He was tasked with handling a rat problem at a three-person architecture firm in New York City. He now runs a billion dollar company.
Meet Miguel McKelvey, founder of WeWork
From sculpting to architecting
Miguel was studying sculpture at Colorado College when his professor told him his work looked ‘architectural’. So Miguel decided to transfer to the University of Oregon School of architecture.
After graduating, he moved to Tokyo. It was 1998, so naturally one of the most popular songs on the radio in Japan was TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ (RIP Left Eye). Miguel noticed how the song created a connection between english and non-english speaking people. It inspired him to start a business called ‘English Baby’, a website that connected students with language courses from their peers. The company was relatively successful and grew to 25 employees, but Miguel wanted to do something else.
The city that never sleeps
Miguel took a position with a three-person architecture firm in Brooklyn, New York. From handling a rat problem at the office to serving as a store designer for American Apparel, he embraced each opportunity as a learning experience. And then Miguel saw his chance…
I’ve got a
blank vacant space
Miguel convinced his landlord to let him convert a vacant office in Brooklyn into a co-working space. It was called Green Desk: an eco-friendly place for entrepreneurs, featuring recycled furniture and wind power electricity.
By the time Miguel sold Green Desk for a reported “few million”, he knew the co-working concept was strong. But he wanted to put more emphasis on building a community. The result was WeWork.
The first WeWork office opened in 2011 in New York City’s SOHO neighborhood.
That worked out
To date, WeWork has opened over 160 locations worldwide, raised over $1b in funding, and is valued over $16b. To put things in perspective, they currently have over 3 million square feet leased in New York City.
Miguel is all about building community, and so are we. At Hustle Con, Miguel will speak about the processes and systems he created to scale WeWork from 1 location to 161 in only 6 years.
Great, because tickets are still on sale. Grab yours before ticket prices go up – or worse, we sell out.