Here’s What WeWork Gets Out of Acquiring Real-Life Social Network Meetup

WeWork is acquiring Meetup in a move that will bring the shared workspace company together with another startup that aims to connect people with common interests in real life.

The two New York-based companies announced the news on Tuesday following an earlier report from The New York Times that said a deal was imminent. WeWork did not disclose how much it is paying to acquire Meetup, which was founded in 2002 and currently has 35 million members who use the service to find other people with similar hobbies and interests—from nature lovers to people looking to form a book club—so they can set up group meetings offline.

In a blog post announcing the deal, WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann pointed to the two companies’ similar goal of “bringing people together.” WeWork lets small businesses, including startups, rent office space and related services in shared workspaces in 17 countries around the world. “WeWork and Meetup have the opportunity to use technology to create new and innovative ways of bringing people together in person and foster greater community,” Neumann wrote on Tuesday.

“WeWork has space for community, and Meetup needs space for community. Voila!” Meetup said in its own statement.

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WeWork, which is valued at nearly $20 billion following a $4.4 billion investment from Japan’s Softbank Group earlier this year, has been expanding rapidly of late, growing its network to include more than 10 million square feet of office space in 170 locations in 58 cities. WeWork has added shared housing in some of those locations, while the company also recently partnered with Airbnb to offer office amenities to business travelers and bought the Lord & Taylor building in New York City to be its new global headquarters.

By acquiring Meetup, WeWork gets an avenue to reach Meetup’s millions of members (including 300,000 group organizers) while potentially taking advantage of WeWork’s existing real estate to offer those members places to meet after work hours. (The two companies have actually worked together in the past, with WeWork’s Neumann adding that more than 100,000 people have attended a Meetup event in a WeWork space this year alone.) Neumann also indicated that Meetup, which is facing increasing competition from social networking giant Facebook, will continue to operate as a standalone company, with CEO and co-founder Scott Heiferman continuing to lead Meetup.

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