Adam Neumann, WeWork’s former CEO, has new real estate startup Flow, reportedly valued at more than $1 billion

CNN Business

Nearly three years after Adam Neumann stepped down as CEO of WeWork following a failed attempt to take the company public, he is once again said to be in charge of a billion-dollar real estate startup.

Andreessen Horowitz, the prominent venture capital firm known for its early investments in Twitter and Airbnb, has pumped about $350 million into Neumann’s latest venture, called Flow, according to The New York Times, citing unnamed sources briefed on the deal. The investment valued the startup at more than $1 billion, according to the report.

Representatives for Flow and Andreessen Horowitz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a blog post on Monday, Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner at the VC firm, announced the investment, without disclosing financial details. He also explained his thoughts on backing Flow, a residential real estate company, and Neumann despite the founder’s high-profile fall from grace at WeWork.

“Adam is a visionary leader who revolutionized the second largest asset class in the world — commercial real estate — by bringing community and brand to an industry where neither existed before,” Andreessen wrote in his post Monday. “Adam, and the story of WeWork, has been exhaustively chronicled, analyzed and fictionalized – sometimes accurately. For all the energy that goes into covering the story, it’s often taken for granted that only one person has fundamentally redesigned the office experience and led a paradigm-shifting global company in the process: Adam Neumann.”

It is not immediately clear how Flow seeks to revolutionize the housing industry. Flow currently has a bare-bones website, with the tagline “Live life in flow” and two words that say it will launch in 2023.

Andreessen positioned the new company as a long-awaited solution to the nation’s “housing crisis.” He used a mix of jargon-laden terms — “community-driven, experience-centric service” — to explain how the new startup would “create a system where renters get the benefits of owners.”

“We think it’s only natural that Adam, for his first venture since WeWork, returns to the theme of connecting people through transforming their physical spaces and building communities where people spend the most time: their homes,” wrote Andreessen. “Residential property – the world’s largest asset class – is ready for exactly this change.”

Under Neumann’s leadership, WeWork expanded from shared coworking spaces with elaborate perks to experimenting with fitness centers, a school and housing. The latest of these initiatives, called WeLive, allows customers to rent a bed or a private room in a shared location, with common rooms available for yoga, ping-pong and more.

Once valued at $47 billion on the private market at its peak, WeWork went through a disastrous attempt to go public, largely hampered by IPO filings that revealed Neumann’s unchecked power and many potential conflicts of interest, as well as WeWork’s staggering losses. Neumann was eventually removed from his CEO role at WeWork, but walked away with an exit package reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Former WeWork CEO Gets Massive Payout (2019)

WeWork’s dramatic rise and spectacularly failed first attempt to go public inspired a TV show, which in part portrayed Neumann as the poster child for startup culture’s excess.

WeWork eventually went public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in 2021. WeWork currently has a market capitalization of around $4 billion.

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