29 November, Forbes
WeWork, the global coworking network helping companies and people growing, has announced its arrival in Italy. The American company will open its first space in Milan in Via Giuseppe Mazzini and Via Meravigli in 2020.
The first location will occupy a whole building which has been entirely renovated and property of a fund managed by Savills with Hines among its subscribers. The space will have a capacity of 1,100 members. The location is in the heart of Milan, a few steps from three metro stations, making travelling around the city very easy. The second coworking, WeWork Meravigli, will be accommodated in a late-19th-century building facing on Piazza Cordusio, close to metro stations and the main Milan’s landmarks such as the Sforza Castle and Duomo. The building has been entirely remodelled and is owned by the Tiepolo fund managed by Generali Real Estate SGR SpA who collaborated with WeWork also for the coworking in Paris.
Audrey Barbier-Litvak, WeWork Southern Europe General Manager, commented: “Opening a co-working in Italy has been an obvious choice for us. Italy is one of Europe’s leading economies as well as a very dynamic market for small, medium and large enterprises. WeWork operates globally adopting a local strategy. For this reason, we offer to our Italian clients the best services and programs created by a team of people active at a local level while leveraging our experience in over 280 locations worldwide in order to provide services and spaces of the highest quality and the best standards”.
WeWork was founded in 2010 with the objective of creating a network through which people can create a new life, as well as a career. The company has recently received funding from its biggest investor, Softbank, for three billion dollars. The company is valued 42 billion dollars, becoming the American biggest listed startup after Uber and fourth at global level after ByteDance and Didi Chuxing.
In the past few years, the company has radically changed the way of working, focusing on the meaning of work. Today, 70% of the WeWork members are involved in mutual collaborations. Such collaborations facilitate the exchange of ideas and services, and it helps enterprises to grow. Over 268 thousand members work from the WeWork locations all over the world, and the affiliated companies span from startups to medium and large companies. Its international hubs are handy for business travels, besides offering the opportunity to companies to easily expand abroad.
WeWork is basically an intermediary: it takes the leasing for entire spaces and rents them at higher prices after having added a trendy design, a number of facilities such as internet, reception, cleaning, and even free coffee and beer for its members. In this way, companies don’t have to look for an office space, negotiate the contract and take care of the design.
Adam Neumann, 38 years old, is one of the two founders who started subletting the vacant spaces of his baby clothing company (Egg Baby). Today, he’s the WeWork Ceo with equity amounting to 2.5 billion dollars. He commented to Forbes: “Our rating and dimensions today are based on our energy and values, rather than on profits. Culture is our capital”. He met Miguel McKelvey, 41 years, an architect designing stores. They started WeWork together in 2010, it was then called GreenDesk, and it consisted in a floor in a building in Brooklyn which served as an eco-sustainable coworking space.
Jp Morgan Cep Jamie Dimon defined WeWork a lifestyle: “They created a hybrid between a hotel and a tech-company which is something totally different from everything that is currently in the real estate sector”. The secret of WeWork is the authentic and artisanal elements that characterise the spaces, the attention put on every single room, chair or desk to enhance the office experience and to create connections between the members of the community. As WeWork “growth officer” and “resident mad scientist” Dave Fano told Forbes, “developers only sell aluminium, we create iPhones”.
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi