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Meet the new Adam Neumann (or the updated version, at least). Two years after his $47 billion company, WeWork, collapsed in a failed bid to go public, the iconoclastic entrepreneur is staging an unrepentant comeback that he claims will bring him ‘bigger’ and better success than ever before.
Yet his reinvention seems to be more a rehashing of his infamous failed start-up story; when it comes to the newest chapter of the disgraced CEO’s corporate dealings, it appears ‘everything old is Neumann again.’
Neumann, 42, is the man who once raised $10 billion from investors by hawking a vison of happy millennials sharing a workspace, playing shuffleboard, drinking unlimited beer and basking in the neon light of kitschy motivational signs; all while he himself was blowing millions of dollars on his rock star lifestyle.
His plummet from corporate grace was swift and well documented, yet Neumann appears undeterred from once again launching himself into the start-up world.
In a rare interview with the Financial Times last week, the disgraced CEO even teased his return to the WeWork board of directors, while outlining a three-pronged plan for re-entry into the slash and burn culture of Silicon Valley. It involves: establishing new startups, funding and mentoring others, and becoming an apartment mogul.
Despite a dismal corporate track record that ended in 2,400 layoffs, him being fired from his own company, and $40 billion in obliterated value — Neumann claims that his second act is ‘something much bigger than I even knew was possible.’
Today Neumann 2.0 oversees a lean staff of 50 people in an office inside a former WeWork building in the Greenwich Village. In spite of his past corporate failures, which resulted in thousands of job losses, he’s managed to snag top talent from the Soros Fund Management, Citigroup, and General Catalyst to run his family office.
Disgraced WeWork cofounder, Adam Neuman, 42, is staging a comeback two years after his $47 billion company collapsed in a failed bid to go public. He outlined a three-pronged plan for his future which involves: the founding new startups, funding and mentoring other startups, and growing his massive residential real estate portfolio that is already worth an estimated $1 billion
Today, Neumann, 42, is staging a comeback and is contemplating his return to WeWork’s board of directors as an observer without voting rights. In an interview with the Financial Times, he said ‘I don’t want to make any statements that affect it in any way. I also don’t want to be a back-seat driver’
Today the disgraced CEO oversees a staff of 50 people in his family office which is headquartered out an 11-story Beaux Arts building in the Greenwich Village. He opened the fund in July 2019, just months before the failed public offering of WeWork. Via his family office, Neumann mentors and funds 49 outside startups in a wide range of industries, from a mortgage lending company to a business which applies artificial intelligence to in vitro fertilization
Their day-to-day roles have yet to be clearly defined by Neumann, who has painted a somewhat hazy picture of his current business dealings.
He is particularly focused on developing his new carbon emission offset company, Flow Carbon, which he says pulled $10 million in revenue last year. It’s small change for someone whose net worth once soared to $13 billion (on paper), and smacks of hypocrisy given that he spent most of his time as WeWork CEO flying around the world on a private jet.
Perhaps Neumann’s most profitable endeavor might be in growing his massive real estate portfolio, which is worth more than $1 billion, and which is plans to transform into luxury living ‘communities’. How successful it will be remains to be seen; he is no doubt hoping that it will prove to bring about more lucrative ends than his last vision for a residential utopia, ‘WeLive’, flopped spectacularly.
There has been no shortage of ink spilled in detailing the spectacular rise and fall of WeWork, with particular focus on Neumann’s erratic behavior. Specifically how the hard-partying exec once threw a bottle of tequila through a plate glass window, scheduled meetings at 2am, treated his staff like serfs, flew on private jets with a ‘cereal box of marijuana,’ and didn’t so much as bat an eye for corporate governance.
Neumann has been the subject of thousands of unflattering articles, two high-profile books, a podcast, multiple documentaries, a forthcoming Netflix drama, and the new series, WeCrashed, which premieres on Friday on Apple TV+.
WeCrashed chronicles the company’s meteoric ascent to a $47 billion valuation and its precipitous overnight decline. (Today WeWork is worth an estimated $9 billion.) Jared Leto will star as the megalomaniac co-founder and Anne Hathaway plays his equally ambitious wife Rebekah.
That’s right, the man who once lectured Elon Musk on how to get to Mars, and held grandiose ambitions of creating his own ‘WeWorld,’ is making moves and, in a rather ironic twist, says he wants his next chapter ‘to be the truth.’
