- Ucommune, formerly known as UrWork, has completed its acquisition of Chinese workspace brand, Woo Space.
- The deal has boosted the value of Ucommune to approximately US $1.7bn.
- Woo Space founder Wan Liushuo, who was born in the 1990s, brings “deep insights” into the needs of young entrepreneurs.
China’s largest coworking space provider, UrWork (Beijing) Venture Investment Co. Ltd, known as ucommune, has completed its acquisition of China’s Woo Space.
The announcement comes two months after ucommune’s acquisition of New Space, boosting the valuation of ucommune to US $1.7bn.
“The merger draws on the cultural and technical strengths of both companies – community spirit, commercial development, and ecological development. All our members will be integrated to our ucommune platform to enable more efficient and effective operations and better community synergy,” says Dr. Mao Daqing, who founded ucommune in 2015.
“Woo Space is a team that I have admired and followed closely. The 1990s-born CEO has deep insights into the needs of young people in the coworking space and is keen on developing the potential of youths. The team’s astute ability to identify good location and their knowledge of cross-border relationships within the E-commerce industry have inspired ucommune,” says Dr. Mao.
Wan Liushuo, founder and CEO of Woo Space says, “Ucommune has a wealth of cross-regional, large-scale operational and management experience, as well as diversified financial operation capability. Both parties will be fully committed to synergizing resources, management capabilities to maximise our market share and commercial performance in membership operations and brand building.”
Coworking space upgrading
This strategic merger of the two strong players will drive further integration and upgrading of the industry in China. The post-merger strategy will focus on platform upgrading, integrating the membership system, enhancing exchanges and cooperation between the two companies in location and corporate service resources, as well as the standardization of community operation services, which will set the industry benchmark in the coworking sector.
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In recent years, coworking space sector has been growing at a year-to-year rate of 30%. It is estimated that by 2019, the total operating area of coworking space in China will reach 51 million square meters. By 2030, 30% of office space will exist in the form of coworking spaces. In the next five years, the development of a platform and sharing economy will become an important part of promoting the growth of the new economy.
Member-oriented community service
As the only Unicorn startup in the coworking sector in China, ucommune has built up a strong member community through incorporating artificial intelligence and big data to its proprietary IT platform. The O2O model in tandem with China’s mass entrepreneurship policy has considerably increased startup operation efficiency and revitalised latent commercial real estate spaces, contributing positively to building an active and synergistic online and offline community.
Woo Space was established in 2015 and has been deeply rooted in Chinese community culture. The founding team members are all 1990s-born and have elite academic backgrounds. They count Matrix China, Xinli Capital Group, Meihua Angel Investment and Qingshan Capital as their investors. At present, they have 23 locations in the country, covering a total area of 100,000 square meters, servicing 700+ enterprises.
In early 2016, ucommune participated in the A-round financing of Woo Space through strategic equity investment. After the merger, both parties will leverage their complementary strengths to enhance the integration and engagement with newly jointed community, and to create value-adding services through the platform. The newly formed entity will work relentlessly to address the problems of the coworking industry, while forging new breakthroughs through tapping the community synergy and incorporating new technologies.
The total number of members is estimated to reach over 200,000 after the merger. Backed by renowned investors such as Sequoia Capital, Real-World Fund, Zhen Fund, Matrix China, Sinovation Ventures, Hongtai Fund, Noah Wealth and Wutong Acquisition Fund, Castle Peak Capital and others, the newly formed joint entity will tap the shared capital resources to unleash more commercial synergy and to pursue a higher level of community engagement, as well as technological advancement.