ahead with the deal because many of the conditions on which the deal was based wasn't met. So, does that mean WeWork is over? Only time would say.

WeWork SWOT Analysis

Table of Contents


‘‘WeWork’’ is a real estate American company that provides the service of shared co-working space to freelancers, young tech companies, individual or group startups, big or small meetups, small and medium enterprises, and conference halls and professional meeting rooms. The main purpose of companies like WeWork is to provide young entrepreneurs and group startups inexpensive and economical shared co-working space, where they’d have an opportunity to meet and collaborate with entrepreneurs, tech startups, and other like-minded people for the common goal.

WeWork executes its business operation under the brand of parent company ‘The We Company,’ and it began executing its business operations in 2010. The company reached roundabout in 37 countries only within 10 years, and it had 848 worldwide shared workspaces by the end of 2019.

 The company, WeWork, offers services to its tenants at its spaces like split phone booths, office stationery, speedy internet connection, papers, printers and free snacks like drink, tea, and coffee.

The company’s head office is situated in New York City, New York, USA. It also goes by many brand names like; WeGrow, Rise by We, WeLive, WeWork, WeWork Labs.

Now, we should study the core strengths that made the company to progress so fast in a very short time. The potential weaknesses that could jeopardize the growth of the company; what opportunities the brand should take advantage of and potential threat the management should avoid. We’ll discuss SWOT Analysis of WeWork as follows;

WeWork’s Strengths

Reached worldwide.

The main objectives of every new business are growth and goes beyond borders. WeWork has been fortunate in this regard, it has workspaces in the major developed countries like the US, Canada, Germany, UK and more than 37 countries across the world. Global reach has given the ‘WeWork’ brand a unique international status.

Company’s Stakeholders

Softbank, JP Morgan, Benchmark and Adam Nuemann are the major stakeholders of the company. The total valuation of the ‘We Company’ was 47 billion US dollar at the beginning of 2019. According to the report of the Wall Street Journal in 2019, Soft Bank was planning to give Adam 1.7 billion US dollars to Adam if he’d give up his position from the board members.

Dedicated staff

Approximately more than 15000 are currently working for the ‘WeWork.’ As we know that human capital is an irreplaceable asset of an organization. Hard-working, loyal and dedicated staff are the main reasons behind the success of the company in a very short period.

Low Cost and Economical

When you compare the prices and services the WeWork is offering like separate phone booths, conferences and meeting halls, snacks and much more. Then you’d find the shared co-workspace of WeWork very economical and inexpensive. That’s why young freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups prefer WeWork.

Various Business Segments

When we talk about the parent company, We Company, then you’ll see many subsidiary companies like WeLive, WeRise, WeMRKT, and WeWork. The point is that the company is targeting multiple business segments of the market to reach more people. It because not everyone is a freelancers or an entrepreneur, you just can’t rely on the few segments of the market. Therefore, the parent company is widening its business segments to reach more people.

Diverse Product and Services

Products and services the company is offering are limited to entrepreneurs and freelancers. Companies, SME, and group startups also use the shared workspace of WeWork. If the brand had focused on only one segment of the market, then it would have reached the limited audience and few people would have been using WeWork.

In-house Advertisement

The parent company has an in-house advertising agency. It means that WeWork doesn’t have to worry about its marketing campaign and advertisement. The brand would take care of the rest.

Wework’s Weaknesses

Intense work environment.

Cool minded people avoid choosing wework because the working environment of its workspaces is intense. It’s so intense sometimes that it results in the form of stress. People usually leave stressful jobs to be a freelancer and work for themselves, and then they ask them why they should come again at a place the kind of space they have already left.

Newcomer Struggle

Often it’s very difficult for the newcomers to adjust at the shared workspace of the WeWork. It’s because the people who are already there, they are familiar with the staff and other tenants as well. Sometimes, they are working collectively. When a new person rents a space, then he finds himself in a very peculiar position where everyone else is working in a team, and he feels being neglected.


Open working atmosphere, free high-speed internet connection and snacks attract many people and bring them at the platform of WeWork. Therefore, it results in the form of overcrowdedness. Some people would like to work in a quiet place where there are few people. When there are more people, there would always be something to talk about. Sometimes, it’s very difficult for people to focus on their work in a place like this.

Inter-organizational Conflict

Some people have witnessed a clash and conflict between the operational management and the merchandising department. Although it happened at the other business segment of the parent company, but it conveys a very bad image of the brand. Negative marketing isn’t good for the reputation of the company. 

In-efficient Ads

The in house advertisements for the WeWork don’t convey the exact message of the workspaces; because the parent company focuses on all the market segments.

