SoftBank Group, with its $93 billion Vision Fund, announced it will invest $4.4 billion in WeWork, a New York-based startup providing shared offices and living spaces.
WeWork, founded in 2010, said it plans to use the money to “connect more people” in its global community of 150,000 members and expand its physical locations around the world, especially in Asia, according to a Aug. 24 statement. The company claims to own “proprietary data systems” that will radically transform how people work.
Mostly, WeWork offers private and semi-private offices in shared working spaces with amenities like coffee, drinks, and even fitness gyms. Recently, the company branched out into apartments that it calls “co-living” spaces. The apartments are furnished and available on a month-to-month basis. The company is on mission to build a lifestyle brand that extends from home to work. Renting a small office from WeWork, the company proclaims, is finding a way to “do what you love.” It now runs more than 160 offices in 16 countries.
SoftBank will invest $3 billion in new shares, and $1.4 billion on secondary purchases of existing shares in three new companies managed by local WeWork management teams in China, Japan, Southeast Asia and Korea. In 2016, WeWork was valued at $16 billion with more than $1 billion in funding.