SoftBank says it has now invested $18.5 billion in WeWork, ‘more than the GDP’ of Bolivia, which has 11.5 million people

Yesterday, in addressing nervous WeWork employees at an all-hands, the company’s new chairman, SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure, told those gathered that their days of worrying are over, says Recode, which obtained a leaked recording of the meeting.

In comments that may stun industry observers who haven’t done the math — and upset at least some percentage of SoftBank investors — Claure is quoted as telling employees: “We have guaranteed the future of WeWork, but more importantly is we’re putting the future back into our hands. There’s no more days needed to go fundraising. There’s no more days needed to go prove to the investor community that we’re a viable company. The size of the commitment that SoftBank has made to this company in the past and now is $18.5 billion. To put the things in context, that is bigger than the GDP of my country where I came from. That’s a country where there’s 11 million people.”

Claure, a native of Bolivia who was named chairman as part of SoftBank’s rescue of the beleaguered co-working company, has been a SoftBank lieutenant for the last five years, and currently holds a variety of titles on its behalf, including COO of

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