Contradiction between tenants & Company’s Goal

Tenants who are renting the shared workspaces, they have a completely different mindset and different gaols. Company’s goals and objectives, on the other hand, are completely different. Therefore, WeWork shouldn’t align its objectives with the goals of the tenant because they can’t be on the same page.

Non-cooperative Staff

When it comes to sharing information about other tenants; the management of the WeWork doesn’t provide any information. It’s good for the security point of view. But you have to know about your partner if you’re planning to work with him in the future.

WeWork’s Opportunities

Independent mail system.

WeWork provides the service of mail handling in terms of receiving. If the company starts providing on-demand mail receiving and delivery service, then it would attract many sophisticated authoritative users.

Home Office Service

If the company maintains a record of interest and preferences of people; when they come to check out the workspaces, then it would help the management to established new workspaces like home office.

Alliances with other Firms & Countries

As we know that the WeWork brand is expanding globally. If the company begins to merge, acquire and partnering up with other brands and companies. Then it can double its growth and expansion.

WeWork’s Threats


Office Max, Office Depot and Regus are some of the main direct competitors of WeWork. They offer the same products and services; the company should provide a unique experience to its tenants. So the people prefer workspace of WeWork over others.

High prices

Some people are price conscious if the company offers certain workspaces at a low price. Then marketers can target price-conscious customers.

Conclusion: SWOT Analysis of WeWork

The shared co-workspace industry is becoming very competitive because there are many competitors exist in the market. However, the company must differentiate itself by offering wide workspaces. So the tenants don’t feel like overcrowded workspace because many issues come with the crowd. If the place is big, then they won’t feel like crowdedness.

About The Author

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Ahsan Ali Shaw

The WeWork Business Model

Despite very public ups and downs over the last few years, WeWork remains at the forefront of the shared workspace industry. By quickly becoming the driving force behind the industry's growth—and thriving despite a worldwide pandemic—WeWork's success proves definitively that coworking is the new normal. At only a little more than a decade old, the brand is poised to keep growing in the coming years, especially with new CEO Sandeep Mathrani.

Today, WeWork is still shaking up the industry at every turn. Over the past few years, it has acquired tech startups such as office sign-in system Welkio and physical data software company Euclid in a move toward domination in the business sphere. The brand's app, WeWork On Demand, expanded in late 2020 and is now available in 17 major U.S. cities. And despite a disastrous downfall under founder Adam Neumann, WeWork is now on track to be profitable once again by the end of 2021.

If there is anything that the controversial story of WeWork can teach us, is that resilience is key in growing a business, as recently revealed an early strategy of WeWork was to walk into Starbucks and pitch to people working on their laptops .

WeWork's unprecedented success has prompted dozens of questions: Who are the investors behind WeWork? How does WeWork make money? What are the financial risks associated with its business model? Why do landlords decide to take WeWork as a tenant as opposed to leasing directly? The answers might surprise you.

What is WeWork?

Wework business model guide

WeWork was founded in New York in 2010 with a goal to offer coworking spaces to entrepreneurs, startup companies, freelancers, and even larger enterprises . The company grew rapidly since its establishment, making it one of the largest and most visible coworking chains in the world. It now has thousands of employees and over 800 locations worldwide, including outposts in 40 of U.S. cities and 32 countries, like Brazil, Germany, and Thailand.

What are its membership options?

The WeWork Business Model

Flexibility is key in WeWork’s business model: They ensure that clients no longer need to worry about long-term leases. The company offers six levels of membership: All Access, On Demand, dedicated desks, small private offices, office suites, and custom full-floor offices.

For single workers, the all-access subscription option provides access to open workspaces across the world, so members can show up whenever they wish, pick any available seat in a common area, and start working immediately. Alternatively, the on-demand option allows you to pay only when you use a space, like a desk or a conference room, on a day-to-day or hourly basis. For those who want a little more stability, WeWork offers dedicated desks that they lease to one client or one business only.

Teams and businesses of all sizes can also opt for private offices, which come equipped with furniture and can accommodate dozens of workers as businesses grow. The most personalized option is a custom build-out, which presents maximum freedom for groups that want to customize their workspace with features like CEO suites, conference rooms, or labs. WeWork scouts buildings and then transforms them, for businesses big and small: They've already done this for Facebook, Microsoft, HSBC, and Deloitte.

Who are the investors behind WeWork?

The WeWork Business Model

WeWork's investors have included a number of global entities, including holding conglomerate SoftBank, private equity firm Hony Capital, and real estate developer Greenland Holdings. In August 2017, SoftBank and its founder, Masayoshi Son, poured a massive $4.4 billion investment into WeWork. This included $3 billion for WeWork itself, namely through primary investment and the purchase of existing shares, and $1.4 billion dedicated to WeWork’s expansion into the Asian market: WeWork China, WeWork Japan, and WeWork Pacific. In August 2018, WeWork announced  yet another $1 billion in funds from SoftBank.

