×

3. WeWork

Reworking the office

Founders: Adam Neumann (CEO), Miguel McKelvey
Launched: 2010
Funding: $1.99 billion (PitchBook)
Valuation: $18 billion (PitchBook)
Disrupting: Office space
Rival: Commercial real estate

George Kavallines

WeWork, the New York City-based company that provides shared work spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small start-ups, is now attracting Fortune 500 companies. Late last year the company signed a deal with Microsoft, giving its global and marketing teams access to its own custom-designed space at two WeWork locations in New York City. The move is a nod to the needs of big companies looking for flexible real estate solutions for an ever more mobile and far-flung workforce.

Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50

Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey got the idea for WeWork back in 2010 when they were both working in a partially vacant office building in Brooklyn. Neumann was selling baby clothing, and McKelvey was an architect. They convinced the landlord to let them rent out the empty space as shared work spaces, and the idea for WeWork was hatched.

Today the company says more than 100,000 people in 65 major U.S. cities, as well as 44 international cities, use WeWork's shared office space — ranging in price from $45 to $450 per month, depending on the amenities. WeWork rents its office space from landlords, transforms it into a communal space and then rents it out month to month to individuals and small businesses. Renters are typically younger workers who are attracted to the arcade games, cushy couches and free beer on tap at most locations.

In February the company raised $300 million from Japan's SoftBank, bringing its total funding to nearly $2 billion and giving WeWork a valuation of $18 billion, according to PitchBook.

Latest Special Reports

  • Top States 2016

    CNBC's annual study measures all 50 states on more than 60 different metrics.

  • People walk amongst aircraft exhibited on the tarmac during the opening of the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget on June 15, 2015.

    The International Paris Air Show is celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year with the big movers and shakers in the aerospace and defense industry all attending the event.

  • CNBC’s “Trailblazers” travels across the globe bringing insight into some of the world’s key cities through the eyes of the celebrities that live there.

Tech