WeWork, the office of choice for “cool” startups from San Francisco to London, has expanded its empire by acquiring Flatiron School, the coding bootcamp.
Terms were not disclosed, but the deal fits in with WeWork’s target of becoming not just a place to work, but also to live, network, and learn. WeWork plans to roll out the Flatiron School across a number of its offices. Since opening seven years ago in New York, WeWork is now operating in 16 additional countries.
WeWork has been getting a lot of flack lately for its $20 billion valuation, which made it the most highly valued private company in the US after Uber and Airbnb.
Commenters have pointed out this is an outrageous price tag to put on a company that essentially rents out “cool” offices. WeWork, however, fancies itself to be a lot more than that, with aspirations to become the foremost expert on offices – an office-as-a-service company, if you will.
WeWork has been on an expansion spree, recently having acquired Singaporean competitor Spacemob as part of a big push into Asia. The company is partnering with SoftBank on a Tokyo expansion, after having raised $4.4 billion from Softbank’s Vision Fund in August. WeWork also acquired Unomy in an effort to improve its enterprise client sales, not long after bringing onboard Fieldlens, a mobile communications outfit focusing on the construction industry.
“We are all students for life,” wrote WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann as the Flatiron deal was announced. The walls of WeWork are plastered with the phrase “Do what you love” – whether or not this is good business advice is debatable, but it does create the kind of inspirational atmosphere that’s a vital ingredient to such lofty valuations. Now, however, WeWork has to show investors that they can do math and turn a profit.
Whether WeWork can possibly earn its $20 billion remains to be seen, but the acquisition of the Flatiron School is exactly the kind of deal that the company should be making to show it’s on the right track.