As of 2019, WeWork had raised nearly $47 billion in private equity and venture capital funding in the years since its founding. The immense interest by Asian companies such as Hony Capital, Legend Holdings, and China Oceanwide represents WeWork’s promising expansion into Eastern markets. Apart from its Asian investors, Western companies like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and T. Rowe Price have also invested in the Manhattan-based WeWork. Unfortunately, when founder Adam Neumann greatly mismanaged the company in late 2019, WeWork lost its chance at an IPO as its valuation dropped more than 90% .

After a very public demise under Neumann's leadership, the company has made an unexpected turnaround. CEO Sandeep Mathrani, who took over in February 2020, is now looking towards a possible IPO for the company once again.

How does WeWork make money?

The WeWork Business Model

In a nutshell, WeWork rents buildings from property owners at one price and then rents them out to clients at higher prices. Not all of the locations WeWork uses are similarly priced; buying up real estate in Baltimore or Nashville, for example, is cheaper than in New York City. These price discrepancies help keep WeWork's overhead from getting too high.

After renting the buildings, WeWork transforms them, updating everything inside and adding features like cafés, offices, and community spaces. Once finished, the company rents out the spaces for significantly higher prices. Apart from making money on rent, WeWork also provides additional services for a fee, such as partnerships with local businesses, car rentals, and other à la carte amenities.

What are the financial risks of WeWork’s business model?

The WeWork Business Model

WeWork pays landlords a huge amount of money and sinks even more into cosmetic updates, so it relies heavily on the revenue from renting to its clients to cover its high costs. If a location does not onboard enough clients to fill the available spaces or if the client's rental income does not cover WeWork's own rent, the company finds itself in a risky position.

As of 2019, WeWork had signed $18 billion worth of leases over the next few years and committed to renting 14 million square feet of office space worldwide. The company had written off massive losses as the cost of massive growth and valued itself at $47 billion at its peak. After a rocky few months in late 2019 and early 2020, today the company is back in the black and sees a promising future ahead. It's important to note that loss periods are not abnormal for startups, especially in the case of WeWork's unusual business model.

Why do landlords take WeWork as a tenant?

The WeWork Business Model

A look into the future of Coworking Spaces

The co-working market is about to be disrupted. Let's see how

A look into the future of Coworking Spaces

From the perspective of a landlord , WeWork's business model makes sense despite the high fixed costs and long-term lease agreements. For commercial property owners and managers, it's easier to have one contract with a single large company for a fixed period than to find and lease to several different tenants for shorter periods, especially if the building is in a challenging real estate market. Overall, the managing efforts and negotiation processes are much less troublesome with one tenant, and WeWork usually leases properties for 10 years. This takes less time and resources away from the building owner while taking care of the biggest concern for landlords—vacancy rates. WeWork has also garnered enormous media exposure by attracting young, innovative businesses and curating established corporate clients.

What happened to WeWork under Adam Neumann's leadership?

There’s no arguing that WeWork , which was managing millions of square feet of office space as of late 2019, has grown astronomically since its launch in 2010.

Once one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, WeWork was on top of the coworking food chain. In late 2019, a series of shocking events surrounding Neumann's leadership decisions put the future of the company and its massive workforce in question, along with the general perception of the coworking industry and its implications on the commercial real estate market.

Below, we take a look at how and why this coworking giant went from being one of the most highly valued startups to contemplating bankruptcy in the space of 6 weeks, before Mathrani swooped in and helped bring the company back to stability in 2020.

From WeWork to The We Company

Valued at $47 billion (Softbank being the largest investor), the company rebranded from WeWork to “The We Company” early in 2019. According to reports, the decision was made to help the firm grow and reach a wider audience.

Many business journals and analysts questioned the brand's ability to turn a profit after it lost more than $2 billion in 2018. For years, industry experts in the commercial real estate and tech industry questioned the vacancy rates of WeWork locations and the overall viability of the business model amid its rapid expansion into co-living, education, childcare, and several other sectors.

What Went Wong?

In August 2019, The We Company submitted its S-1 filing in preparation for an IPO (initial public offering). Almost immediately, headlines and reactions from tech bloggers and economics experts alike criticized the prospectus and the company for its complex corporate structure, questionable business practices, negative financial projections, and inflated language.

After the filing, the company faced more scrutiny of its leadership and finances from both investors and potential shareholders. Conflicts of interest were revealed in CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann’s ownership of the “We” trademark and several stakes of the company’s real estate holdings, raising red flags among stakeholders, employees, and observers alike.

