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CO-EVERYTHING

The company that made co-working a lifestyle is now experimenting with co-living

People lounging on beanbags and typing on laptops in a sun-filled room.
WeWork
The sharing economy takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Joon Ian Wong
By Joon Ian Wong

Technology Reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

WeWork’s co-working spaces are known for their open bars, free-flowing coffee, and fancy furniture. Now the company’s taken the next logical step and opened actual apartments that it calls “co-living” spaces.

The co-working space provider, which has 40,000 members in 19 cities in the US, Europe and Asia, has got 80 people living in 45 apartment units in a Wall Street building in New York City, Fast Company reported. The self-contained apartments come pre-furnished and internet-ready, and can be rented month-to-month rather than on a traditional annual contract, making it a flexible form of housing for people who move often.

The building is also packed with communal activities and services, from yoga studios to movie theaters, according to Fast Company, and residents have a “community manager” who will plan karaoke, game nights, and fitness classes for residents. And, naturally, the apartments are upstairs from seven floors of WeWork office space. WeWork says it’s “beta testing” the concept and it plans to expand to 600 people over 20 floors in the building. The company hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment from Quartz on details of its co-living test.

WeWork is valued at $10 billion on the back of $1 billion in funding. Investors like Goldman Sachs and T Rowe Price have bought into the company’s premise that there’s a new generation of workers who “do what they love”—WeWork’s motto—and need a new type of office space.

Although WeWork founder Adam Neumann says his firm has been profitable from the start, its hefty valuation has sparked skepticism before. Leaked pitch documents (paywall) from August show that the company is promising investors an aggressive growth rate that will take it from $4 million in operating profit in 2014 to $941 million in profit in 2018. Whether it will make its numbers depends largely on its residential project. The pitch document said that 21% of the projected $2.9 billion in 2018 revenues would come from residents.

Correction​: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified WeWork’s $4 million operating profit in 2014 as operating revenue.

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