Jared Leto (left) stars as the megalomaniac WeWork co-founder, Neumann (right), in a new series on airing tonight on AppleTV+ titled, ‘WeCrashed.’ The show details the story of how the charismatic co-founder of the millennial co-working startup drove the company to an astounding $47 billion value through salesmanship before it collapsed in failed bid to go public in 2019. As a result, Neuman was ousted from the company, and the value plummeted to $7 billion
Neumann’s wife, Rebekah, who called herself a cofounder of WeWork, will be played by Anne Hathaway. Insiders describe how Rebekah was the spiritual, strategic mastermind of WeWork and driving force behind her husband. As the company floundered, Rebekah lavished in her billionaire lifestyle, partying on private jets, while preaching a New Age lifestyle to employees. Above, the couple poses at the 2018 Time 100 Gala
Jared Leto will star as the megalomaniac co-founder and Anne Hathaway as his equally ambitious wife Rebekah in the new AppleTV+ series, WeCrashed. Hathaway said she became vegan to prepare for her role as Rebekah who was strict about her environmentally conscious ethos. Neumann infamously banned the consumption of meat in the WeWork offices before flip-flopping on the rule and clarifying that it would no longer reimburse staff for dinners of beef, poultry or pork. Staff members revolted by expensing pricy lobster meals
You might ask, how is he affording it all?
Neumann launched WeWork in 2010 using some of a $1 million wedding gift from his wife Rebekah’s parents. This time, he’s funding startup ventures through a controversial exit package that saw him walk away with $1.7 billion in pocket.
In 2019, the disgraced CEO was offered an unprecedented golden parachute to step down from the company he left in tatters. It was a deal ‘so sweet,’ it led one governance expert to say ‘we’re all going to become diabetic.’
The deal left WeWork staffers seething, as thousands were forced to forgo all their stock options when they were laid off from the company. And those who survived the cull, suddenly discovered their shares were worthless.
In November 2021, the failed entrepreneur told Andrew Ross Sorkin at a DealBook that he’s done ‘a tremendous amount of giveback.’ When asked if he would give former employees some of the money he made from the eventual IPO, the former exec said he ‘had thought about the idea, but was not ready to discuss it further.’
Adam Nuemann’s next chapter: Disgraced CEO’s three-pronged comeback plan
With no sign of remorse, the WeWork CEO has outlined his second act in a three-pronged approach:
– Using lessons learned from the epic failure of his own startup to fund and mentor new entrepreneurs. According to FT, he has as quietly invested in 49 companies
– Creating a widely recognizable apartment brand out of his $1 billion residential real estate empire. The property venture doesn’t have an official name yet, and it’s unclear what will differentiate it from other rental offerings — though Neumann said he thinks there’s ‘room for more community’ in apartment living
– Continue buying up rain forests on the Equator to prevent them from being cut down in his new carbon-emission offset startup, Flow Carbon
There has since been no evidence that he’s given any money back. It’s likely because he needs the funds to finance Round 2 of ‘elevating the world’s consciousness.’ Again, the details of which remain rather hazy.
Meanwhile, Neumann remains undeterred. According to his interview with the Financial Times, the disgraced CEO is flirting with the idea of returning to WeWork’s board of directors, after a one-year ban expired last month.
‘I don’t want to make any statements that affect it in any way. I also don’t want to be a back-seat driver,’ he told the outlet.
Neumann still owns 10 per cent of the company, but holds no voting rights after ceding control in a legal settlement with SoftBank. While he is openly teasing the idea of his return to the board, in reality he would need to jump through several hoops in order to make it happen, namely earning the approval of SoftBank.
Although the disgraced CEO is eligible to rejoin the board, he can only do so if SoftBank gives his reappointment the OK, something that the Japanese investment group seems very unlikely to ever do, given Neumann’s scandal-ridden history with the company.
He also doesn’t equivocate when it comes to his enduring belief in the WeWork model, which he said was strengthened during the pandemic. ‘The opportunity is going to be even greater,’ he said.
At its peak, WeWork had 485 co-working spaces in more than 110 cities in 29 countries with a valuation of $47 billion.
In July 2019, Neumann thought he was untouchable. Piggybacking off his success, he decided to launch a family office called ‘166 2nd Financial Services’ by cashing out $700 million in WeWork stock just months ahead of its planned public offering. It was a contentious move that made potential IPO investors wary, but at the time Neumann was on top of the world: WeWork was considered the most valuable startup in the world, and his personal net worth (on paper) was $13 billion.
He hired three veteran investors to manage the fund: Ilan Stern, DJ Mauch and Max Fink, saying that he only expected to see them ‘once in a while.’ By September 2019, Neumann was out a job. WeWork’s initial public offering flopped, and its valuation sunk to $9 billion.
‘I walked into the family office, and I looked at them and they looked at me and we were like, ‘Well, what now?” he recalls to the Financial Times.
