On the homepage of WeWork, against a pleasantly neutral palette, the company asks visitors: “Why do you do what you do? Welcome to WeWork. Make a life, not just a living.”
Such language doesn’t quite jive with the image of an office-space company that simply rents out real estate to small businesses and freelance workers—because that is no longer what WeWork is. In its eight years of existence, the New York City-based company has gone from a scrappy startup to a $20 billion corporation, operating 212 co-working spaces around the world and opening gyms, schools, and startup incubators of its own.
Its latest move? Buying up a digital marketing company, seemingly at random. WeWork’s purchase this week of Conductor is small but significant: It is its fifth acquisition in seven months, and is one of the most undisguised and corporate moves the company—which says it will run Conductor as a separate line of business, available to WeWork users and non-users alike—has made yet.