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IWG To Triple New Openings From Last Year

An internal rendering of an IWG coworking location

Despite dire warnings from its CEO as 2021 hit its halfway point, international coworking company IWG has been growing its footprint.

IWG has signed franchise agreements with 20 new partners so far this year that will produce 110 new coworking locations under IWG brands, Reuters reports. The number represents a sharp increase in growth rate over the first half of 2020, when 30 such franchises were launched.

Unlike the cost-heavy lease model that fueled the meteoric (and ultimately unsustainable) rise of WeWork, IWG's main rival in the coworking space, IWG doesn't risk upfront capital in its franchise agreements.

That didn't spare IWG from the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which closed offices all over the world. The company lost around $875M in 2020 and expects to lose even more over the course of this year, IWG CEO Mark Dixon said in early June.

IWG's portfolio has its fair share of leases, as well, which played a large part in dragging down the company's bottom line since the pandemic began. The company has declared bankruptcy at several of its locations in the U.S. and the U.K.

The new IWG franchises, some of which will be operated under the company's Regus and Spaces brands, will be spread between the U.S., India and Malaysia, Reuters reports. Many of the locations will be in small towns, following what Dixon told Bisnow in May would be an increased emphasis on hub-and-spoke office models for companies it has signed network deals with, such as Standard Chartered.

Though no announcement has been made regarding what banners each of the new locations will operate under, at least one of its new locations this year will be part of a new brand. IWG's new Signature brand, meant to be its highest-end offering, debuted in Dallas and is opening a second location in Atlanta.