Today Neumann oversees a staff of 50 people in his family office which is headquartered out an 11-story Beaux Arts building in the trendy Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.
The building is one of several that he personally owned and controversially leased back to his co-working startup – sparking major concerns from critics who called it a ‘self-dealing’ conflict of interest. Outside, is the remnants of a former WeWork logo that once hung on its limestone façade. Inside is reminiscent of its sleek modern aesthetic, but long gone are the are the ping pong tables, kegs of beer, phonebooth pods and motivational neon signs encouraging millennial employees to ‘Hustle.’
Since being ousted from the company, Neumann has invested in 49 outside startups and amassed a $1 billion real estate portfolio. He has stakes in a wide range of industries, from a mortgage lending company named Valon to a business called ‘AiVF,’ which applies artificial intelligence to in vitro fertilization.
‘I build companies, and I do that through mission, values, culture and then helping lead a team of people in one direction,’ he says, with zero self-awareness for the company he ran into the ground with a ‘tequila-fueled leadership style’ that ex-employees said was ‘cult like.’
Nonetheless, Neumann believes that lessons learned from the epic failures of WeWork have primed him for the world of venture capitalism. ‘I believe it’s that experience that is allowing me and the team now to be venture investors,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.’
‘When I speak to the entrepreneur, I used to be that entrepreneur, I can see myself in them,’ he told FT, while explaining that he cuts his protégés some slack as a result. ‘You sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.’
In the case of WeWork, Neumann, made more wrong decisions than right. Today he preaches that, ‘To be an entrepreneur, you have to regularly make decisions on the spot. And to be successful, you have to, over time, make more right decisions than you did wrong — actually, a lot more right. And the higher the growth of the business, the faster you move, the tougher that it is to do.’
Neumann’s tequila-fueled leadership style – where dance parties were more common than meetings – helped the company become one of the hottest tech startups. At the annual company retreat in 2018, Neumann ordered 12 cases of Don Julio 1942 tequila that cost $140 each, for him and his wife Rebekah’s personal stash. His three-page rider also demanded ’48 bottles of kosher red and white wine, 216 bottles of beer and two bottles of Highland Park’s 30-year-old single-malt Scotch whisky, retailing at $1,000 each’
A WeWork employee accused the company of fostering a ‘frat house’ work environment through alcohol-heavy events and mandated weekly happy hours. (A company event is show above). Every Monday, staffers were required to partake in a ‘Thank God It’s Monday’ team-building event that that always ended in shots of tequila. Other employees who quit said it was like ‘escaping (cults like) Jonestown or Waco’
Neumann’s wife Rebekah is said to be the inspiration behind his latest startup, ‘Flow Carbon,’ which sells carbon offset credits to companies looking to counter their emissions. The business began after Rebekah started buying up large swathes of rain forests along the Equator to prevent them from being cut down. ‘Within a year, we’ve bought more than a few times the size of the state of New Jersey, really a lot of forest,’ said Neumann to FT. Rebekah challenged the family office to devise a plan that will allow them to buy more forests while turning also turning a profit. Neumann claims it did $10 million in sales last year
Friends told the Financial Times that they’re not sure if Nuemann feels contrite for burning through investor money while tanking his company that also laid off 2,400 employees. ‘I don’t think he feels remorse,’ said one. ‘I think he’s still processing what happened to him and is in search of wanting to have that thing again’
Much like the cult following he cultivated at WeWork, Neumann has found a new class of disciples among the startups he funds.
Andrew Wang, the CEO of Valon, says that startups are about bringing people who believe in a common mission together. ‘When you think about who has done that best, above all else, it’s Adam. He wants you to build something greater than yourself. That is my truth of who he is.’
‘This guy knows how to break glass. He disrupted commercial real estate faster than anyone on the planet. To have him on our side as we do it in residential is a very powerful thing,’ said Marcela Sapone, co-founder of Alfred. Neuman’s home office invested $30 million into the startup that provides concierge services to residential buildings.
Ironically, Neumann’s most financially viable endeavor might be the same one that flopped catastrophically under his watch as CEO on WeWork: real estate.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire quietly snapped up more than 4,000 apartments (valued at more than $1 billion) throughout Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, and Fort Lauderdale during the pandemic.
Residential real estate is a loophole in the non-compete agreement that he signed with SoftBank which precludes him from dipping his toe back into commercial reality.
It seems that Neumann has learned his lesson in the collapse of his former real estate company. One of the many shocking things revealed in the postmortem of WeWork was the fact that it didn’t actually own any property. Their business model was to sublease commercial space as co-working offices to other companies. At the end of the day, WeWork was on the hook for $50 billion in rent whether they had a tenant or not.
