WeWork’s China rival Ucommune said to mull up to $200m US IPO

Photo: Ucommune

Ucommune is preparing to raise as much as $200 million in a 2020 U.S. initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said, a capital infusion that would help the loss-making Chinese startup battle WeWork Cos. across the world’s No. 2 economy.

The four-year-old company is seeking to raise at least $100 million, they said, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. Ucommune had reportedly targeted an IPO in 2018’s third quarter but market turbulence engendered by U.S.-Chinese tensions forced it to back off, they added. The deal is in its preliminary stages and subject to change, they said, but a successful transaction will help re-fill coffers drained by a race with WeWork to set up shared office spaces from Beijing to Shenzhen.

Ucommune is vying with WeWork and local rivals from KR Space to MyDreamPlus to become China’s leading provider of shared office spaces, popular among the nation’s fast-growing crop of boot-strapped startups. That pits it directly against WeWork, the $47 billion outfit that pioneered the concept of trendy workspaces with colorful phone booth-like conversation areas and lively community hangouts serving beer on tap, reshaping office practices around the world.

While WeWork dominates the U.S. market, it faces strong competition in Asia. Last valued at $1.8 billion and backed by All-Stars Investment Ltd. and Sequoia Capital, Ucommune got its start in China, where it plans to run 300 locations within three years, but has begun setting up in cities from London to Los Angeles. It operates more than 100 locations across dozens of cities around the world and shares WeWork’s vision of branching out from office space toward services, including legal assistance.

Zhang Dongni, a spokeswoman for Ucommune, declined to comment. The company — known as UrWork until it changed its name after a WeWork lawsuit — was founded by Mao Daqing, a well-known figure in property and tech circles. The grandson of Mao Ziyao, an architect who helped design Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, he spent time at Singapore’s CapitaLand Ltd. and giant homebuilder China Vanke Co. before starting his company in 2015.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.