A Qualitative Analysis of the Business Models of Shared Workspaces

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The emergence and fast growth of shared workspaces have attracted increasing attention from investors, practitioners, and researchers. Overall, this industry is still at an early stage of development and the

The emergence and fast growth of shared workspaces have attracted increasing attention from investors, practitioners, and researchers. Overall, this industry is still at an early stage of development and the business models of shared workspace providers are still evolving. To enhance the understanding of the different business models adopted by the leading shared workspace providers, I conduct an in-depth qualitative analysis of three current market leaders - Regus, WeWork, and UrWork – using the Business Model Canvas proposed by Osterwalder (2008). My analysis suggests that shared workspace providers creates value by offering three tiers of services: (1) satisfying users’ needs for physical office spaces, (2) helping them build an enterprise eco-system, and (3) facilitating the development of a user community. I further use the PEST model to analyze how the macro-environmental factors in China and U.S. may have contributed to the development of different shared workspace business models in these two countries. Based on the above analyses, I propose a list of factors that may be critical to investors’ valuations of shared workspace companies.