WeWork is a co-working space company that offers shared office spaces for businesses of all sizes.
The company, which is headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey.
According to WeWork’s official website, its vision is to “create environments where people and companies come together and do their best work”. With that mission in mind, WeWork offers a variety of membership options, including private offices, shared desks, and meeting rooms. WeWork also offers several amenities, such as on-site cafes, event spaces, and wellness rooms.
It all started in New York City with the company renting its first location in SoHo, Manhattan, which opened in April 2011. WeWork has since expanded to over 765 locations in more than 35 countries around the world supporting approximately 916,000 workstations and 626,000 physical memberships.
WeWork has been growing rapidly, with revenue of $4.44 billion in 2021. The company has raised over $21.9 billion in funding over 22 rounds from investors like SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, and Benchmark Capital.
WeWork began trading on NYSE under the symbol “WE” on October 21, 2021.WeWork first tried to file for IPO in 2019, but it ultimately failed.
The first WeWork IPO is an important milestone in the company’s journey. While applying for the IPO, the company filed its S-1 document, publically opening its books to the world for the first time. It revealed the huge losses of the company and Neumann’s severe mismanagement for undertaking high expensive leases.
The documents showed that even though WeWork’s financial projections were highly optimistic, they were losing an unsustainable amount of money in the present.
The IPO was scrapped within a month and its valuation dropped by approximately 70%. SoftBank, their largest shareholder, took over the management, and Neumann was removed from the CEO position.
Ever since the first IPO disaster, WeWork operations came back on track in the coming year, especially with the new CEO Sandeep Mathrani, and WeWork’s new Chief Financial Officer Andre Fernandez. They focused on lowering operating costs and reducing the amount of expensive leased office spaces.
The methodology with which competitors of WeWork are ranked is based on publicly available data. Information such as the number of locations, annual revenue figures, the number of customers, the number of employees, and anything else in between will be considered.
Competitors from all over the world will be taken into account as WeWork operates globally.
It has to be noted that this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of either service. It is merely a summary of the competition that WeWork faces today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 competitors of WeWork.
1. Regus (Part of IWG)
Headquarters: Luxembourg Founder(s): Mark Dixon Year Founded: 1989
Regus is another big coworking spaces provider. It’s one of the main competitors of WeWork. However, Regus has a more formal and privacy-focused working approach. In contrast, at WeWork, the environment is much more relaxed and casual. But you won’t get much privacy at WeWork.
Fun Fact: In terms of locations, Regus is about five times bigger than WeWork.
Regus has a formal environment, with a focus on privacy and utility. They provide everything you’d expect from a normal office such as a coffee maker and a water cooler. The whole setup makes you feel as if you work for a big company. WeWork has a more open, relaxed, and community-driven atmosphere while Regus has a more professional and privacy-focused vibe.
Regus’ founder, Mark Dixon, has been named one of the most influential people in the business world by both Forbes and Fortune magazines. He started Regus when he noticed people were having business meetings in small coffee shops. During the dotcom bubble of 2002, Regus’ valuation dropped and Dixon sold the business to a UK Real Estate company. He bought back Regus in 2005 and expanded the business exponentially.
In 1995, Regus opened its first center in the United Kingdom. They also had a business center on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Centre-South Tower, which was destroyed in the unfortunate 9/11 attacks. The company had to file for bankruptcy in 2002.
In 2012, Regus acquired MWB Group, a UK-based provider of serviced office space. This was a key acquisition that helped Regus expand its local footprint. Regus then went on to acquire more companies to expand its global market share. Today, Regus has thousands of locations in about 120 countries and it provides offices to 30,000 entrepreneurs in the UK alone.
Fun Fact: The first offer Regus made to MWB was £40 million, Regus then went on to raise that offer to £65.6 million.
IWG is the holding company of Regus. IWG or The International Workplace Group recorded almost $3.122Billion in revenue worldwide in 2021. In the same year, IWG employed 8,239 people full-time. Regus changed its holding company to IWG in 2016 but continues to operate under the same brand.
