The secret to growing your business may be in your office space

Nearly 50 percent of members say WeWork has helped them enter new markets. Here’s how they’re doing it

WeWork’s 2019 Global Impact Report reveals how WeWork helps individuals and businesses thrive, energizes neighborhoods, and accelerates economic growth in 75 cities around the world. Here are some of our community’s stories.

Gympass started just like so many other great business ideas: out of frustration. In 2011, co-founder and global CEO Cesar Carvalho was working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company when he noticed how, well, frustrating it was to find accessible, affordable fitness options while on the road. So a year later, while enrolled at Harvard Business School, Carvalho decided to leave HBS to launch the corporate wellness benefit, which connects employees to nearby gyms and studios.

What was once the pie-in-the-sky solution to Carvalho’s consultant woes is now a company that’s active in 14 countries, serving more than 1,500 clients, with more than 45,000 associated gyms worldwide and a range of nearly 900 different activities. That Gympass has also been a WeWork member since 2015 may not be a coincidence.

Today, more and more companies of all makes and models, organizations and sizes, are coming to WeWork to help grow their businesses and expand all over the world—30 percent of the Fortune 500 are WeWork members. According to WeWork’s 2019 Global Impact Report, 54 percent of members globally credit WeWork with accelerating their company’s growth, while 46 percent of members say WeWork has helped them enter new markets. That’s why Gympass came to WeWork, says Nikki Salenetri, Gympass’s U.S. head of human resources.

“When expanding to Europe in 2015, and then to the U.S. in 2018, the team knew we would need multiple smaller offices for local teams to work out of, and that they would need them to be up and running quickly. WeWork was the perfect solution,” says Salenetri. “The company was able to set up shop in prime locations without having to worry about the logistics that come with opening a new office, like activating phones, Wi-Fi, and other amenities. This allowed the team to focus on growing the business.”

Growth, of course, is key. McKinsey reports that corporate survival rates are boosted by strong growth and that growth is a critical driver of overall company performance. But sustained, consistent growth is difficult to achieve; it’s far easier for a rocket to simply blast off than it is to then throttle into orbit.

“We’ve gone from 40 to 400 people in a year, and it would have been impossible to do that without WeWork. Impossible,” says Francis Moran, VP of finance at travel-management company TripActions, which joined WeWork in 2018 and now operates workspaces out of San Francisco and New York. “It’s not just about getting it done; it’s about getting it done right. WeWork has enabled our 10-fold growth in a way that still embodies who we are as a company.”

WeWork members work in 89 industries worldwide, in companies as diverse as aircraft parts manufacturing, policy nonprofits, and wineries. That mix of fields under one roof gives members a competitive edge: The Harvard Business Review reports that working close to people in different industries offers unexpected opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving, and can help drive radical innovation—and growth—within firms.

Cousins David Lancheros and Nicolás Rojas started mobile-development business Imagine Apps in 2012 to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Colombia develop tech products at a fair price. When it came time to scale the business, Lancheros and Rojas moved Imagine Apps into Bogota’s WeWork Calle 93 #19-55 in 2017.

“After a couple of months at WeWork, we saw a rising number of clients and referrals,” says Lancheros. “We saw our project numbers go up, and people were talking about us.”

Salenetri says the Gympass team appreciates the opportunity to work alongside other ambitious entrepreneurs, gaining knowledge and making connections through member programming like lunch-and-learns and other networking events.

The sentiment is echoed by Jili Liu, head of Nio Life, the lifestyle subsidiary of Chinese electric-car company Nio, for which WeWork designed a custom open-plan office space complete with a retail showroom and a recording studio at Shanghai’s WeWork One ITC.

“WeWork’s design encourages spontaneous interaction between their members, who come from a variety of professional backgrounds,” says Liu. “At WeWork, small businesses can grow quickly, and big business can be inspired by new ideas.”

Looking ahead, Gympass will only continue to make Carvalho’s fitness solution a reality for even more people, be they traveling consultants or 9-to-5 employees. To do so, the company will stick to its tenets of cooperation and communication, which is where—again—WeWork comes in.

“Some employees have even started collecting stickers from all the [WeWork] office locations they’ve been to, adorning their laptops with a view of their travels,” says Salenetri. “Our entire team focuses on building strong, trusting relationships, both internally and externally. It’s at the heart of the company model and will always be a priority for the company.”

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