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  1. #1
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    [EN] SoftBank to invest $4.4bn in WeWork

    @MikeIsaac: Increasingly suspicion that WeWork, not Uber, is going to be the enormous flameout of Silicon Valley that brings trickle-down effects

    Judith Evans
    2017-08-24

    Japan’s SoftBank has agreed to plunge $4.4bn into the shared office provider WeWork, in one of the largest ever single investments into a private company.

    The Japanese telecoms and technology giant has committed to invest $3bn in new and existing shares of WeWork’s parent company, plus another $1.4bn into newly created companies to fund the group’s expansion in China, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere in southeast Asia.

    Part of the investment is being made through SoftBank’s Saudi-backed, $100bn Vision Fund and part by the company itself.

    WeWork caters for about 150,000 members in co-working spaces in New York, London and around the world. SoftBank made an earlier investment of $300m in March.

    “WeWork is leveraging the latest technologies and its own proprietary data systems to radically transform the way people work,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SoftBank.

    “Adam’s unique vision and talented team have created a sharing platform that offers maximum flexibility and opportunity to creators of all types, from young entrepreneurs to large multinational companies. We are thrilled to support WeWork as they expand across markets and geographies and unleash a new wave of productivity around the world.”

    Two SoftBank executives will join the WeWork board: Ronald Fisher, its director and vice chairman, and external director Mark Schwartz.

    Adam Neumann, co-founder and chief executive of WeWork, said: “Masayoshi Son is a visionary business leader and we are humbled by this strong endorsement of our mission and purpose.

    “This support from SoftBank and the Vision Fund will provide even more opportunities for creators as we set out to humanize the way people work and live.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/6f15fae3-...b-fe2fb6d9cd0a

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    BRAVE culture: WeWork vs Servcorp

    WeWork has become the go-to flexible office space for millennial entrepreneurs.

    George Bradt
    Jul 26, 2017

    Everything communicates–everything you say and do, and where you say and do it. The core of a BRAVE culture is why; BRAVE cultures are made up of behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and the environment:

    • Behaviors: What impact? Implementation.
    • Relationships: How to connect? Communication.
    • Attitude: How to win? Choices.
    • Values: What matters and why? Purpose.
    • Environment: Where to play? Context.



    Per an earlier article for Forbes, culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage. But environment sets the stage and context for that and must contribute to and reinforce it. Servcorp’s Marcus Moufarrige and WeWork’s Rebekah and Adam Neumann get this. They run businesses devoted to creating environments–though with diametrically opposite views of what makes for the right environment.

    The behemoth in the flexible office space is Regus with their global network of 3,000 locations in 900 cities and 120 countries. There are several organizations nipping at their heels in this growing market. We Works and Servcorp have taken strikingly different approaches.

    Servcorp – Superior Office Solutions For Serious Professionals

    Marcus Moufarrige told me that Servcorp is all about “making businesses more successful.” As Servcorp’s COO, he’s focused on the first impression his resident clients make on others and the business support and technology platform Servcorp provides them.

    He gave me a tour of their facility on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center in New York City. Everything about it suggested a space for serious professionals. Polished greeting. Astounding views. Premium décor and decorations. Spotless kitchen (with labels facing forward on all the beers in the fridge). The shared co-working space had relatively few people, all working diligently on their own or in pairs.

    It felt like Servcorp is in the business of providing superior office solutions for serious professionals who need flexible space and service based on their locations, support staff including receptionists and executive assistants and technology including their own global telecommunications platform that makes connecting with others impressively simple.

    As Marcus told the New York Business Journal's Anthony Noto, “We believe that not everyone wants to come to work in shorts, ride their scooter to work, play ping pong and have beers at lunch. There will certainly be demand for a premium product in flexible space with a high level of service and infrastructure.”

    WeWork – Space, Community And Services

    Conversely, WeWork says it gives people the “space, community, and services you need to make a life, not just a living” based on their locations, services and community-building in-house activities, ranging from thought-leader panels to cheese tastings, that help nurture client teams’ cultures.

    At one level they are most definitely out to create a community. Their website says “we know how to work, and we know how to have fun.” Their millennial clients are drawn to their “distinct aesthetic and vibe” that inspires teams. WeWork has become the go-to flexible office space for millennial entrepreneurs.

    It doesn’t take a lot of digging to realize that this is a reflection of WeWork’s own culture. Co-founder Rebekah Neumann says she set out to “impact people in a really positive way” and told the Observer's Margaret Abrams that in WeWork she found her “do what you love” moment.

