MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WeWork, the leading flexible space provider, today announced a joint venture with SoftBank Latin America Fund, the largest venture fund in Latin America, that provides SoftBank Latin America Fund with the exclusive right to operate the WeWork brand in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. The joint venture combines the strength of WeWork’s product with SoftBank Latin America Fund’s proven local operating expertise, and solidifies WeWork’s position as the partner of choice for companies seeking flexible space solutions in Latin America.
As the post-pandemic office approach calls for greater flexibility and a hybrid model, WeWork is at the forefront of the future of work. Over the past year, the company has continued to execute against its strategic plan for strengthening operations in its primary markets, while also developing partnerships with regional affiliates to operate the brand in select international markets. In the first quarter of 2021, WeWork reported sequential month-over-month growth in global memberships. In addition, the company also achieved both positive net desk sales and positive net membership gains for the first time since February 2020 and has continued to see sales strength carry over into April and May.
Today’s announcement demonstrates WeWork’s continued progress in pursuing asset light arrangements that enhance international markets with local capital and operating expertise. This model has already proven successful in WeWork’s China, India, and Japan markets, all of which have realized sustainable growth after adopting a regional approach to the business. In addition, WeWork recently announced a localized model in Israel with partner Ampa.
In Latin America, WeWork opened its first building in Mexico City in 2016. Five years later, WeWork has expanded its reach in the region to more than 90 buildings across 18 cities, providing flexible and innovative space solutions to more than 60,000 members. Over the past four months alone, the Latin America market has seen a double digit increase in occupancy to nearly 50% as companies in the region turn to flexible solutions. As WeWork continues to optimize its business around the world, working with a local partner in Latin America best positions the company for ongoing growth in the region.
Launched in 2019, the SoftBank Latin America Fund is the largest technology fund focused exclusively on the fast-growing Latin American market. The $5B SoftBank Latin America Fund partners with a variety of companies and entrepreneurs to accelerate tech-focused innovation and to define the future of Latin America. The SoftBank Latin America Fund’s deep understanding of the local landscape, expanding network, and operating expertise differentiated the company as the ideal partner to grow WeWork’s business in Latin America after a competitive review by WeWork for the right to operate the brand in the region.
Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of WeWork, said: “Our joint venture with SoftBank Latin America Fund is the latest example of WeWork’s continued progress toward optimizing our international markets with local capital and operating expertise. The localized model has already proven very successful in our China, India, and Japan markets where we have seen consistent, positive growth through partnerships with regional affiliates. As Latin America will continue to be an important market for WeWork, we have found the right partner in Softbank Latin America Fund to successfully move our business forward.”
Marcelo Claure, WeWork Chairman and SoftBank Group International CEO, said: “SoftBank is the perfect partner for WeWork given our understanding of the global and local landscape, our expanding ecosystem of investments in the region, and our deep familiarity with WeWork’s business model. As part of our process to select exceptional companies for our SoftBank Latin America portfolio, we saw great potential to leverage both our capital and operating expertise, pulling together a compelling offer for this joint venture. Flexible space is a global megatrend with great growth potential in Latin America, and we look forward to scaling the offer in the region.”
The joint venture will be led by Claudia Woods, who is joining the SoftBank Latin America Fund from her prior role as CEO of Uber in Brazil. Claudia also sits on the Board of AmBev and Oi and was recently named by Forbes as one of the 20 most powerful women in Brazil. Claudio Hidalgo, the existing Head of WeWork Latin America, will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Michel Combes, President of SoftBank Group International, will serve as chairman of the board.
WeWork was founded in 2010 with the vision to create environments where people and companies come together and do their best work. Since opening our first location in New York City, we’ve grown into a global flexible space provider committed to delivering technology-driven flexible solutions, inspiring spaces, and unmatched community experiences. Today, we're constantly reimagining how the workplace can help everyone, from freelancers to Fortune 500s, be more motivated, productive, and connected. For more information about WeWork, please visit us at wework.com.