WeWork co-working space
Nick Tortajada—VRX Studios/WeWork


Redefining the office

WeWork’s vibrant co-working spaces—with their open plans, airy designs and perks like gourmet coffee and even beer—are transforming modern office culture well beyond the company’s own facilities. When Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey founded WeWork in 2010, the focus was on giving startup entrepreneurs an instant solution for office space. But as WeWork has grown, so has its influence: clients now include corporate giants looking for flexible, millennial-friendly work space. And under a new initiative called Powered by We, companies including UBS and Hony Capital pay WeWork to redesign their own existing spaces and rejuvenate the work atmosphere. WeWork’s footprint now spans 23 countries and 268,000 members, including individuals and companies. The start up has been spending big on real estate, like it’s $850 million purchase of New York’s Lord & Taylor, putting it on track to become Manhattan’s largest office tenant—the type of expansion that has generated fears of a bubble among some skeptics. But the company is confident even more companies, large and small, will be drawn to its approach. Meanwhile, it’s also experimenting with spaces for living (WeLive), wellness (Rise By We) and education (an elementary school dubbed WeGrow). —Casey Quackenbush

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