The SoftBank Group and WeWork Companies (“WeWork”) today announced a joint venture that will bring WeWork’s transformational platform of space, community, and services for companies of all sizes — including creators, entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, and large multinational enterprises — to Japan. The SoftBank Group*1 and WeWork will each own 50% of the joint venture, which will operate under the name of WeWork Japan. By entering Japan, WeWork will expand its global community and connect its more than 130,000 members to the innovative and growing Japanese market.
“Driven by Adam’s superior vision and his highly talented team, WeWork is disrupting preconceived notions of work styles and opening up myriad opportunities for the next generation of creators around the world by taking a scientific approach that fully utilizes the latest technologies,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. “With this joint venture, we look forward to collaborating with WeWork to offer new possibilities for people in Japan.”
“At WeWork, we want to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living,” said Adam Neumann, Co-Founder and CEO of WeWork. “When I met Masa and understood his vision for a technology-enabled future, a vision I share, I knew that together we would be able to make a big impact, grow our community and change how and where people work. Both WeWork and SoftBank have established reputations for connecting people and creating partnerships to facilitate innovation and inspire new ideas. SoftBank shares our tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit and through collaboration we will work to benefit people and communities in many innovative ways. We are only as strong as our people and partners, so we look forward to our future with SoftBank, welcoming Japan into our global community and helping more creators and businesses to collaborate and innovate together in ways they could not yet imagine.”
WeWork, a platform for creators, has created an extensive global network of shared workspaces. The company provides an entirely new way to work by offering flexible space, services, and a connected community network to creators, entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, and multinational companies. WeWork’s “space as a service” solution enables companies of all sizes to enter and exit markets opportunistically, grow and shrink office footprints according to their needs, and pursue new business lines and ideas in a way that best suits their particular needs. In offering its services in Japan, WeWork hopes to build connections between non-Japanese members of WeWork’s global network and the creators and businesses that drive the world’s third largest economy.
In the last year, WeWork has diversified its product offering to better accommodate the needs of enterprise companies. Today, more than 10% of Fortune 500 companies are members with WeWork. This segment represents the fastest growing member demographic for WeWork and it now accounts for more than 20% of WeWork’s total membership, indicating the enormous potential for encouraging large and well-established companies to collaborate and innovate within WeWork’s member community.
WeWork is committed to challenging outdated ways of building, using, and interacting with physical space in a working environment. To do this, it deploys industry-leading software and technology to maximize the efficiency of its portfolio of workspace locations and its operations, and thereby increase member satisfaction. The Company also uses data-driven analytics to better understand how people operate in the workplace and uses these insights to develop its product and create an even more compelling offering for its members. As one of the few end-to-end product companies that acts as an owner, operator, and client organization, WeWork has developed proprietary technological data systems that can source, design, and ultimately manage buildings.
WeWork is creating a digital operating system for physical space that leverages data and technology at each point in the building process so it can make better sourcing decisions, improve its designs, build faster and smarter, and ultimately improve the lives of the people working within its buildings. Its cutting-edge technologies and dedication to technological innovation is one of the key reasons why WeWork has been able to scale from operating one workspace location to more than 150 in just over seven years.
WeWork plans to launch its first location in Tokyo in early 2018. To oversee this launch and scale its Japanese operations, WeWork has appointed Chris Hill to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of WeWork Japan. Chris joined WeWork in 2010 shortly after its founding to serve as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure at WeWork, Chris has held several key executive functions, which include serving as the Global Head of Community and Operations and, most recently, serving as the Global Chief Community Officer. In these roles, Chris has created, implemented, and scaled many of the processes, operational frameworks, and strategies that are used to run WeWork communities and create the highest level of member experience. Over the past two years, Chris has spent extensive time overseas successfully scaling the WeWork brand in foreign markets.