🥸 Neumann's New Venture
If you've ever been highly suspicious and deeply cynical of Silicon Valley's dealmaking, this one's for you: Adam Neumann, the notorious founder of WeWork who crashed out of his company in spectacular fashion, is back. This time, Neumann is getting into the residential real estate game with a venture called Flow. Details are scant beyond being an “alternative to 'soulless' apartment living where you gain neither friends nor equity amid an affordable housing shortage,” says The Hustle. But here's the kicker: despite Neumann's notoriety, Flow already has backing from Andreessen Horowitz, one of the largest and most respected names in the Valley.
Since exiting WeWork in 2019, Neumann has bought up 3,000 apartment units in Atlanta, Nashville, and south Florida that will be associated with Flow. Yet, the venture seems all too similar to WeLive, an idea Neumann was planning while at WeWork.
Andreessen Horowitz has put $350 million into Flow, which values the company at $1 billion.
Who Gets In?
Neumann's comeback begs the question: who gets a second chance? For investor Kathryn Finney, Andreessen Horowitz's bet on Neumann is a “slap in the face” to female founders, black entrepreneurs, and other marginalized people. “It sends a signal that you can really mess up as a white guy and still get second chances to win,” she told Fortune, adding that the sum total of all investment in black start-ups for the second quarter of 2022 was $324 million — nearly 8% less than Andreessen Horowitz's single investment in Flow.
Neumann's resurrection does paint an unfavorable picture of Silicon Valley and the VC world. Similarly, his entrance into the residential real estate space gives a strong 2008 housing bubble vibe.