While many flexible workspace operators are feeling the strain of the pandemic and worldwide lockdown orders, others — namely IWG Plc — are taking the opportunity for growth.
In May, IWG announced its intention to raise $390 million to help it expand its footprint of office locations globally. Considering the world was in the grip of a health crisis, this seemed a risky move. So what is CEO Mark Dixon’s strategy?
“What is the future of commercial real estate? Well, it is going to change completely, and [the coronavirus] is a catalyst for change. But we are part of that change,” he said, in an interview with Fortune.
Dixon says that the industry is ripe for consolidation. Putting those words into action, in early June, IWG took over a 30,000 sq ft space in Hong Kong from WeWork. It was the first time IWG had acquired a WeWork property, and given the startup’s ongoing troubles, it may not be the last.
Dixon is so convinced that IWG stands to gain from the current situation that he has invested his own money too, amounting to more than $110 million of his own funds.
“Yes, we use commercial real estate, but we do it in a digital way, where we are allowing people to work from anywhere, at any time. We are also distributed throughout the country. We are not all in city centers, or all in one place.
“WeWork, as you are aware, claimed they were the biggest occupiers of space in London and New York. Clearly that is not something you would want to claim today. You would actually want to say we are everywhere in the U.K., which IWG is, with multiple brands throughout the U.K., throughout the United States.”