Instead, he hopes to shake up the rental-housing market with a new brand of luxury buildings that will appeal to the same sort of young professionals that flocked to his co-working office spaces at WeWork.
‘All I can tell you is, I think the opportunity is tremendous.’
‘If you stopped construction today, you [would] run out of homes in less than two months. Crazy, huh?’ he says to the Financial Times. The housing market has not been kind to millennials, whom Neumann calls ‘the We generation.’ The average age of a US homebuyer today is 45.
The residential property venture doesn’t have an official name yet, and it’s unclear how it will differentiate from other rental offerings, but he explains: ‘We started by buying this real estate, but then I started walking the buildings, just feeling, and it felt like there’s so much more that could be done to make these tenants’ lives better.’
As always, Neumann is selling a lifestyle. His Nashville property is a 268-unit multiplex that features a saltwater pool, a dog park and valet trash pickup.
‘It felt like frankly, there’s room for more community.’ The We generation, he says, ‘has learnt a lot in corona.’
Of course, it’s not the first time Neumann wandered into the residential sector. Riding on the coattails of WeWork, the former executive established ‘WeLive,’ a failed endeavor that hoped to provide a brand of furnished apartments that offered yoga classes and complimentary snacks.
After the collapse of the company, WeWork was forced to sell off its ultra-luxurious $60 million jet. The Gulfstream G650 was used extensively by Neumann for professional trips and personal vacations. On one journey there was said to be so much cannabis smoke in the cabin that the crew felt the need to put on their oxygen masks
After a chartering a trip to Mexico City in 2015, the airline complained to WeWork that ‘passengers were spitting tequila on each other,’ one passenger became so sick that he vomited ‘throughout the cabin and lavatory.’ Adding insult to injury, the ‘crew was not tipped’
In 2017, Rebekah Neumann opened a woo woo pre-school called WeGrow in the corporate offices of WeWork. With the the grandiose vision to ‘elevate the world’s consciousness’ Rebekah’s pre-school offered morning meditation classes, called WePractice, and entrepreneurship opportunities. ‘In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,’ she told Bloomberg. Tuition was upwards of $42,000 per year
According to Neumann’s mother, Avivit, an oncologist and urologist from Israel who spent much of her career trying to find a cure for cancer, the WeWork founder showed a flair for business at a young age, landing his first job as a newspaper delivery boy at the age of ten.
How Adam Neumann’s in-laws helped to finance launch of WeWork with a $1M wedding gift
Rebecca Paltrow-Neumann is a failed actress who grew up in the lap of privilege on Long Island.
She studied business and Buddhism at Cornell where she joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Initially, Neumann worked as a stockbroker at Smith Barney before going to India to study yoga.
She later tried to follow in the footsteps of her famous cousin Gwyneth Paltrow, but was never able to find any success in acting.
In 2010, Neumann financed WeWork’s first location in SoHo using money from the $1 million that her parents had given the couple as a wedding gift.
She played an influential part in her husband’s business behind the scenes as an adviser, financier and muse. She called herself a ‘strategic thought partner.’
Much like her husband, she was prone to mood shifts and once fired a mechanic for WeWork’s Gulfstream jet, within minutes of meeting him because she didn’t like his energy.
One person who interviewed for a job with Rebekah told Vanity Fair: ‘I got the sense that she was guiding the company through her astrological intuition.’
Rebekah is credited with putting the New Age spin on WeWork’s corporate ethos.
She told School of Greatness podcast in 2018 that ‘eating sad animals will make you sad because you absorb the energy of what you eat,’ and also added ‘the secret to living forever is having a flexible spine.’
In a March 2020 interview, she recounted how her son began paying her rent from his salary; at the time, Avivit was a single mother who had relocated from her home in Israel to Indianapolis in order to pursue her medical training, having divorced Neumann’s father in 1988.
‘After a month he gave me $150. He said, “I earned $300, this is my share of the rent,”‘ she recalled.
Neumann launched himself into the start-up world long before WeWork was brought to life.
In fact, he toiled over two failed business ventures: one was a collapsible high heel for women, the other was a line of clothing for babies with built-in knee pads.
The Apple TV+ series ‘WeCrashed’ charts how Neumann drove WeWork’s growth through bulletproof confidence and persuasive salesmanship. After cofounding the company in 2010, Neumann seduced investors to pour over $10 billion into WeWork by touting it as a tech company, even though it was really just a dressed up real-estate business that mostly leased properties.
