NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive of WeWork Cos Inc said on Wednesday the co-working space startup he co-founded is now generating $1 billion a year in revenue at current rates and will launch an initial public offering, but did not say where or when.
Adam Neumann, whose company is now valued at some $17 billion, said the exchange where WeWork will list its shares is undecided, addressing a lunch event at the Economic Club of New York, held at the New York Stock Exchange.
He praised NYSE Group President Tom Farley, who runs the exchange, for his persistence in seeking WeWork's listing. NYSE Group is owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N).
Neumann, who was quizzed by Farley in front of almost 200 people at the lunch, said his company will conduct an IPO, but did not say when that might occur.
The company, which operates 149 locations in 15 countries, now has about 120,000 members who pay on average $650 a month each, Neumann said. Five to 10 new sites open every month.
WeWork has raised about $1.8 billion from investors and venture capital funds since it began operations six years ago.
SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) invested $300 million in WeWork in March, the first of a much larger funding round that could total up to $3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Two years ago, less than 1 percent of WeWork's business was generated by Fortune 500-type companies. That figure is now about 30 percent and growing, Neumann said, interpreting that as a sign of a viable business model.
A communal housing model called WeLive, which the company has launched in New York City and Crystal City, Virginia, is 100-percent leased, but Neumann said the are no immediate plans to expand the concept as WeWork tries to perfect the product.
"WeLive is going to be a tremendous success," he said.
Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bill Rigby