What We Learned About WeWork’s Education Operations From Its IPO Filing

Aug 14, 2019

The short answer: Not much.

On Wednesday, WeWork (formally called The We Co.) filed long-anticipated financial documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to prepare to go public. Most of the details focus on its flagship workspace-sharing business and the associated costs and revenues for its leasing and membership operations.

But the documents did shed a few details on the company’s nascent education-related operations. In October 2017, WeWork paid about $28 million to buy coding bootcamp operator Flatiron School. Of that amount, $15 million came in the form of cash, and the rest as a mix of common and preferred stock. Flatiron had raised about $14.5 million in venture capital prior to the acquisition.

Following the deal, Flatiron has grown from offering a single course at one New York location to nine campuses in the U.S. and London, according to the documents. WeWork also claimed that Flatiron’s revenues increased over ten times from October 2017 to March 2019.

“In addition, Flatiron School has been able to leverage our relationships with universities to develop partnerships that benefit the university students, while also providing Flatiron School graduates access to employment opportunities with our members,” the company added. In January 2018, The We Co. partnered with 2U, an online provider of graduate degree programs and short courses, to let 2U students use WeWork offices for free. 2U has also licensed Flatiron’s technology for use.

In August 2018, Flatiron bought Designation, a Chicago-based company that offers a digital and design educational program.

Little is divulged about WeGrow, the division of the company led by co-founder Rebekah Neumann and wife of WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. It’s described as “an independent elementary school focused on supporting the growth of children’s minds, bodies and souls through an integrated curriculum” and opened its first school last year in New York. “We also expect to expand our education and learning programs to broaden the reach of our grow mission,” according to the documents.

In May 2018, The We Co. spent $4 million to acquire MissionU, effectively shuttering the company that attempted to create a one-year college alternative. MissionU’s website is no longer active, but the deal gave MissionU founder and CEO Adam Braun a new role as chief operating office of WeGrow.

Across all its operations, The We Co. reported about $1.5 billion in revenue in the first six months of 2019 and posted a net loss of about $905 million.


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