    The Neumanns are all about modeling great leadership as what they call “we” people. As they told Fortune's Susie Gharib, their leadership is about “bringing meaning and intention to the world” and being a person who “really cares about people.” In their minds WeWorks is a place where “we” people, often first-time leaders, come together to live and work.

    Implications For You

    I’m not suggesting either more serious or more purpose-driven spaces are better. They are different. And environment is a non-trivial cultural choice. Some prefer shorts, some pin-stripe suits.

    This is another example of the importance of be-do-say. What you say to people about what matters is one thing. They may or may not believe you. They will believe what you do, how you show up and act. But matching your words and actions or environmental choices is not enough unless they match your fundamental beliefs.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeb.../#2546866d4e26

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Overvalued unicorns

    Trinity Ventures' Ajay Chopra on overvalued unicorns, SoftBank's $100 billion fund and the IPO drought

    Cromwell Schubarth
    2017-08-14

    Ajay Chopra of Trinity Ventures takes the long view on IPOs, with the benefit of nearly 30 years as a founder, CEO and investor to draw from.

    That's why he agrees that special provisions in some unicorn fundings have distorted their value and believes that SoftBank Group will be challenged to get a good return on its $100 billion fund.

    Chopra spoke about those topics and others in a recent conversation with the Business Journal. Here are excerpts from that conversation, edited for length and clarity.

    A recent study from researchers at Stanford and the University of British Columbia argued that because of special provisions put into late-stage funding rounds, most unicorns are overvalued.

    When you discount those provisions, the actual underlying asset value is reduced for a common stockholder, right? That’s part of the reason why many public investors have been stepping into later funding rounds — to get the benefit of those special provisions.

    So, when you just look at the valuation of the last round on the private market, it doesn’t tell you the whole story.

    It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Getting that artificially high valuation can be great when you’re promoting yourself as a private company. But it could be dangerous, too, at least based on what happened with some IPOs in the past year.

    It’s funny. When I was an entrepreneur and I took my company public in the ’90s, there was an unwritten rule. This is before the bubble, in the mid-’90s. Everybody sort of understood that a company that was going to go public would want to have profitability for a couple of years — and clear visibility into increasing profitability over the next year — to file for an IPO. The bankers themselves enforced that discipline.

    Then 1998 and 1999 happened and all of that went out of the window. So first, the requirement for profitability went out of the window. Then gross margin went out of the window. Then revenue went out of the window and people ended up only chasing eyeballs.

    We are slowly coming back to the old norm where the public investors are finally saying, “If I’m going to spend on this asset, I need to figure out the long-term, cash-generating value of the asset.”

    We’re not got quite to the point where it is like it was in 1995 when I took my company public. Some companies are still getting out without profitability, like Snap. But the market is holding them accountable. They will give them maybe a quarter or two. But if they don’t perform, their stock price is compromised severely in the public market.

    The profitability discipline that public markets expected is something that was there for probably 100 years. Then it disappeared 20 years ago. So it may be that gradually people are figuring out that you can’t just chase eyeballs or just revenue. You have to kind of think about gross margins and their cost of generating revenue — especially marketing cost — and then ultimately the bottom line and cash flow.

    We haven’t seen a lot of IPOs in Silicon Valley this year, or last year for that matter. Why?

    Actually, what’s kind of amazing is that IPOs as a category, not just in Silicon Valley, have been declining for a long time. Nasdaq and all of the exchanges have been quite worried about it.

    Companies are just hanging in there as private companies with pretty high valuations because it’s been really easy to get private capital.

    Companies that are valued reasonably perform fine in the market. Companies that go in with a very high valuation have tended to suffer, like Blue Apron, Snap and Tintri. But some of them that went out this year — like Cloudera and Okta and Mulesoft— did much better because they were more reasonably valued in private markets.

    The good news is that, unlike 2000 — which I lived through — the public markets have been very disciplined about valuation and how they’re assessing these properties.

    In 1999 and 2000, that did not happen, which is a huge reason for the big bubble then. What we are advising our companies to do is compare themselves to public companies in their space. Only when they see several quarters of public market performance, plus good visibility for several more quarters, then it is time to think of an IPO. I’m sure we are not the only ones that are giving that advice.

    Well, one of the curiosities this year is that the stock market has been strong but there still haven’t been that many IPOs.

    That’s not hard to explain. Why would you take a risk on a small cap stock that is unproven when Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are providing such tremendous returns? If you just had a portfolio of those four over the last five years, I bet you would beat the IPO cohorts.

    The other thing is that many big investors who would have been investing in IPOs have stepped into late-stage private investing. I think for the last two or three years that they have been trying to capture the value at a lower valuation than might happen after an IPO.