2. Spaces (Part of IWG)
Headquarters: Amsterdam, the Netherlands Founder(s): MartijnRoordink, Rattan Chadha, Frederique Keuning Year Founded: 2008
Spaces like its other counterparts/competitors is a company that provides co-working spaces for everyone, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small business, or a freelancer. The company also offers a variety of other services like dedicated desks and virtual offices.
Similar to other co-working businesses, Spaces generates revenue by leasing buildings from real estate companies and transforming them into beautifully designed workstations. After that, the company charges clients a variable fee for the use of the area as workstations and private offices.
The company’s goal is to provide a community for open and like-minded individuals to be able to connect and expand. Spaces specially cater to Millennials and Generation Z while focusing on collaboration and networking.
Fun Fact: The brand has its own signature room spray perfume, ‘Spirit de Travail,’ launched in 2019 in collaboration with Dutch lifestyle brand Marie-Stella-Maris.
In 2008, Rattan Chadha (ex-CEO of Mexx and CEO of CitizenM hotels) came up with the question – “How can we reinvent the office?” Chadha always had a passion to foster a sense of community and wanted to create a space where future thinkers would be present.
The first coworking location of Spaces opened in Amsterdam, Herengracht. Fast forward to being acquired by IWG Plc.in Early 2015, the company saw an acceleration in its global expansion. They opened new locations in countries like the UK, USA, and Australia. Within 2 years Spaces grew to 77 locations with further new venues opening in Paris, Madrid, and Tokyo. Currently, spaces have more than 300 locations worldwide.
According to the company’s LinkedIn profile, Spaces have up to 200 employees and is currently generating revenue of around $95 million per year.
3. Impact Hub
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria Founder(s): FayelleOuane, Henrique Bussacos, Mohamed Keita Year Founded: 2005
In addition to workspace and meeting rooms like its counterparts, Impact Hub offers resources, events, and programs to help people make a positive impact in their community. Impact Hub is a perfect place for someone who is looking for a community of like-minded individuals to help them grow and develop businesses and projects. Impact Hub’s official mission is ‘To support positive social and environmental change’.
Fun Fact: Over 6,400+ startups were founded at Impact Hubs between 2012 to 2016.
With locations all over the world, Impact Hub provides members with access to a global network of entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re already established, Impact Hub is a great place to connect with others and get the support you need to take your business or project to the next level.
“What if the people working for change had access to a common space where they could gather, interact, and work and grow together?” This was a ground-breaking idea for Jonathan Robinson, the godfather of The Impact Hub. And with that vision in mind, the first Hub was founded in 2005 in the London Borough of Islington.
At present, there are over 100 Impact Hubs in 50 countries across five continents. Impact Hub has over a thousand employees on its payroll and a global network of over 20,000+ members.
Impact Hub is a non-profit organization because of its belief in a member and community-driven approach. Each hub operated as locally funded. To improve and expand its network, Impact Hub raised a total of $1.1 M in funding within 1 round by FundacionCreas.
Headquarters: New York, United States Founder(s): Anmol Sarva, Edward Shenderovich Year Founded: 2015
According to the firm’s official website, Knotel is the world’s leading flexible workspace platform that matches, tailors, and manages space for customers.
The company does not provide co-working spaces and unlike some of its other counterparts in this list, Knotel does not cater to small businesses and freelancers. Instead, Knotel target customers are established and expanding businesses, giving them the freedom to focus on their business operations and stuff that matters like its culture and people. From strategizing to building workplaces, Knotel does it all.
Fun Fact: Just one year before filing for bankruptcy, Knotel was valued at $1.6 billion.
Knotelco-founder, Anmol Sarva, studied cognitive science for his Ph.D. at Stanford. He also co-founded significant companies like Virgin Mobile USA, Peek, Halo Neuroscience, and Popular change.
Knotel filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and agreed to sell the business a commercial real estate powerhouse with $1.9 billion in annual revenue, Newmark Group. Knotel was sold to Newmark Group in 2021 for $59.1 Million and is owned by the holding group since then.