By the second week after the IPO filing, these revelations and criticisms of the company had severely damaged the outlook of the IPO, putting the company in a very fragile position along with Softbank’s $10 billion investment. Amid reports of self-dealing, sexism, and unprofessional behavior, Neumann eventually had to step down from his role as CEO and chair of The We Company in September 2019, just a few days after the company decided to delay its IPO.

As a result, WeWork’s value plummeted from $47 billion to just over $8 billion.

Adam Neumann steps down

Neumann’s reported behavior and business practices were at the heart of much of the criticisms the company received in the press. The fact that he personally trademarked the word 'We' and licensed the use of the word to his own company for $5.9 million raised red flags among executives and business experts, prompting a rollback of this arrangement soon after it came to light.

Neumann was also reported to have frequently encouraged employees to drink shots of tequila and smoke marijuana at work. This carefree attitude from the CEO, coupled with reports of an increasing lack of gender diversity among the company’s managerial staff and high-level executives, severely damaged the public perception of the company culture. Even before the planned IPO, WeWork was heavily criticized for its lack of female board members or decision-makers in general.

WeWork’s valuation plummeted more and more with every negative report about WeWork’s corporate governance practices and Neumann’s behavior, further disconcerting investors and delaying the official IPO. The turning point occurred after marijuana was found on Neumann’s company jet after it landed in Japan (where it is illegal). Shortly after this incident Neumann stepped down as CEO and drastically reduced his voting power on the board from 10:1 to 3:1. As co-founder of the company, he now only retains a non-executive chair on the board of directors, but no controlling stake in the company.

Though many company decision-makers sought to quell investor’s fears and save the IPO by removing Neumann, his exit package drew even more criticism. By leaving WeWork, the 40-year-old entrepreneur walked away with more than $1.7 billion by selling his shares to SoftBank, earning a sizeable consulting fee in the process.

SoftBank, WeWork’s biggest investor, took control of the company, with former Amazon exec Sebastian Gunningham and CFO Artie Minson filling the CEO position temporarily. Its top investors and executives re-evaluated WeWork’s path to profitability and implemented more conservative strategies to attain positive revenue in conjunction with the company’s drastically reduced valuation. These strategies include cost-saving measures like laying off of over 2,000 employees worldwide, the sale of several companies that WeWork previously acquired, and an immediate halting of the aggressive expansion of the company into new markets. Upon stepping into the CEO role in February 2020, Mathrani has continued building the company back up by cutting costs and righting the company culture.

What this means to the coworking industry

This scaling back of one of the world’s fastest-growing companies and its IPO troubles bear many similarities to large tech businesses facing the ultimate test of going public. Many coworking space operators are worried about how WeWork’s failed IPO will affect the public’s outlook on the industry.

Though recent events may be disheartening to potential investors in coworking spaces, studies show that WeWork barely scratched 2% market share in the flexible office space sector, with many of its clients being large corporations like Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce. As a whole, the coworking industry has grown steadily year-over-year and demand for local, independent flexible workspaces with strong communities remains stable, and demand is expected to rise again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

If anything, the controversies surrounding WeWork serve as an example to other expanding coworking brands, highlighting the necessity of creating a sustainable company culture and a clear path to profitability in order to earn the trust of members and stakeholders alike.


Carlo Belloni

Carlo is the Project Manager and SEO Specialist at Kisi.


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WeWork Oracle Essbase Implementation


WeWork is a commercial real estate company that is revolutionizing the way people and companies work. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in New York City, WeWork designs and builds flexible shared workspaces as well as providing office services and access to leading technologies. The company has grown rapidly and now has more than 5,000 employees in over 280 locations, spread across 86 cities in 32 countries.

Rapid company growth led to constant changes in corporate metadata and reporting structures. As a result, reports often contained inconsistencies and there was a lack of confidence in the multiple versions of data. The existing Workday Planning application was slow and performing any ad-hoc reporting or analysis was difficult. Getting timely and accurate information to support corporate decision-making was extremely challenging for all areas of the organization.

Based on WeWork's requirements, and their previous successful experience with Essbase , MindStream Analytics determined that the best solution was to implement Oracle Essbase Cloud as part of the Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) Essbase platform-as-a-service. OAC Essbase is a data analytics and BI reporting solution that enables self-service visualization and data preparation, enterprise reporting and advanced analytics, dynamic user-driven what-if modeling, and self-learning mobile analytics. In 2020, supporting Oracle's repositioning of Essbase from OAC Essbase 12c to Essbase 21c OCI Marketplace, MindStream migrated WeWork's applications to Essbase 21c, a Private Cloud configuration on Oracle's Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). The primary benefits were to enable WeWork's access to the Essbase back end in a customer managed environment and provide new Essbase functionality in future releases.

