WeWork Companies announced it is purchasing Meetup, Inc. in order to get more people to use its expanding real estate portfolio, reports The Wall Street Journal.
WeWork’s thinking behind the acquisition is it can increase its properties’ usage rates outside of the traditional working hours. Usually, WeWork’s spaces are used during the weekdays, with little activity at other times. Meanwhile, Meetup groups often gather during evenings and weekends. By owning Meetup, WeWork can host their events and in turn generate additional revenue at times when normally their space would empty.
Meetup, Inc. helps organizations and clubs host get-togethers and increase their membership. The companies have said that more than 100,000 people have attended Meetup events at WeWork locations in 2017 so far.
WeWork is not the only company that is attempting to build more in-person networks in order to expand their business. Facebook, Inc. for example relaunched its Events app as “Facebook Local.” The rebranded app helps users discover bars, restaurants and nearby attractions. The app’s goal is to make it easier to do the kind of look ups that are common when making plans with friends, according to the company. The relaunch is in response to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to fix what he calls, “a decline in the social infrastructure of local communities.”
Snap, Inc. has also made adjustments in an effort increase more face-to-face interactions. It launched a new maps feature for its signature app Snapchat that lets opted-in users see where there friends are so it’s easier for them to connect in person rather than just watching each other’s lives on their phones.
WeWork sold itself to investors as a “physical social network” for millennials. It signs long-term leases for raw office space and builds out the interior with flexible spaces and updated design. Then WeWork subleases the space on varying terms, some as short as one month.
Founded in 2002, New York-based WeWork charges event organizers a monthly fee depending on how small or large the group is. Meetup organizers may then decide if they want to charge the attendees. The company said it held more than 15,000 events each day though the platform.
Recently, WeWork has revealed a number of deals and ventures to help its business grow. It said it would buy Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in New York City for $850 million to turn it into its company headquarters. WeWork also bought a large stake in Wavegarden, which makes wave pools, launched fitness club Rise by We; purchased the Flatiron School, a coding academy that offers technology courses and announced plans to open WeGrow, an elementary school that would teach children about the virtues of entrepreneurship.