    In some instances, that has worked out. But in others, that may have backfired. I think in cases like Twilio that worked out. But some of the others, it may not have worked out — like Snap in particular. The clear line between public and private investors has become much more of a thin line.

    Is there a company that Trinity has been involved with that you could point to as an example of doing it right?

    There are a couple of our companies that went public in recent years. New Relic did it really well — their stock is nicely above the IPO price and never went below. Their growth has been tremendous.

    TubeMogul, which got acquired by Adobe last December, is another and they are kind of interesting. They were in the terrible adtech sector. But they kept beating their numbers, every quarter that they were a public company. Yet their stock, because of what was happening with comparable companies in the public market, kept getting hammered, despite them beating their numbers. Ultimately, Adobe picked them up for two times their market cap in the public market. That is a company that was impacted by the sector it was in.

    Both of those companies — TubeMogul and New Relic — had lots of internal discipline when they were private. I was in the board of TubeMogul myself, and as a private company we had a very disciplined board, a very good audit committee, and it was kind of like how it used to be done traditionally.

    A new factor in keeping some big companies private has been the $100 billion fund that SoftBank created. It has taken some very big positions in late stage companies. What do you think of that?

    That’ll be an interesting fund. I actually did an analysis the other day. I was doing some simple math. When we raised our $400 million fund, we promised our investors somewhere between a 5X return in good times or a 3X return in bad times. We have been delivering close to that for many of our funds.

    If you do the math on a $400 million fund and you just take the low-end target for that, which is 3X, you need to return $1.2 billion to the investors in the next seven to ten years. Then you factor in that, on average, perhaps you own about 15 percent of the shares of the companies in your portfolio. Even if you’re a good investor and come in early on the companies you invest in, owning 15 percent of their shares is a pretty big deal.

    That means that overall the 30 companies you invest in have to collectively return about $8 billion. If I divide that by 30, it means the exit value of companies in the portfolio has to be about $266 million. Obviously, that doesn’t happen with all of them. Basically, you have a few New Relics and TubeMoguls and then you have a bunch of losses.

    If you look at the number of exits that hit $266 million, there are not that many, right? There are a bunch that are below $100 million, lots of them below $50 million, sometimes they’re below $25 million. Only a handful exit above a quarter of a billion dollars. Even fewer over half a billion and there are only even less over a billion.

    So if you plot that out, delivering a 3X to 5X return is really hard. Then if you do that math for a $100 billion fund, I don’t see how you can even get a 3X return on that.

    What advice are you giving your portfolio companies regarding when to go public and what they need to think about when they make that move?

    Basically, we tell them that if the bankers are telling you to go public, that’s not all you need to know. I love bankers. They help us out. But they’re desperately looking for IPOs, right? That’s the hard reality.

    What you have to think about is what it will feel like to be a public company, when every quarter you’re in a glass house and everything that you do is being measured. Think about what your objective is to go public. Think about whether you feel comfortable that your company is likely to show improved performance at least for the next four to six quarters after the IPO. Then look at your own history and see how predictable your business has been. That’s the first level.

    The second thing is to know will be, is your team ready? Being public these days, unlike in 1995, is very expensive. There are lots of regulations and rules that have come in since the 1990s. I saw my board transform from a bunch of smart thinkers who are experts in the industry to a bunch of lawyers and auditors.

    It’s really no wonder that, for example, that AppDynamics decided to go with Cisco as an acquisition instead of going public earlier this year.

    https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/...softbanks.html
    Última edição por 5ms; 24-08-2017 às 22:44.

  4. #4
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Quentin Webb‏ @qtwebb 10 hours ago

    Investing in WeWork at >17x sales seems incredible.

    IWG, owner of Regus, trades at c. 6x EBITDA or 1.2x sales.

  5. #5
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Brasília ganha 1º 'coworking' de games do País



    Bruno Capelas
    26/08/2017

    A partir desse sábado, 26, um galpão de mil metros quadrados no Lago Norte, em Brasília, vai ganhar moradores especiais como robôs japoneses, naves espaciais e heróis mitológicos. Calma, não é uma invasão à capital federal: é a data marcada para a inauguração da Indie Warehouse, primeiro espaço de trabalho compartilhado (coworking) no Brasil totalmente dedicado a produtores e desenvolvedores de games. Com capacidade para receber até 100 pessoas, trabalhando todos os dias, o local quer transformar Brasília em um pólo nacional de produção de games.

    À frente da iniciativa, está a Behold, um dos principais estúdios do País. Fundada em 2009, a empresa já fez jogos como Knights of Pen and Paper, que já vendeu mais de 1 milhão de unidades, e Chroma Squad, lançado recentemente para PlayStation 4 e Xbox One por uma parceria com a tradicional empresa japonesa Bandai Namco, dona de marcas como Pac-Man e Dark Souls.

