Startups

WeWork Aims To Be Free Cash Flow Positive By 2022

WeWork laid out a 5-year plan on Tuesday, including goals to be free cash flow positive by 2022 and have $1 billion of free cash flow by 2024.

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The announcement comes as the company closes a $1.75 billion credit line from Goldman Sachs and soon after WeWork appointed a new CEO, real estate executive Sandeep Mathrani.

As part of the 5-year plan, the company said it expects to post its first-ever quarter with $1 billion in revenue this year. In 2021, it’s aiming to be adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) positive, and in 2022 WeWork’s goal is to be free cash flow positive.

Put simply, free cash flow means a company is “generating more cash than is used to run the business and reinvest to grow the business,” according to Investopedia.

When WeWork filed its S-1 document with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it was clear the company was burning cash. You can read more about the state of WeWork’s finances when it filed to go public here. But the summary of its cash situation is that its operations were consuming a lot of cash ($198.7 million in H1 2019), and the company’s investing cash was even more negative ($2.36 billion in H1 2019).

Looking ahead, WeWork is also aiming for 1 million memberships in 2023, and having $1 billion of free cash flow in 2024. The company had more than 662,000 total memberships by the end of last year.

WeWork attempted to go public last fall but had to scrap its IPO after concerns came up about the company’s finances and corporate governance. Since then, its valuation plummeted, former CEO Adam Neumann stepped down (and was reportedly being paid well to do so, though the company’s chairman told CNBC Monday that the billion-dollar figure wasn’t true), and SoftBank took control of the company.

It laid out a turnaround strategy, which included divesting acquired companies that weren’t part of WeWork’s “core business.”

WeWork had 739 locations as of the end of last year, in 140 cities and 37 countries, according to the company.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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