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Inside WeWork’s $20B Valuation: Is It Really Worth It?

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In 2010, WeWork opened their first space in New York City. Eight years, and many billions later, WeWork is now the most hyped startup in the world.

By definition, WeWork’s model is ridiculously straightforward. WeWork is an office leasing company…that doesn’t own any properties.

What WeWork does is this:

They take up big commercial leases. They then decorate the space in their signature style with beer and coffee on tap. From there, WeWork rents out the same office space to freelancers, startups and smaller businesses in smaller chunks and month-to-month.

Despite not holding any assets initially (though that’s changing), WeWork has grown at a frenetic pace nonetheless. From nearly $1M in seed funding back in 2011, WeWork jumped to $1.5B three years later before peaking at the huge current $20B valuation.

By comparison, major property owner REIT SL Green — which actually owns real estate — is valued at $8.9B.

This insane level of growth has led to industry chatter that WeWork could be overvalued. In fact, others say their real valuation figure is $3B, based on revenue metrics of competitors like IWG and Regus.

Not to mention this: WeWork isn’t even profitable.

To make some sort of sense of all this, let’s take a look at their model, what they’re up to, and what’s in store for the coworking giant.

Creating efficient ecosystems

No longer a new entrant to the shared office space economy, WeWork aims to be the go-to platform for businesses.

Or as they say, in the WeWork Manifesto: First, Office Space. Next, the World.”

Rather than just offering space, WeWork’s business model enables startups to focus on driving their business through the community of startups in their spaces.

One of its primary goals is to create an ecosystem that provides a range of services—right from free drinks to conference rooms and wireless services.

From the standpoint of managing space, WeWork has an efficiency that would make any slumlord green with envy (and that’s a compliment): WeWork has one workstation for every 50 square feet.

Phenomenal growth

Crammed up space aside—the companies seem to like working side-by-side, WeWork’s disruptive model has played host to over 250,000 members across 22 countries.

Most analysts remain upbeat about its momentum, as well. Especially with its plans to open almost 400 offices across 27 countries in 2019. A move that will double the number of members year-over-year.

Co-working to ‘co-living’

The next business vertical is the co-living one with their WeLive concept. Their first one opened in 2016 right above an existing WeWork office on 110 Wall Street in New York City.

With WeLive, WeWork offers furnished, move-in apartments with a similar ethos to the office space—just show up with your bag and you’re ready to live.

The rents for these apartments will be inclusive of internet connection and cleaning services, with similar short-term month-to-month leases.

The company’s “WeLive” business model can be a high growth segment for WeWork. The co-living vertical might offset any decline in demand from commercial businesses.

But are they profitable, though?!

No. We mentioned that. But they don’t necessarily want to be. And they are hacking their top line revenue substantially.

An increase in occupancy rates has led WeWork to squeeze more revenue out of existing markets. Rapid expansion also played a major role in revenue growth.

Strategic choice or not, WeWork continues to book losses and burn cash. In the first six months of 2018, WeWork posted losses of $723M on revenue of $764M.

This does not concern investors as they are looking at the huge market opportunity available for WeWork. Japan-based Softbank, one of the largest investors in WeWork, has invested a whopping $4.4B in the company.

(That’s another story we will tell another time. Including how CEO Adam Neumann rode with the Softbank boss and signed a $3B investment deal on a digital cocktail napkin right there.)

The money backers expect WeWork’s valuation to reach $35B in the next round of funding.

This would put WeWork above other unicorns including Airbnb ($31B) and SpaceX (approx. $22B), making it the second-most valuable start-up in the United States behind Uber.

ENTREPRENEURS

Investors Reveal: 3 Major Mistakes Aspiring Entrepreneurs Make

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There’s an old saying about first time entrepreneurs—they don’t know what they don’t know. 

No matter what field you are in, or what type of business you own, it is so important that you understand some of the mistakes that tend to plague so many entrepreneurs in today’s market.

There is one main mistake you can avoid from the jump. But it’s the same one many founders miss, investor Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin says.

“Most people come up with a solution first, without thinking through the problem,” Eckersley-Maslin told CNBC.

More often than not, aspiring entrepreneurs come up with a great idea…only to discover there’s no need. 

This looks pretty obvious, at first, but you’d be amazed to know how many people overlook it. So what are the right moves to make?

Here are some common mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make.

1) Underestimate the amount of time it takes to learn a new industry

“One dumb mistake I made is to underestimate the barrier and knowhow when entering into a new industry,” says Zhifei Li, Founder & CEO of the Beijing-headquartered Mobvoi, the maker of the smartwatch called Ticwatch.

“Irrelevant experience can be a burden,” Zhifei Li, Founder & CEO of Mobvoi & Ticwatch. “Stay humble, stay hungry.”

 

2) Holding on to an under-performing employee for too long

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Chris Myers, the CEO and co-founder of the Denver-based financial tracking and analytics tools for small businesses BodeTree, says he held on to an under-performing employee for too long.

“I hesitated to take action, instead holding out hope that somehow the individual would fix their behavior and get back on the right track,” says Myers. 

3) Launching a company with no customer validation

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Victor Chang’s first startup idea, LifeCrumbs, a social journaling app, seemed brilliant to him. But Chang never tested it with potential consumers and that was, he says, a “terrible mistake.” He spent five months building the app in stealth mode.

“This hurts a lot because when we finally launched the service, we realized this isn’t what the customers were looking for!” In hindsight, Chang says, LifeCrumbs wasn’t different enough from existing products to be successful.

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ENTREPRENEURS

How The Greats Stay Ahead: 3 Hacks For Peak Productivity From NBA All-Stars

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We can all learn a thing or two about productivity from the world of sports. Whether you’re LeBron James or or Serena Williams, when it’s time to hit the court, there are no excuses.

There’s a lot we can learn from athletes about peak productivity. You don’t even have to play sports professionally to apply some of their hacks to get the most from your working hours.

Here are three hacks to maximize your productivity. (Even if you aren’t an athlete.)

1) Recovery Is Key

Lakers star Kobe Bryant was notorious for one other thing besides his fierce rivalry with the Boston Celtics. Kobe was a firm believer in the ice bath after a basketball game.

In a Facebook post in 2014, Kobe wrote, “Just finished training, so ice bath is everyday.” He also posted a video of himself getting into his ice bath.

While ice baths may be uncomfortable, they help athletes reduce inflammation and muscle pain. This helps the athlete recover more quickly after a game.

Thinking about recovery and giving yourself a break can help you prepare for more productive work ahead. This will mean different things for everyone.

For one person, it could be getting a massage or reading a book, whatever relaxes you.

You might notice that you feel fresh and ready to go when the next week rolls around.

2) Hydrate—2019 Style

We all know this but it’s a healthy reminder nonetheless: Water helps the body build muscle and repair itself more quickly.

During the day, your body loses water due to the heat and the body’s own processes. You will also lose some electrolytes, leaving your body feeling tired and sluggish.

Gatorade was a pioneer in this space, adding a soft drink with electrolytes, though heavy on sugar. These days you have sugar-free products like Aqua+ that give you benefits of Gatorade while removing the “bad” it brings.

“Aqua+ is an oral rehydration solution designed to help you hydrate faster and more effectively than water alone,” CEO of More Labs Sisun Lee says.

Formerly known as 82Labds, More Labs is a fast-growing biohacking beverage startup—think liquid version of the Limitless pill—that started out of Silicon Valley in July 2017.

Since then, More Labs’ has grown to $13M+ in sales through various products, raised $8M in a Series A round last year, according to TechCrunch, earning a $33M valuation.

“On top of electrolytes,” Sisun says, “Aqua+ Immunity combines seven essential vitamins to strengthen your body’s defenses”.

You can check out Aqua+ by MoreLabs here.

3) Pay Off Your Sleep Debt

via GIPHY

A final hack to peak productivity is to reduce or eliminate your “sleep debt.”

Let’s face it. Most of us are probably running on less than the recommended amount of sleep.

According to the health experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, sleep deprivation can increase your risk of heart disease by 48% and 36% for colorectal cancer.

If that sounds like a recipe for health trouble, you can be sure it will mess with your productivity as well.

Sure, you can get away with the occasional all-nighter or skimping on sleep here and there.

Long term, however, the consequences might not be so rosy.

The best productivity hack you can make today is to reduce or eliminate your sleep debt completely. [f][g]

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More Labs is a venture capital-backed biohacking supplement company that started with the basic idea that you shouldn’t have to compromise between having fun and being productive. Since launching in 2017, More Labs has racked up $13M in revenue and a $33M valuation.

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ENTREPRENEURS

This Ex-Tesla Engineer’s $33M Startup Wants To Kill Hangovers Forever—Here’s How He’s Doing It

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Hangovers: We all had them. They suck.

Hangovers come about when we drink more alcohol than our livers can handle, leading to a type of toxic acid buildup. Along with dehydration. And headaches from hell. 

So now, one ambitious Facebook and Tesla alum wants to kill hangovers forever—and he’s got big VC money behind him. 

Since launching out of Silicon Valley in 2017, fueled by his hangover killer “Morning Recovery,” generating $13M in revenue en route to a whopping $33M valuation.

And the mission is now to kill hangovers. Forever.

How do you kill hangovers?!

With the help of a UCLA researcher publishing papers on herbal remedies for hangovers, along with other tech engineer friends, they created their own formula.

And it’s worked. Big time. 

According to Business Insider, the product sold a whopping $1M in under three months of launching.  

That’s not a typo.

But…how?

During a long trip to Korea, Sisun Lee was partying every night, then working the next morning, hangover or not. Which led to the idea that hangovers could be managed.

“My friends would go to work the next day and they would swear by these hangover drinks with an herbal base,” Lee told TechCrunch last year.

He tried it on his friends at Tesla plus his former co-workers at Facebook. 

“I was basically getting drunk every single night,” Sisun told Business Insider, seemingly immune to hangovers. “I wondered, did I not drink enough?”

A Toronto VC put it on Product Hunt—a website that helps launch new products—where it immediately shot to No. 2, with 10K people signing up to try it. 

So what is More Labs? 

His company More Labs is a FDA-compliant (pretty big deal) biohacking beverage startup, which produces various productivity, health and hydration products. 

Think Limitless meets Gatorade without the sugar. (With FDA approval.)

On the heels of the crazy launch, Sisun raised a small seed round to bankroll production, forcing him to quit his Tesla gig. 

And it became increasingly obvious that he had to quit his job and give running this company a try.

“Leaving Tesla was a very tough decision. If I could have done both, I would have,” he said

Aqua+…

This week, Sisun Lee, founder of More Labs, is launching Aqua+, a water product designed to make you hydrate faster. 

On the heels of success of More Labs’ flagship product Morning Recovery, Sisun’s next product is designed to help you hydrate faster than water…without the sugar.

Basically water on steroids…hence Aqua+. (Aqua plus, get it?)

“Aqua+ is an oral rehydration solution designed to help you hydrate faster and more effectively than water alone,” Sisun says. 

“On top of electrolytes,” Sisun says, “Aqua+ Immunity combines seven essential vitamins to strengthen your body’s defenses”.

[Editor’s note: If you want to try out Aqua+, smash this link right here.]

 

More Labs is a venture capital-backed biohacking beverage startup that started with the basic idea that you shouldn’t have to compromise between having fun and being productive. Since launching in 2017, More Labs has racked up $13M in revenue and a $33M valuation.

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