WeWork: Go big or go home


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You have to admire the sheer audacity of WeWork – when its primary backer SoftBank decided to slash further investment in the shared office-space company by 87.5% from a mooted $16 billion to just $2 billion, the firm came out swinging.

In early January, it announced it would rebrand itself, tripling down by mutating into three separate units, WeWork, WeLive and WeGrow, under the banner of The We Company.

The We Company declares, with apparent sincerity, that its three-fold mission statement is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living (the Work bit), to build a world where no one feels alone (the Live bit) and to unleash every human’s superpowers (the Grow bit).

WeGrow seems to involve an elementary school, so it could be an elaborate ruse to clean up at any school fancy-dress parties.

Not content with this nonsense, The We Company wants to “elevate the world’s consciousness. Living a conscious life means choosing to live proactively and with purpose”. And choosing to rent office space, presumably.

Pressing concerns

While it is tempting to ask exactly what The We Company are smoking, Euromoney has more pressing concerns. It plans to move into banking.

As long ago as 2009, the founders pitched the idea of WeBank, stating that this organization would “support our members by sharing our collective knowledge of business finances”. Exactly what this collective knowledge comprises is not made clear.

How lawyers at Chinese multinational Tencent, owners of digital lender WeBank, or indeed BPM-owned Webank in Italy, are taking the news is not known.

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann outlined his ambitions in the financial sector with admirable brevity, stating of WeBank simply: “It’s coming.”

You have been warned.