Benefits include:

AppCare Managed Services

Additional cost savings were realized by utilizing MindStream's AppCare Managed Services for application support and administration. The AppCare team manages all of the application processes such as maintaining security, modifying business rules, and managing data updates, as well as providing help desk support for the end-users. WeWork gets the knowledge of EPM experts to enhance their application while saving at least 25% compared to the cost of hiring and maintaining internal staff.

About MindStream Analytics

MindStream Analytics is an award-winning Consulting and Managed Services firm focused on helping clients utilize technology to improve business insights and decision making. MindStream is an Oracle Gold Partner and Cloud Partner with decades of experience in Analytics and Performance Management. MindStream offers services ranging from software selection and implementation to best practices for financial planning and reporting. MindStream's AppCare Managed Services has been the highest-ranked EPM solution for four years in the MSPmentor Top 501 ranking of The Ultimate Guide to the World's Best Managed Services Providers.

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wework case study analysis

wework case study analysis

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wework case study analysis

Slack shapes the future of work through people, technology, and space

Slack partnered with wework to build an office that facilitates collaboration, connection, and community—just like their platform.

Slack's custom workspace. Photographs by Katelyn Perry/The We Company

Around the world, companies of all sizes find space to succeed at WeWork. Our  case studies share their unique stories.

As we head into the future, one thing is clear: The new workplace experience is people-first.

Businesses are becoming more open and transparent, giving employees the tools, information, and space they need to do their best work. Workplaces are increasingly global , with employees collaborating from all around the world.

Slack , the workplace communication tool, provides a digital platform for the free flow of relevant information between employees. Slack helps companies become more open, transparent, global, human, and authentic.

“Slack enables employees to be more connected and collaborative,” says Robbie Kwok, Slack’s vice president of people. “We help them build a community with each other not just through work, but interests inside and outside of work. I really think that we are living up to our mission, which is to make people’s working lives simpler, more productive, and more pleasant.”

Since Slack’s launch in 2014, Slack has amassed more than 10 million active daily users in 150 countries. Customers range from small startups to 65 of the Fortune 100, across virtually every industry.

The challenge : How do we grow and put people first?

Slack is headquartered in the heart of San Francisco, with 10 other offices in cities around the world, from Vancouver to Tokyo. As they’ve scaled into each market , Slack has ensured that each new office meets their unique requirements.

“When we think about how to design our spaces and how we want them to function, I have an amazing north star: Slack, as a tool,” says Deano Roberts, Slack’s vice president of global workplace and real estate.

That means creating a space where employees can do their best work. Roberts and his team approach the workplace experience with empathy. They consider what employees need to be inspired and productive: areas where they can collaborate and space to focus . Best-in-class technology and tools to get the job done. Centrally located offices near public transportation.

When evaluating real estate partners, Slack knew they needed one whose values and approach aligned with their own. They saw WeWork as a kindred spirit.

“When I look at the most meaningful and impactful workplaces, I think there’s a deep alignment between tools, culture, and spaces,” says Roberts. “Slack is a collaboration hub where people can come together to do the best work of their lives. And WeWork is a physical manifestation of that.”

Slack was also looking for flexible real estate solutions that wouldn’t tie up their funds in 10- to 15-year leases.

“For any company, expenditures on capital is a dollar that we didn’t spend on R&D, it’s a dollar that we didn’t spend on marketing, it’s a dollar that we didn’t spend on head count,” says Roberts.

That’s why, when it came time for Slack to build out a New York–based team, they partnered with WeWork.

wework case study analysis

Slack’s New York office started out as a two-person sales team, which included Julie Maresca, now Slack’s director of large enterprise sales. They set up shop in a WeWork coworking location, but soon needed more space. In less than three years, the New York team had grown to nearly 100 employees in sales, customer success, engineering, and professional services.

The solution: space to get work done

In collaboration with their broker, Slack and WeWork built a custom, 15,231 square foot private floor office, which was completed and moved in to just eight weeks after the deal was signed. The team now resides in a private WeWork space in a prime New York City neighborhood .

It’s warm, inviting, and outfitted with Slack’s branding and custom artwork. Each personal workspace is built with ergonomics in mind. Conference rooms and various seating areas give Slack employees places to meet, formally or informally.

It’s truly a place that fosters productivity, connection, collaboration, and community.

The results: transforming work, together

Slack’s New York team feels at home in their space.

“WeWork creates a home-like feel here at work, and people love that,” says Maresca. “It allows us to shift quickly into work mode, but still get that energy, that warm, inviting vibe that we would have in our home lives.”

“For me,” Roberts says, “the litmus test is when I go into a space 80 days later and our employees tell me that they’re having a great experience.”

From the success of the New York office, Slack knows they can turn to WeWork as they grow their presence around the world.

“We believe we can change work from the thing that people have to do to the thing that people love to do,” says Ali Rayl, Slack’s vice president of customer experience.

Key highlights:

WeWork offers companies of all sizes space solutions that help solve their biggest business challenges.


WeWork - Service Excellence through Business Model Innovation: Creating Outstanding Customer Experiences by Leveraging Data, Analytics and Digital Technologies

WeWork has seen a decade of growth with a disruptive new service business model in a rapidly transforming industry: shared office space for start-ups (and increasingly for big companies) thanks to its understanding of workplace trends such as the ‘gig’ economy, the rise of millennials and Generation Z in the workforce, more collaborative office work and tech-enabled mobility of employees. It caters to freelancers and multinationals alike, all members of the ‘co-working’ community, as well as an ecosystem of likeminded entrepreneurs. The case allows discussion of customer-centricity in a B2B service context, and of how companies optimize – digitalize – the customer experiences by leveraging data. WeWork relies on analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to mine data from its global customer base for insights and deep learning that feed into next-gen office design and usage. Customers perform a job-to-be-done analysis using a means-end ladder to understand how WeWork creates an outstanding customer experience in a competitive, commoditized market. The case offers learning about service blueprinting and customer journey mapping when designing new services and/or improving existing ones. To deliver on its customer promise WeWork integrates the key building blocks of a superior business model, for example, alliances with strategic partners secure unique resources and distinctive competences, achieving cost-effective service excellence. Discussion culminates in future growth avenues following a corporate rebranding and reorganization into three business units under the umbrella “We” brand.

Participants can reflect upon the following: . Disruption and transformation by new business models in a B2B service industry, such as shared office space . Arrive at ‘customer centricity’ by shifting from an inside-out focus (‘We rent office space’) to an outside-in perspective (i.e. ‘Space-as-a-Service’ model) . Turn a ‘data exhaust’ from the customer base into deeper insights and understand the job-to-be-done . Craft value propositions that resonate with different customer segments . Design an outstanding customer experience vs a cookie-cutter experience? (or move “from plain vanilla to wow!”) in a market threatened by commoditization and price competition . Map the critical steps of the customer journey, visualize key customer actions and use service blueprinting to design service processes in such a way that they create a memorable customer experience . Design a service business model around the customer experience to deliver on the customer promise and implement a “service factory” . Leverage acquisitions and strategic alliances to secure unique resources and distinctive competences for better business model execution . Develop the right mindset and culture in an agile, digital world . Instill and maintain an entrepreneurial service-centric startup culture in a organization growing “at warp speed” . The pros and cons of rebranding under the “We” umbrella . What are promising growth avenues for WeWork? . What insights can be applied to customer experiences in other service industries and companies?


Wolfgang Ulaga


Joerg Niessing


Nancy J. Brandwein

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wework case study analysis

Wework Case Study Analysis

Home >> Kelloggs >> Wework >>

Wework Case Study Solution

Wework is presently one of the biggest food cycle worldwide. It was founded by Kelloggs in 1866, a German Pharmacist who initially released "FarineLactee"; a mix of flour and milk to feed infants and reduce mortality rate. At the very same time, the Page brothers from Switzerland likewise discovered The Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. The two ended up being competitors initially but in the future combined in 1905, resulting in the birth of Wework. Business is now a global company. Unlike other international business, it has senior executives from various nations and attempts to make choices thinking about the whole world. Wework presently has more than 500 factories worldwide and a network spread across 86 countries.

The function of Wework Corporation is to boost the lifestyle of individuals by playing its part and providing healthy food. It wants to help the world in shaping a healthy and better future for it. It also wishes to encourage individuals to live a healthy life. While making sure that the company is being successful in the long run, that's how it plays its part for a better and healthy future

Wework's vision is to supply its clients with food that is healthy, high in quality and safe to consume. It wishes to be ingenious and all at once comprehend the requirements and requirements of its customers. Its vision is to grow fast and offer products that would please the needs of each age group. Wework envisions to develop a trained labor force which would help the company to grow .

Wework's mission is that as presently, it is the leading business in the food industry, it thinks in 'Excellent Food, Great Life". Its mission is to provide its customers with a variety of options that are healthy and best in taste. It is focused on providing the very best food to its clients throughout the day and night.

Business has a vast array of items that it offers to its customers. Its products include food for infants, cereals, dairy products, snacks, chocolates, food for family pet and bottled water. It has around 4 hundred and fifty (450) factories around the world and around 328,000 employees. In 2011, Business was listed as the most gainful organization.

Goals and Objectives

• Remembering the vision and mission of the corporation, the business has actually laid down its goals and objectives. These objectives and objectives are listed below. • One objective of the business is to reach zero landfill status. (Business, aboutus, 2017). • Another objective of Wework is to waste minimum food during production. Usually, the food produced is squandered even prior to it reaches the consumers. • Another thing that Business is working on is to enhance its packaging in such a way that it would help it to reduce those issues and would likewise guarantee the shipment of high quality of its items to its customers. • Meet international requirements of the environment. • Develop a relationship based upon trust with its customers, organisation partners, workers, and government.

