Shared work space giant WeWork has acquired Conductor, an online marketing services company that analyzes online search data and helps companies create content based on what people are looking for. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded out of New York in 2006, Conductor offers a number of tools including Conductor Searchlight, which marketers use to garner insights about their potential customers before they begin creating marketing content. This includes finding out what kinds of search terms consumers use to find, say, credit card information — armed with this knowledge banks, for example, are better enabled to structure their online marketing spiel to bag new customers. Then there’s Insight Stream, which uses data to deliver advice in plain-English to marketers.
Founded in 2010, WeWork offers shared work spaces in more than 20 locations across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The company has raised around $7 billion in funding, and is now valued at more than $20 billion, making it one of the world’s most valuable startups. WeWork raised the last chunk of its capital via a $4.4 billion SoftBank investment six months ago.
So WeWork clearly has enough cash in the bank, but why would it look to invest in what is essentially a glorified SEO marketing company? Well, WeWork has used Conductor’s services itself since 2016, so it knows what it can do. But more than that, WeWork serves as home to thousands of startups and enterprises, so it will now be able to offer Conductor’s services directly to help them improve their online presence. Consider it a value-added service of sorts… from the landlord.
“Often, we look to the things that have helped make our own business thrive when we make new offerings available to our members,” WeWork said in a blog post. “If a new approach, platform, or service has helped our fast-growing global business flourish, we want to share those learnings with our members and beyond.”
WeWork has made seven previous acquisitions, the last one of which was in November when it snapped up real-world social community platform Meetup.
Such strategic acquisitions are seemingly key to WeWork’s value proposition — it wants to be seen as more than a “desk-for-hire” shared workspace and more of an all-singing “we will help your business flourish” entity. Plus, Conductor could be an inroad to many more enterprise tenants for WeWork.
“Conductor has helped us improve our digital marketing and online presence by making it easier for us to reach new potential WeWork members based on what they are seeking,” WeWork added. “They’ve also helped us tailor our efforts regionally. Conductor’s platform has helped us grow our business, and we want to help them scale so they can help you grow yours. Together, we can help large companies expand their digital presence and deliver customer value through digital content.”
This doesn’t mean that Conductor is going away though. According to WeWork, it will continue to operate as an independent, standalone business, with cofounder and CEO Seth Besmertnik staying in his existing role and reporting to WeWork president and CFO Artie Minson.
“Conductor has made it easier for us to reach potential WeWork members who are looking for workspace,” added Minson. “It’s also helped us get the word out about the services and amenities that we offer to companies of all sizes.”