News broke this week that WeWork China, the shared office giant WeWork’s Chinese arm, has raised $500 million more. The new capital values the firm at $5 billion, a fraction of the value of WeWork proper, but a huge sum all the same.
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Per TechCrunch, investors in the new round include SoftBank’s Vision Fund (a huge investor in WeWork itself), SoftBank as an organization, and Temasek, among others. As the Financial Times notes, WeWork China raised $500 million about a year ago in a transaction that put a value of $1 billion on the company.
From $1 billion to $5 billion, WeWork China quadrupled its valuation in a year.
All this is getting a bit silly and hard to keep track of. With debt, two companies, and rounds from investors of all sorts, it’s time for a quick refresher.
WeWork’s Fundraising Race
Let’s go back through WeWork and WeWork China’s fundraising from the start of 2017 and onward. Here is what the numbers look like.
- July 2017: WeWork raised a $760 million Series G. The new capital values the firm at around $20 billion (some sources dispute the valuation).
- July 2017: WeWork China raised a $500 million Series A. The new capital values the firm at around $1 billion.
- August 2017: WeWork raised $500 million to “expand operations in South Korea and Southeast Asia.”
- August 2017: WeWork raised $4.4 billion from the Vision Fund and SoftBank itself. Some of the funds go to secondary purchases. The resulting valuation is unknown.
- April 2018: WeWork raised $702 million in bond sale, paying 7.875 percent on the debt. WeWork originally targeted a $500 million sale. The WSJ reiterates the $20 billion valuation figure at the time.
- July 2018: WeWork China raised a $500 million Series B, valuing the firm at $5 billion.
Despite some publicly-disclosed rounds, though, there’s much about WeWork that remains uncertain. It’s difficult to track WeWork’s valuation through time as that type of information seems to fade into the background after the company’s Series G. However, at the time of its 2016 $690 million Series F, WeWork’s pre-money valuation came to $16.2 billion, according to Crunchbase. WeWork’s 2015, $434 million Series E valued the firm at a pre-money valuation of $9.6 billion. Its 2014, $355 million Series D put a sticker value on the firm at $4.6 billion before the new money was counted, and so on.
But with an opaque valuation or not, WeWork and WeWork China have proved prodigious fundraisers in the last year or so, putting on a masterclass in new capital accretion if nothing else.
It’s uncertain how much this collection of corporations will be worth if its shares ever manage to hit public markets. Competition abounds, and, even more, the raw numbers compared to market comps still don’t add up.
But it’s 2018, megarounds rule the world, and nothing else, it seems, matters.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias