The We Company is changing its name back to WeWork

By Katie Canales

The We Company announced Wednesday that it is changing its name to WeWork — again.

The coworking startup launched in 2010 as WeWork, and opted to rebrand as The We Company in January 2019 as it ventured outside of office space into residential and educational units. And after nearly two years, the company is returning to its original name.

"This announcement marks the latest milestone in the company's efforts to focus on its core product and cement itself as a global end-to-end business solutions leader," the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company startup has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as has much of the real estate world. WeWork is grappling with large vacancies in many of its markets, including New York City and Los Angeles, and has even joined hands with such established commercial real estate firms as JLL and CBRE to help fill them. The company has laid off hundreds of employees, as many companies have had to do during the pandemic, but it has also revealed plans to "reward" employees during a year that has been tougher than others.

However, the pandemic is only the latest challenge WeWork has faced.

Last September, the company geared up for what was expected to be a $47 billion IPO. But the company faced widespread criticism when its S-1 filing revealed its financial conditions, business practices, and questionable management by cofounder and then CEO Adam Neumann. The company ousted Neumann, grappled with a potential bankruptcy, and ended up pulling its IPO. 

Softbank, the Japanese holding giant, bet heavily on WeWork, pouring $9 billion into the company before its IPO unraveled. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son acknowledged in an early 2020 interview that the firm "paid too much valuation for WeWork and we did too much believe in the entrepreneur," according to Forbes.

In February, Sandeep Mathrani took over the reins as CEO of the company and has since embarked on a mission to turn it around. As of May, the company was valued around $2.9 billion