Chinese co-working startup Ucommune, formerly known as UrWork, is now valued at over RMB 9 billion ($1.4 billion) following a new investment of RMB 110 million ($17 million) from an existing backer, according to the company’s official Wechat account.
The investment round was led by Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds (QHMA), which also led a RMB 300 million ($47 million) series C funding round in the Beijing-based flexible office unicorn firm last December. Ucommune, which has a network of 100 centres open or in development, plans to use the funds for further growth and enhancement of its service offerings.
Shenzhen-based QHMA is a private equity firm backed by the Qianhai Equity Exchange. The firm has over RMB 30 billion in assets under management, focussing on the internet, information technology, industrial automation, healthcare and clean energy sectors.
Ucommune Flexes Fundraising Muscles Again
“The strategic investment from QHMA will help us build good momentum for further growth, service integration and global expansion,” said Ucommune’s founder and CEO Mao Daqing in a statement.
UCommune/UrWork Series C (and Pre-C) Financing
Established in 2015 by the former Vanke executive, Ucommune has an impressive track record of raising funds from an eclectic array of mainland investors. Early backers include mainland VC heavyweights Zhen Fund and Sequoia Capital.
Last year, Ucommune picked up RMB 400 million ($58 million) from sporting goods maker Beijing Xingpai in May, followed by a RMB 200 million ($29.4 million) commitment from medical investments firm Beijing Aikang Group in July.
Then in August, Ucommune added state-owned developer Beijing Capital Land and Shanghai-based investment firm Prosperity Holdings to its roster of mainland backers when closing on a RMB 1.2 billion ($178 million) round of financing. Later the same month, state-owned developer KCC based in the city of Kunming chipped in RMB 200 million ($30 million) to the fast-growing firm.
Ucommune completed the acquisition of its rival New Space early last month, giving the company footholds in Guangzhou, Dongguan and Hefei, among other cities. Following the merger, Ucommune says it now has locations across 35 cities in China and more than 100,000 members, enhancing its lead among mainland co-working providers.
New Cash Could Help with Global Expansion
The two-year-old startup is also setting up more centres outside mainland China, as it aims to boost its total portfolio to 160 locations providing 100,000 work stations globally in the next three years.
Ucommune leased a full floor at Grand Millennium Plaza in Sheung Wan in Hong Kong, for its first shared office centre in the city last month, at a reported HK$50 ($6.4) per square foot. The company’s first co-working centre in Taiwan will be located in the core of Taipei’s downtown Xinyi district, set to open in April. A 1,400 square metre venue will also launch in the same month as the company’s second location in Singapore.
The latest funding round will give Ucommune a boost as its competitor WeWork, the $20 billion co-working giant, unveils plans to expand into eight more cities in China this year. The US-based firm is looking to enter China’s second-tier city market, after opening ten centres in Shanghai and Beijing.
Ucommune, the first unicorn in China’s co-working space industry, recently changed its name from UrWork following a trademark dispute with WeWork over what the US rival called its “deceptively similar” moniker.