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WeWork Layoffs 2016: 7 Percent Staff Cuts, Hiring Freeze

WeWork, a unicorn recently valued at $16 billion, is having layoffs, cutting seven percent of its staff and instituting a short-term hiring freeze, Bloomberg reported. It’s the latest sign that the unicorn herd could be thinning and under pressure amid the week IPO market.

Unicorns are privately held, venture-backed startups valued at $1 billion or more. WeWork raised about $430 million in its latest funding round earlier this year, and headcount stands at about 1,000, Bloomberg said. The company, founded in 2010, blends shared office spaces with a community strategy.

The company offers month-to-month commitment agreements on shared office space, including furniture, broadband, conference room time, ‘arcade’ style perks, managed print services, networking across its member community, and healthcare discounts via TriNet. Each member desk costs about $325 or more per month. Some folks consider it the AirBnB or Uber of office space.

It all sounds pretty darn impressive — until the layoff chatter surfaced today. Using Bloomberg’s math, it sounds like the company is cutting about 70 employees. On the one hand, that’s a major red flag for a pre-IPO company. But on the other hand, WeWork is downplaying the cuts — insisting that hiring will resume soon and that overall company headcount will grow this year, Bloomberg said.

Though not a pure-play technology company, WeWork is popular among technology entrepreneurs and tech businesses that want low-cost meeting space or branch locations that don’t have lease commitments. WeWork is the latest in a growing list of companies to have layoffs this year.

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