The move was at an unfortunate time as Knotel had to file for bankruptcy due to the massive losses during the Covid pandemic. In an email to an unidentified group of individuals, Anmol referred to Newmark Group as “a stalking horse” who used Knotel’s bankruptcy to gain control with $100 million in additional funding (1/10th of Knotel’s valuation at the start of 2021).
Knotel has raised $560M in total funding over 5 rounds. Their latest and biggest funding round was raised on Aug 21, 2019, from a Series C round where Knotel raised 400 million dollars from Wafra capital Partners and became a unicorn. The company operates in 17 cities globally.
It has over 1,000 clients, including major brands like Spotify, Airbnb, Twitter, Starbucks, AT&T, Oracle, and Microsoft, and claims to be working with 20% of the Fortune 500 globally.
Headquarters: Sydney, Australia Founder(s): Alf Moufarrige Year Founded: 1978
Servcorp Limited offers serviced offices, virtual offices, coworking spaces, meeting rooms, community packages, and IT services to small and large businesses alike. They cater to everyone from entrepreneurs and startups to large enterprises.
What makes Servcorp different from WeWork is its emphasis on personalization. Selling themselves on networking and relationship building like some of its other counterparts is not the style of Servcorp. The company focuses on flexibility and personalization.
What Servcorp is proud of is its ability to provide access to the best A-Grade buildings on the market that members can use to meet and greet their clients in, because Servcorp is a big believer in first impressions.
Servcorp is all about helping its customers present a professional and polished image to their clients. Members have the option to use Servcorp’s address as their company address, the company offers some of the most sought-after locations in the world for their flexible office solutions.
In 1976, Mr. Alf Moufarrige got an office space in the MLC Centre to work on his new venture. He soon realized that the team and space is not being utilized 100% so he looked to share these to reduce his expenses. One day he was sitting in the corner office in the MLC Centre when he “took a piece of chalk to divide up the space” says Servcorp’s official website, and Servcorp was born.
Today Servcorp boasts 150+ locations in 40+ cities and 20 countries. According to the company’s official website, Servcorp’s market cap as of 2021 was AUD $350 million and is publicly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange under the symbol (SRV).
Servcorp generated annual revenue of over $200 million and employs over 630 people across the globe and has raised over $30 million in funding to date.
6. Industrious Offices
Headquarters: New York, United States Founder(s): Jamie Hodari, Justin Stewart Year Founded: 2012
Industrious Offices is a company that provides furnished and flexible workspaces for businesses of all sizes.
Industrious started with two childhood friends, Jamie Hodari and Justin Stewart, who observed a problem. The meetings they had with clients in coffee shops and hotel lobbies were giving better results than the ones in board rooms. So, they decided to create an environment where an environment of flexibility and coworking developed while also keeping it professional.
Industrious’ business model is significantly different than WeWork, says Hodari. While WeWork signs a lease for long periods, Industrious signs agreements with landlords to manage and take care of their buildings. Industrious also shares a part of the revenue with the landlords. This allows Industrious to mitigate any risks and operate stably, as they do not have to maintain the expensive real estate.
Fun Fact: Hodari and Stewart used Craigslist to put out their first ad in 2012 to promote their newly found company Industrious.
Today, Industrious has more than 150 locations in 65+ cities in the US and abroad with a revenue of around a hundred million dollars a year. Industrious has secured around $442 million in funding over 5 rounds from 14 investors to date.
The company has also acquired 5 companies to date. Major acquisitions include Pivot Desk, a digital workplace platform; and TechSpace, a niche office-space provider to tech companies. In 2022, Industrious further acquired The Great Room (Asia) and Welkin & Meraki (Continental Europe) to explore its footprint on the global workplace market.
7. Serendipity Labs
Headquarters: New York, United States Founder(s): John Arenas Year Founded: 2011
While WeWork focuses primarily on coworking space and promotes collaboration and networking, Serendipity Labs’ main focus is on private offices, team rooms, and dedicated desks.
The company prides itself on the quality of its services and world-class hospitality. Their official website even goes so far as to say “Serendipity Labs is in the hospitality business, not the office rental business.”
