Co-working space giant WeWork on Tuesday announced that it has acquired 15 year old social network startup Meetup for an undisclosed amount. Meetup conducts community workshops and gatherings for people and aficionados sharing common hobbies and interests. The latest acquisition marks yet another attempt by the company to go beyond its traditional business of renting affordable space to freelancers and aspiring businesses.
This year WeWork has been on a roll in trying out things that don’t conventionally fit into its business model. Be it the acquisition of coding bootcamp Flatiron School or trying to solve education problems of grade school or investing in a promising women’s networking space or buying out the famous headquarters of Lord & Taylor.
The acquisition of Meetup seems to be the latest addition to WeWork’s growing list of unconventional business decisions. But the acquisition of Meetup makes some conventional sense, at least on paper it does. After all, Meetup has 35 million members on its platform, with now majority of these members becoming potentials customers for WeWork. As such, having access to 35 million members will provide a lot of food for thought for the co-working giant.
While speaking to media WeWork’s new Chief Brand Officer Mr. Julie Rice provided insight on how acquisitions like Meetup will help the company in the long run. He said that the company wants to foster an image of boosting strong community and network, rather than a company that merely owns real estate places for offering co-working spaces.
WeWork currently sits on huge stash of funds that gives it ample luxury to carry out such experimentations. Japanese giant SoftBank was the latest to infuse capital in this co-working mammoth, with the investment of around $4.4 billion. This investment has shoot up company’s valuation to approximately $17 billion, propelling the company into the league of Uber and Airbnb.