Critical Issues

Recently, Business Business is focusing more towards the strategy of NHW and investing more of its revenues on the R&D technology. The country is investing more on acquisitions and mergers to support its NHW method. The target of the business is not achieved as the sales were expected to grow higher at the rate of 10% per year and the operating margins to increase by 20%, offered in Exhibit H. There is a need to focus more on the sales then the innovation technology. Otherwise, it might result in the decreased profits rate. (Henderson, 2012).

Situational Analysis.

Analysis of current strategy, vision and goals.

The existing Business technique is based upon the concept of Nutritious, Health and Wellness (NHW). This method handles the concept to bringing modification in the consumer preferences about food and making the food things much healthier worrying about the health problems. The vision of this method is based on the secret technique i.e. 60/40+ which simply implies that the items will have a rating of 60% on the basis of taste and 40% is based upon its dietary worth. The products will be manufactured with additional nutritional worth in contrast to all other items in market gaining it a plus on its dietary content. This method was embraced to bring more tasty plus nutritious foods and beverages in market than ever. In competition with other business, with an objective of retaining its trust over consumers as Business Business has actually gotten more trusted by costumers.

Quantitative Analysis.

R&D Spending as a portion of sales are decreasing with increasing actual quantity of costs reveals that the sales are increasing at a greater rate than its R&D spending, and permit the company to more invest in R&D. Net Profit Margin is increasing while R&D as a portion of sales is declining. This indicator also shows a thumbs-up to the R&D spending, mergers and acquisitions. Financial obligation ratio of the business is increasing due to its costs on mergers, acquisitions and R&D development rather than payment of financial obligations. This increasing debt ratio present a hazard of default of Business to its investors and could lead a decreasing share costs. For that reason, in terms of increasing debt ratio, the company must not invest much on R&D and must pay its current debts to reduce the danger for financiers. The increasing risk of investors with increasing debt ratio and decreasing share prices can be observed by substantial decline of EPS of Wework stocks. The sales growth of business is also low as compare to its mergers and acquisitions due to slow understanding structure of consumers. This sluggish development likewise hinder business to further invest in its mergers and acquisitions.( Business, Business Financial Reports, 2006-2010). Keep in mind: All the above analysis is done on the basis of calculations and Graphs given up the Displays D and E.

TWOS Analysis

TWOS analysis can be utilized to obtain numerous strategies based upon the SWOT Analysis provided above. A brief summary of TWOS Analysis is given in Exhibition H.

Strategies to exploit Opportunities using Strengths

Business ought to introduce more ingenious items by big amount of R&D Spending and mergers and acquisitions. It could increase the market share of Business and increase the earnings margins for the company. It might also supply Business a long term competitive benefit over its rivals. The worldwide growth of Business ought to be concentrated on market catching of developing countries by growth, attracting more consumers through consumer's loyalty. As establishing countries are more populous than industrialized countries, it could increase the consumer circle of Business.

Strategies to Overcome Weaknesses to Exploit Opportunities

Swot Analysis

Strategies to use strengths to overcome threats

Business ought to transfer to not only establishing but also to developed countries. It ought to expands its geographical growth. This large geographical growth towards establishing and developed countries would decrease the threat of prospective losses in times of instability in different nations. It must widen its circle to numerous nations like Unilever which operates in about 170 plus nations.

Strategies to overcome weaknesses to avoid threats

It ought to obtain and combine with those countries having a goodwill of being a healthy company in the market. It would also allow the company to utilize its possible resources efficiently on its other operations rather than acquisitions of those companies slowing the NHW strategy growth.

Segmentation Analysis

Demographic segmentation.

The demographic division of Business is based on four aspects; age, gender, income and profession. For instance, Business produces numerous products associated with infants i.e. Cerelac, Nido, and so on and associated to adults i.e. confectionary products. Wework products are quite economical by almost all levels, but its significant targeted clients, in regards to income level are middle and upper middle level customers.

Geographical Segmentation

Geographical division of Business is composed of its presence in almost 86 countries. Its geographical division is based upon two primary elements i.e. average income level of the customer in addition to the environment of the region. For example, Singapore Business Business's segmentation is done on the basis of the weather condition of the area i.e. hot, warm or cold.

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic division of Business is based upon the character and life style of the consumer. For example, Business 3 in 1 Coffee target those consumers whose life style is rather hectic and don't have much time.

