WeWork hopes that the purchase will help establish a sense of community in its shared workspaces. The company, which was valued at $12 billion in August, has about 10 million square feet of leased office space in its 170 locations. That will facilitate Meetup's 35 million users who gather to learn languages, create goods, or discuss their passions and hobbies. About 15,000 Meetup events take place a day, the company told The New York Times.
"You need a proper community space for that," Scott Heiferman, Meetup's co-founder and CEO, told the Times. "You can't have a musty church basement or whatever space people used in the old days."
The move is part of WeWork's effort to expand beyond the workspace business. Earlier this month, the company announced it was launching a private elementary school for "conscious entrepreneurship" in New York City next fall.
As for Meetup, Heiferman told the Times the company had broken even and had not collected outside money in years. However, it needed investors to grow--especially if it wanted to reach users abroad. After meeting with WeWork's CEO Adam Neumann, the two companies decided to unite.
Meetup will continue to operate as it has in the past, Heiferman told the Times, hoping that the acquisition would be similar to the partnership between Instagram and Facebook. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but about 100,000 people have attended a Meetup event in a WeWork location.