    “Dividir espaços com outros produtores de games sempre foi algo muito importante para a gente”, diz Saulo Camarotti, fundador da Behold. E foi mesmo: entre 2015 e o início deste mês, a empresa tinha como sede uma casa no mesmo Lago Norte.

    Com direito a piscina e churrasqueira, o local era compartilhado com outros dois estúdios – a Bad Minions, de Brasília, e a Ôtus, de Novo Hamburgo (RS). “Agora, podemos ter até 15 empresas ao nosso lado”, explica Camarotti. Junto à Behold, três investidores-anjo participam da criação do espaço, que começa suas atividades com 30% da capacidade ocupada e 10 estúdios diferentes a seu lado.

    Vida única. Para Camarotti, o principal motivo para criar um coworking dedicado aos games é a diferença dos negócios da área e de outras startups. “Investir num jogo tem um elemento de risco que não faz sentido para quem conhece o cotidiano das startups”, diz o desenvolvedor. “Um investidor de games não vai querer visitar um coworking que tem um estúdio, um advogado e uma professora de inglês, mas vai topar conhecer 10 estúdios diferentes.”

    Outra vantagem para os estúdios presentes é compartilhar conhecimento e contatos. “Uma empresa que tem contato com parceiros como Sony, Microsoft, Google e Apple pode abrir as portas para as outras”, avalia Fernando Chamis, presidente da Associação Brasileira de Desenvolvedores de Jogos Digitais (Abragames).

    Segundo Chamis, a união pode também ajudar as produtoras a financiar equipamentos avançados, como ferramentas de capturas de gestos, inviáveis hoje para a realidade do mercado brasileiro. “Para quem está sozinho, é uma grana absurda, mas que pode se tornar viável em conjunto.”

    Design de fases. Ao todo, a Indie Warehouse tem recepção, quatro salas de reunião e um espaço multiuso, que pode receber cursos para até 25 pessoas – uma das metas da Behold é ajudar estudantes que querem fazer seus primeiros jogos a terem um espaço. Além disso, há um lounge, uma área externa com estacionamento para food trucks (“útil para eventos de maratonas de criação de jogos”) e um auditório para 50 pessoas, com projetor equipado.

    Outro destaque da infraestrutura está nos banheiros, com chuveiros e vestiários. “É bom para quando a gente precisa virar a madrugada acabando de criar um jogo”, exclama Camarotti. O investimento não é à toa: a ideia da Behold é que o espaço esteja sempre aberto, de domingo a domingo, 24 horas por dia, se adaptando à rotina de horários típica de desenvolvedores de jogos.

    Além disso, a ideia do espaço é receber eventos para discutir o desenvolvimento de games – neste sábado, há uma série de palestras dedicadas ao mercado brasileiro de games, abordando temas como imprensa, game design, parcerias com publishers e até mesmo trilhas sonoras.

    Moedinhas. Quem quiser estar na Indie Warehouse tem três possibilidades. Frequentar o local é de graça; já quem quiser ter sua empresa permanentemente no local, “com direito a deixar todas as tranqueiras aqui”, como diz Camarotti, paga R$ 600 por mês para cada funcionário. A terceira forma é o que a Indie Warehouse chama de “plano rotativo”: por R$ 300 por pessoa, é possível ter acesso ao local e à infraestrutura, mas sem um espaço dedicado. “É para chegar e abrir o laptop onde der”, diz o desenvolvedor da Behold.

    Para Pedro Machado, fundador do estúdio local Glitch Factory, o custo compensa – com oito funcionários, a empresa se mudou para a Indie Warehouse no começo dessa semana. “Passar o dia a dia só falando de games com outros desenvolvedores vai nos ajudar muito”, diz Machado, cujo time atualmente trabalha no game No Place For Bravery, previsto para 2018.

    O preço, porém, foi um empecilho para a Bad Minions, que dividia cozinha, piscina e churrasqueira com a Behold até o mês passado. Segundo o game designer Leonardo Batelli, compensa mais alugar uma sala para a equipe de seis pessoas da empresa, que se prepara para lançar o jogo Alkymia. “O que pega para nós é o preço”, explica Batelli.

    Para Fernando Chamis, da Abragames, o espaço tem potencial para se tornar uma referência no cenário nacional. “Brasília já é um espaço bacana de jogos, e concentrar empresas pode ser bom para atrair investidores”, diz. Segundo ele, a ideia pode ser replicada em outros Estados com bom cenário de desenvolvimento de games, como São Paulo e Rio Grande do Sul.

    http://link.estadao.com.br/noticias/...do,70001950949

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