September 29, 2022

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Adam Newman’s latest big idea? To become the largest landowner in America | WeWork

aNewman Dam oversaw one of the most dramatic trade collapses in modern history. A new era barefoot business messiah who managed to build and burn his last startup, an office sharing company WeWorkAmazingly, even Hollywood noticed.

And now he’s back – in his quest to become the largest landowner in America.

Newman, it was I mentioned this week, at the helm of a new company looking to reinvent residential living. Details are sketchy but the company, called Flow, aims to tackle the world’s housing crisis with “community-driven” rents – so we’re essentially WeWork for tenants.

Flow is off to a fast start after receiving one of the most coveted blessings a new venture out of Silicon Valley could have: a $350 million investment from venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, better known as A16Z.

The announcement of the company’s investment in Flow, which values ​​the company’s “pre-formation” — meaning it hasn’t launched yet — at $1 billion has rocked the startup world. It’s not only the A16Z’s single largest investment in a venture to date, but it’s also a huge endorsement of Neumann, who has become an anti-entrepreneur. The news immediately caused many jokes on Twitter, and a lot of outrage.

a16z: How can we trust you after WeWork?

Adam Newman: I’m Newman.

– Douglas A. Bonaparte (@dougboneparth) August 15, 2022

After promising to reshape the office world, and success in becoming the largest office owner in many cities, including London And in New York, WeWork suffered a major meltdown in 2019 when it was revealed that the company was worth much less than investors had thought.

The company was planning to join the stock market at a valuation of $47 billion, but when investors began scrutinizing the company’s business model and corporate governance structure, its value collapsed and collapsed. canceled her plans. WeWork Dismissed – Temporarily released 2400 employees and KAN NEWMAN For 445 million dollars to leave the company.

While the co-working company is by no means a failure, slowly finding itself in a post-Newman era, it was a typical example of startup booms and busts and an iconic image of the problems ahead.

Investors are beginning to realize that, with the injection of venture capital, many “unicorns”—those worth over $1 billion—have significantly inflated valuations and have often been price support Of services and products to kill competitors.

In the past few years, the WeWork story has been told repeatedly in numerous books, documentaries, and MovieMuch of it focused on the distractions and severity of Newman’s driving.

Lessons learned, according to Mark Andreessen, co-founder of the A16Z. This week he described Newman as a “visionary leader” who revolutionized commercial real estate and was ready for his next adventure.

Andreessen wrote in Blog post. “We understand how difficult it can be to build something like this and would love to see repeat founders build on past successes by growing from lessons learned.

“For Adam, successes and lessons are many.”

Neumann has maintained a low public profile in the years since he left WeWork, but has emerged more slowly. In November, he appeared at the DealBook Summit in the New York Times where he said WeWork’s growth “gone into my head.”

“I had a lot of time to think, and there were multiple lessons and many regrets,” he said He said.

In the spring, talk to financial times About his new ambitions, including the as yet unnamed Flow and his new role as a startup investor. Through his family office, Newman invests in more than 45 startup companies and has more than 50 employees, according to the Financial Times.

“The opportunity is huge,” Neumann told the newspaper of his new idea. “We started buying this property, but then I started walking around the buildings, and I just felt, and I felt like there was a lot that could be done to improve the lives of these tenants.

“I felt, frankly, that there was room for more community.”

For Adam, successes and lessons are many. Photo: VCG / Visual China Group / Getty Images

Even before he came out in public with his idea for Flow, a report from The Wall Street Journal Last January, Newman revealed that he had quietly purchased 4,000 apartments, valued at more than $1 billion, in large metropolitan areas of the Sunbelt, including Miami, Atlanta and Nashville. Newman began telling his friends and colleagues that he was looking to build a company that would create branded apartments that would come with amenities. One Nashville apartment features a saltwater pool and dog park.

There is no arguing that the United States has a housing crisis. A lack of supply and rising prices made home ownership too expensive for many and rents rose to record levels.

As Newman pointed out: “If you stop construction today, you [would] Houses ran out in less than two months. Crazy, huh? “

Andreessen also sees the need for more housing, not just in his backyard. in 2020 article On his vision for the future titled “Time to Build,” Andreessen declared: “We must have gleaming skyscrapers and amazing living environments in our best cities at levels beyond what we have now; where are they?”

He wrote: “We cannot build enough housing in our cities of increased economic potential — driving up housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for ordinary people to move in and take on the jobs of the future.” .

Despite this announcement, it is unlikely that Flow’s first apartment will be in Atherton, California, the upscale Andreessen neighborhood. earlier this month, Atlantic Ocean She reported that Andreessen and his wife, Laura Arilaja Andreessen, sent a capitalized public comment against zoning for a multi-family housing development in Atherton.

Attempting to increase the housing supply in the area, they wrote, “will significantly reduce our home values, the quality of life for ourselves and our neighbors and will increase noise and traffic pollution.”

And it’s not just housing advocates at Flow. The A16Z is under criticism for giving as much support to Neumann as Women And the black and spanish The founders struggle to get funding. Recent data has shown that at least 2% of venture capital funds in recent years have gone to underrepresented founders.

“This is disgusting,” Kate Broddock, CEO of Switch and general partner at W Fund, tweeted. “The biggest check in the A16Z goes to the founder (a straight white man) of one of the most toxic companies we have seen. Time and time again companies like this perpetuate a traditional system that favors a small, homogeneous group of founders.”

This is disgusting.@a16zBiggest check goes to (a straight white guy) the founder of one of the most toxic companies we’ve seen. Time and time again, companies like this entrench a traditional system that favors a small, homogeneous group of founders. https://t.co/PLMKGIULqC

– Kate Proddock (@Just_Kate) August 15, 2022

But for all the shock and surprise of Newman’s resurrection, McKeever Conwell II, founder and managing partner at RareBreed Ventures, said we shouldn’t really be surprised. Newman is an example of the rule, not the exception, in venture capital.

“At the end of the day, we, as venture capital, are basically money managers — we’re proud financial advisors. We take money from the rich or groups that have big pockets of capital, and our job is to make more money,” said Conwell, who is black . “Our job is not necessarily to care about morality, ethics, systemic racism, or financial inequality. There are many venture capitalists who care about that, but this is not the business.”

Despite Newman’s past, Conwell noted that the founder brought generous returns to early investors in WeWork who sold everything before it collapsed.

“From a venture capital perspective, if you were a previous investor in WeWork, you made a lot of money,” Conwell said. “It is very common for VCs to reinvest in the people they invested in before, especially the ones who made them money. Adam Newman made a lot of people a lot of money.”

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