The Harder We Fall: The We Company’s 2019 IPO Fiasco Case Study Solution


“The Harder We Fall: The We Company’s 2019 IPO Fiasco,” as analyzed by Sarit Markovich and Evan Meagher, explores one of the most significant financial debacles of recent times. The case dives into The We Company’s attempted initial public offering (IPO) in 2019, shedding light on the complexities and challenges faced by the company. This analysis delves into the core issues, conducts a comprehensive case analysis, draws conclusions, and offers strategic recommendations for future endeavors.

Case Issue

The central issue in this case revolves around The We Company’s failed attempt to go public in 2019. Despite being a pioneer in the co-working industry, the company’s valuation was called into question due to concerns over its business model, corporate governance, and leadership decisions. The case explores the factors leading to this public offering disaster and the subsequent repercussions on the company’s reputation and investor confidence.

Case Analysis

Business Model Viability
The We Company’s rapid expansion and aggressive valuation were based on a vision of flexible workspaces and community building. However, investors and analysts raised doubts about the scalability and sustainability of this model, especially in the face of mounting losses and intense market competition.

Corporate Governance Concerns
Corporate governance issues, particularly related to the CEO’s influence, voting rights, and conflicts of interest, became significant hurdles. The lack of transparency and questionable decisions eroded investor trust, leading to concerns about the company’s ability to protect shareholder interests effectively.

Leadership and Decision-Making
The case also highlights leadership decisions, including the CEO’s management style, public statements, and questionable investments, which raised doubts about the company’s strategic direction. These decisions amplified concerns about the company’s financial stability and long-term vision.


In conclusion, The We Company’s 2019 IPO fiasco serves as a cautionary tale for companies aiming to go public. The case underscores the importance of transparency, a sustainable business model, and robust corporate governance. The missteps made during this period had severe repercussions, impacting not only the company’s valuation but also its credibility in the eyes of investors and the public.

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Transparent Communication
Foster transparent communication with investors and stakeholders. Providing clear, accurate, and honest information about the company’s financial health, business model, and growth strategies is essential. Open channels of communication can rebuild trust and confidence.

Strengthened Corporate Governance
Implement strong corporate governance practices, ensuring the separation of powers, diverse board representation, and fair treatment of shareholders. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities can enhance accountability and mitigate conflicts of interest, fostering investor confidence.

Strategic Focus and Streamlining
Refocus the company’s strategy on core competencies. Streamlining operations, divesting non-essential assets, and concentrating on areas of proven success can lead to a more sustainable business model. Prioritizing profitability over rapid expansion is crucial for long-term stability.

Leadership and Management Training
Invest in leadership and management training programs for executives. Enhancing leadership skills, crisis management abilities, and strategic decision-making can positively impact the company’s image and instill confidence in investors and employees alike.

Market Responsiveness
Stay attuned to market trends and customer needs. The co-working industry is continuously evolving, and understanding market demands can lead to innovative service offerings. Being responsive to the changing needs of clients can ensure relevance and competitiveness.

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