WeWork has announced the launch of umbrella brand, The We Company, in a move to clarify its business ambitions outside of the office rental space.
The We Company will comprise WeWork alongside its residential and educational offerings, WeLive and WeGrow. The latter two brands were formerly marketed as offshoots of the founding WeWork brand and will now be established as separate business pillars.
The branding of The We Company remains aligned to that of its component businesses.
The move will allow the company’s founders – Adam Neumann, Rebekah Neumann and Miguel McKelvey – to consolidate the lofty visions of WeWork, WeLive and WeGrow under a single mission that can cut through into almost every part of modern urban life.
Today, we’re announcing The @We Company, bringing all of our business ambitions together to operate in service of how we work, live, and grow. Our guiding mission: to elevate the world’s consciousness. https://t.co/HQD6ulKi6Opic.twitter.com/CNZl8dR80f
— WeWork (@WeWork) January 8, 2019
In a blog post, the founders said: “The We Company’s guiding mission will be to elevate the world’s consciousness. Living a conscious life means choosing to live proactively and with purpose.
"It means being a student of life, for life, where we accept that we are always growing and in a constant state of self-discovery, self-growth, and change.”
It will also give the company scope to enter into other verticals. Chief executive Adam Neumann confirmed WeBank is “coming” in an interview with Fast Company, for instance, while WeSleep (boutique hotels), WeConnect (internet cafes) WeSail (yacht charters) also were featured in an early pitch deck written in 2009.
In a statement, the founders wrote: “The idea that began in New York nine years ago was always about more than work – it was about supporting all aspects of life. As we’ve built WeWork, our community taught us that we are more alike than we are different. It taught us that we all thrive when we have a purpose. And it taught us that experiences bring more fulfillment and joy than material goods.”
The news has been timed to coincide with the company’s internal global summit, which is currently taking place is Los Angeles, California, and a fresh investment of $2bn from SoftBank, the Japanese backer that has now raised more than $10bn for the startup.
According to Fast Company, the financier was reported to originally have put up to $20bn on the table but was spooked by December’s financial blip.
The We Company claims it “touches” approximately 5 million people globally, primarily through WeWork office rentals across 27 countries. However, its critics have questioned its valuation and predict its current reliance on the WeWork business lacks the ability to weather a real financial storm.
The company also faces competition, too: BMW’s Mini has been carving out a similar business plan as an urban space provider and plans to open its first Living building in Shanghai this year.