Behavioral Segmentation

Wework behavioral segmentation is based upon the mindset knowledge and awareness of the customer. Its highly nutritious items target those customers who have a health mindful attitude towards their intakes.

Wework Alternatives

Vrio Analysis

Wework Conclusion


Wework Exhibits

Executive Summary

wework case study analysis

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Case study: wework.

The WeWork story holds many powerful lessons for entrepreneurs and designers. From a world-class product to a failed IPO - we can find many learnings for ourselves. Enjoy this short and sharp analysis of WeWork.

Your Instructor

Mike Parsons, Chairman of Advisory Board QUALITANCE

wework case study analysis

Case Study WeWork

WeWork is a great product that solves a lot of problems. What can we learn from the model and their challenges.

Course Curriculum

Case Study Revolut

With the post IPO decline of WeWork, were their signs and lessons to learn from.

Goals of the Case Study

We take a look at WeWork and the path from building a great product to measuring the right metrics of success.

Great products are built by great teams

Validating ideas with customers is the ultimate truth

Growth is a result of measuring the right metrics

Tell a story worth sharing through great

Wework Case PESTEL Analysis

Home >> Kelloggs >> Wework >> Pestel Analysis

Wework Case Study Help

Wework's external environment would certainly be researched with the PESTEL framework (appendix 1) for highlighting the sector's Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and also Legal setting while the degree of competition in the Taiwanese market would be studied under Porter's five forces analysis (appendix 2). Sector pressures such as the bargaining power of the customer as well as provider, the danger of new entrants and also substitutes would be highlighted to recognize the level of competitiveness.

Political Factors:

Political factors have actually played the most considerable duties in the growth of Taiwan's Wework industry in the form of human resource advancement, technology development and establishing of institutes for transferring technology. In addition to these factors, a 5 year prepare for the development of submicron modern technology was initiated by the federal government in 1990 that included development of laboratories for submicron development along with the above discussed roles. The Government has been continuously functioning in the direction of bringing the Wework market in line with worldwide standards and the gap in layout and also development has actually been resolved by the intro of Wework with the objective of brining in a technological change through this brand-new endeavor. Plans such as employment of high-tech talent were introduced in the plan from 1996 to 2001 while R&D efforts have actually been a priority considering that 2000.

Economic Factors:

The reality that the Wework market is undergoing an unbalanced demand and supply circumstance is not the only economic issue of the sector. The excess supply in the sector is adhered to by a cost which is less than the expense of Wework which has led to cash flow concerns for manufacturers. Recession is a major problem in the sector given that it can trigger low manufacturing. Improvements in effectiveness levels can lead to boosted manufacturing which leads to recession once again due to excess supply and low need causing closure of companies as a result of low revenue. The Wework industry has gone through economic crisis thrice from 1991 to 2007 suggesting that there is a high potential for economic downturn as a result of excess supply and low income of firms.

Social Factors:

Social factors have also added in the direction of the development of the Wework industry in Taiwan. The Taiwanese federal government has actually focused on human capital advancement in the market via trainings aimed at improving the expertise of resources in the market. The launch of the Semiconductor Institute in 2003 for training and also creating ability is an example of the social initiatives to improve the industry. Although technology was imported, obtaining resources knowledgeable about the technology has been done by the government. Social initiatives to improve the image and also high quality of the Taiwanese IC market can be seen by the reality that it is the only sector which had actually professionally built divisions of labor worldwide.

Technological Factors:

There are still some technological issues in the Wework sector particularly as Wework suppliers in Taiwan do not have their very own technology as well as still rely on international technological partners. The federal government's participation in the industry has been concentrating on altering the Wework sector to reduce this dependency. Leading firms in Taiwan like Powerchip has made tactical alliances with foreign companions like Elpida from Japan. There are technological constraints in this arrangement especially as foreign governments like the Japanese governmentis unwilling to transfer modern technology.

Environmental Factors:

A general evaluation of the atmosphere suggest that Taiwan is a highly favorable region for Wework manufacturing as evident by the convenience in ability development in the Wework market. Along with this, the truth that the region supplies producing abilities further enhances this monitoring.

Legal Factors:

The lawful environment of Wework has problems and possibilities in the form of IP civil liberties as well as legal agreements. A company has the lawful defense to protect its copyright (IP), handling as well as technology which can enhance the dependence of others on it. The Wework industry additionally offers a high relevance to lawful agreements as obvious by the reality that Micron's rate of interest in Wework might not appear as a result of the former company's legal contract with Nanya and Inotera.

PESTEL Analysis for Wework Case Study Analysis

wework case study analysis


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    Wework Case Study Solution Wework is presently one of the biggest food cycle worldwide. It was founded by Kelloggs in 1866, a German Pharmacist who initially released "FarineLactee"; a mix of flour and milk to feed infants and reduce mortality rate.

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