Beijing-based URWork has raised RMB 300 million ($46 million) from a trio of mainland investment firms in a series C funding round that values the mainland co-working provider at RMB 9 billion ($1.3 billion), according to a recent announcement by the company.
The investment led by Shenzhen-based Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds makes two year old flexible office startup UrWork (Beijing) Venture Investment mainland China’s first co-working unicorn, as the country’s rapidly expanding office market shows a taste for space as a service.
URWork announced its series C funding just days after settling a trademark dispute with US co-working heavyweight WeWork, with URWork apparently giving up plans to use its current English name outside of China.
URWork Picks Up More Mainland Backers
“The C round funding cements UrWork (Beijing) Venture Investment Co., Ltd ‘s position as the leading co-working space provider in Asia,” said UrWork ffounder and CEO Mao Daqing. The former China Vanke and CapitaLand executive added that the new cash would be deployed to drive further global expansion, community service and tech upgrades. “It will help further strengthen our core verticals and will see a series of facility and service upgrading at UrWork (Beijing) Venture Investment Co., Ltd that sets us apart from other contenders,” Mao said.
Shenzhen-based Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds was joined in the C round by fellow mainland firms CK Home – Key Investment Group and Context Lab, according to URWork’s statement. This latest cash injection comes after URWork raised RMB 200 million in August from KCC, a state-owned developer based in the city of Kunming, during the same month that it raised $178 million from Prosperity Fund and Beijing Capital Land. At the time of that “pre-C” round URWork had stated a valuation target of $1.5 billion for its C series funding.
Targetting Second-Tier Cities to Be Unrivalled by Few
“Dr. Mao Daqing has demonstrated entrepreneurial vision and strong leadership that are unrivalled by few in the co-working industry in Asia,” said Xie Wendi, founder and CEO of Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds, in praising his new business partner. Xie added that “Through the win-win partnership, we aim to revitalise more under-utilised urban infrastructure and promote industrial upgrading in China.”
Key Investment is said to be planning to collaborate with URWork on interior design and renovation projects as the new partners hope to upgrade facilities in China’s outside of China’s largest urban hubs into co-working centres. Acording to URWork, the company now has 100 locations in over 30 cities, and plans to penetrate more second-tier locations now that it is armed with fresh cash.
URWork and WeWork End Battle of the Pronouns
The news of this latest funding round comes after URWork representatives told Mingtiandi last week that the company had resolved its trademark dispute with WeWork. The New York-based firm had filed suit against URWork in Manhattan in September, after the Chinese company announced plans to open co-working centres using its English name in the US.
Following the settlement, the name URWork is set to stay in China from now on, while the company’s centres outside the country will be branded as “You Ke Gong Chang” (优客工厂). Mao Daqing’s company has also withdrawn overseas trademark applications for the URWork name.
The dispute is said to have been jointly settled, with a similar case in the UK also having been withdrawn. Besides its planned New York centre, URWork has also announced plans to establish overseas operations in Los Angeles and opened its first Singapore centre in cooperation with another provider in June of this year.