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Co-working space pioneer WeWork lost $504 million (£412 million) in the first three months of the year but claimed it is on the road to making money.
Revenue in the first quarter rose 28% year-on-year to hit $765 million as sales of desks at its shared offices, minus franchise locations, hit the highest level since 2020. But losses persisted as the company continues to struggle for profitability.
While large, first quarter losses were down from an even bigger $2 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Founded in 2010, WeWork was once worth as much as $47 billion but suffered a spectacular fall from grace after an aborted IPO in 2019.
The Icarus-like rise and fall was recently adapted for TV in the Apple TV+ mini-series ‘We Crashed’, starring Oscar winners Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann who were ousted shortly after the failed IPO. The company was forced into a bailout from its biggest investor SoftBank.
WeWork eventually went public last year through a SPAC deal in the US and is now valued at $4.4 billion.
CEO Sandeep Mathrani said WeWork had now constructed “a more sound and disciplined operating model” and was “well-positioned to capture demand, grow occupancy, and achieve revenue goals”.
“WeWork can be a solution for optimizing space utilization in a flexible hybrid work environment,” he said.
In total, it sold 211,000 desks, including renewals, in the first quarter. That compared to 217,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021. WeWork’s average lease was 20 months.
Occupancy at the company’s locations was 67% as of the end of the first quarter, a 4% on the final few months of 2021. The number of customers on it premium All Access memberships increased to 55,000 by the close of the first quarter, up 22% on the previous quarter.
The company now has 633 locations and 33 countries, which encompass an estimated 746,000 workstations and 501,000 physical memberships.