The Wall Street Journal – November 15, 2016


NEW YORK – The business model behind the co-working craze is falling out of favor: WeWork rivals pursue office-sharing setups that are more like hotel chains.

… Serendipity Labs, thinks franchises are the key to fast growth. Under its model, franchisees pay a fee to be part of the Serendipity family, then build locations in the mold espoused by the company…

The franchisees, who can lease space themselves or use buildings they own, pay for much of the cost of construction, allowing Serendipity (Labs) the ability to grow quickly without raising hundreds of millions of dollars itself …

Many of the franchisees to sign up thus far come from a different corner of the real-estate world: the hotel sector, where franchising is commonplace.

“There were so many commonalities,” said Scott Somerville, a hotel developer and operator who is president of Renascent Hospitality. He has signed on to set up four or five Serendipity locations in the Columbus, Ohio, area. “It’s a hotel without the guest rooms.”

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Eliot Brown, “New Competition for ‘Co-Working’ Model,” The Wall Street Journal