Fun Fact: The founder and CEO of Serendipity Labs, John Arenas, is a former employee of Regus. He left Regus in 2004 and founded Serendipity Labs in 2011. Between 2004 and 2011 John was Chief Executive officer of Worktopia, an online reservation system for real-time booking of office rooms.
Serendipity Labs have raised a total of $113.3 million over 6 rounds to date. Craighall and Steelcase are two lead investors of the company. The company has around 28 labs in 14 states and 24 cities with an estimated revenue of around $24 million dollars a year.
Headquarters: New York, United States Founder(s): Adam Newman and Miguel McKelvey Year Founded: 2008
Whether you’re an individual or a developing business, GreenDesk not only offers physical office spaces but also fully furnished Virtual offices and adaptable meeting places.
Fun Fact: Adam Newman and Miguel McKelvey sold Greendesk in 2010 and started WeWork.
GreenDesk offers first-class amenities to their customers like high-speed internet, a printer, fax machine, scanner, cleaning services, and even a kitchen equipped with a fridge and microwave.
GreenDesk prides itself on the affordability of its services and says that they are reasonably priced for even the smallest of businesses.
In 2001, Newman was selling baby clothes with padded knees in New York(called the Krawlers). He met McKelvey, who was also working in the same building as an architect. They noticed there was some vacant space left in the building and they got the idea of starting a coworking space for other entrepreneurs. They convinced their landlord to lease them the empty lot, which they converted into their first coworking space. That’s how GreenDesk was born.
As GreenDesk quickly grew, the founder realized that the real strength in coworking comes from a sense of community. They could not expand GreenDesk as it was partially owned by their landlord, Joshua Guttman, also.
As an easy way out, Newman and McKelvey sold their entire shares to the Guttman for ‘a few million’. They used the money to fund their own brand new start-up called WeWork.
As of today, GreenDesk has 6000+ desks and over 5000 members and their virtual office service starts at only $49/month.
Headquarters: Shoreditch, London Founder(s): David Glasworthy, Alex Rabarts Year Founded: 2012
TechSpce offers flexible coworking spaces, event spaces, and meeting rooms for technology teams across Europe.
Some of Techspace’s members and alumni are companies like Unity, Trade public, Agicap, samsara, and Freetrade. All the above-mentioned companies are tech companies because as the name suggests TechSpace caters to technology teams and is focused on building a community around the technology ecosystem. “A home for pioneering tech,” says the official website of Techspace.
Fun Fact: Industrious, another coworking spaces company, announced in May 2019 that they have acquired Techspace in a bid to increase their global footprint.
Techspace is mainly based in London and Berlin with over 3500+ members and 32 employees in 6 locations. The company claims that 90% of its members are in Series A or beyond and has raised a total of $13.6 million in funding over 2 rounds from two investors- Goldacre and Leo Noe.
Headquarters: New York, United States Founder(s): Ryan Simonetti Year Founded: 2009
The goal of Convene is to be an end-to-end provider of a modern workday experience with state-of-the-art design, great hospitality, and top-tier amenities.
Convene is trusted by global giants like Deloitte, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon. What makes Convene different from its competitors is its focus on making its workspaces modern. “The thesis was, what if you ran an office building like a hotel,” says Ryan Simonetti.
In addition to coworking spaces, some of the amenities Convene offers are onsite culinary services, unlimited snacks and beverages, and enterprise-grade technology.
Fun Fact: Convene also has a luxury coworking space club called Club 75. Club’s membership fee is $1250 a year.
Convene’s focus on technology makes them different from usual coworking spaces. They strive to provide a good experience for meetings and conferences. They, furthermore, specialize in setting up corporate events.
The company has over 390 employees and is spread across 26 locations in major 6 cities – namely Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and London. It has a total of 1.3 million+ square feet in its real estate portfolio.
Convene has raised a total of $280.5 million in funding over 6 rounds by 15 investors. They also acquired Beco in 2018 for an undisclosed amount to develop workspace technology solutions.