Everybody wanted a piece of the action: JP Morgan invested $100 million. Goldman Sachs had a $355 million stake. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, (the startup kingmaker was one of the world’s wealthiest investors) initially dropped $4.4 billion before going on to save the fledging company with an additional $13 billion buyout.
An entire financial system was lured by Neumann’s fluency in Silicon Valley lingo and lofty ambitions. ‘We are here in order to change the world,’ Neumann once said. ‘Nothing less than that interests me.’
Encouraged by the free flow of tequila, and billion-dollar backing of high profile investors, Neumann’s outsize ego was unbounded by reality.
In one interview, the entrepreneur likened himself to the messiah of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs: ‘The ’90s and early 2000s were the ‘I’ decade – iPhone, the iPod. The next decade is the ‘We’ decade.’ He said. ‘If you look closely, we’re already in a revolution.’
As captain of the ship, Neumann mostly played the role of ‘partier in chief.’ His tequila-fueled leadership style – where dance parties were more common than meetings – helped the company become one of the hottest tech startups on the planet.
Neumann burned through cash on lavish corporate expenditures that included a Gulfstream G650ER private jet, extravagant office parties with paid guest performances by the Chainsmokers, Busta Rhymes, Florence + the Machine, and a yearly multiday corporate retreat known as ‘Summer Camp.’
Summer Camp was initially hosted on an upstate New York farm where all kinds of activities were offered from yoga, to ax throwing, drum circle, and drugs. One year, The Weeknd was flown in via helicopter for entertainment.
In 2018, the annual bacchanalian retreat was moved to London, where 8,000 WeWork employees were flown in from around the world to enjoy performances by Lorde, lakeside meditation sessions, beatboxing workshops and motivation speeches by Deepak Chopra.
Booze was the centerpiece of every event.
‘They would give you two bottles of rosé, and we’d drink them like Edward Forty-F******-Hands,’ told one former employee to New York Magazine.
Neumann had a three-and-a-half page rider of demands that included a personal supply of alcohol of ’12 cases of Don Julio 1942 premium tequila, 48 bottles of kosher red and white wine, 216 bottles of beer and two bottles of Highland Park’s 30-year-old single-malt Scotch whisky, retailing at $1,000 each.’ According to the book, Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Fall of WeWork, his hooch ‘could have covered most of an entry-level WeWork salary.’
By 2017, Neumann was frittering away money compulsively. His office suites were absurd even by the standards of Silicon Valley bosses. In the early days he had a punching bag, a gong and a bar – later he had a private bathroom with a sauna and a cold-plunge tub at his office in New York.
He also had a ‘smoke eater’ installed at the Chelsea WeWork headquarters to help suction up the marijuana fumes from his excessive habit.
Neumann and his debauched brigade of party pals were notorious among private jet crews. On one journey there was said to be so much cannabis smoke in the cabin that the crew felt the need to put on their oxygen masks.
During another trip in 2015 to Mexico City, passengers were ‘spitting tequila on each other.’ One passenger vomited ‘throughout the cabin and lavatory.’ Adding insult to injury, the ‘crew was not tipped.’
Neumann’s second act involves expanding his real-estate portfolio by snapping up 4,000 apartments in hopes of creating a new brand of luxury buildings that will appeal to the same sort of young professionals that once flocked to his co-working spaces. He bought a 268-unit complex in Nashville, Tennessee that features a saltwater pool, a dog park, a rooftop lounge and valet trash pickup. In Miami, Neumann owns a 444-unit apartment tower that includes a swimming pool with cabana and towel service, an outdoor game lawn and a separate sun-bathing lawn
Neumann’s ambition is to create a widely recognizable apartment brand out of his $1 billion residential real estate empire. The real estate venture doesn’t have an official name yet, and it’s unclear how it will differentiate from other rental offerings, but Neumann hopes to appeal to the same sort of young professionals that once flocked to his co-working office spaces at WeWork. ‘Since the spring of 2020, we have been excited about multifamily apartment living in vibrant cities where a new generation of young people increasingly are choosing to live, the kind of cities that are redefining the future of living,’ said DJ Mauch, a partner in Neumann’s family office
In 2017, the Neumanns paid $34 million for a block of apartments spanning three floors in the tony Manhattan enclave of Irving Place. The only downside to the location was a 5G cellular antenna next to their apartment and Rebekah was worried that electromagnetism could cause cancer. She tasked WeWork employees with getting it removed- first, asking CFO Artie Minson to appeal to Verizon to find a new home for the antenna, despite him busily preparing WeWork for an IPO. Eventually the Neumanns found a way to buy out the cell carrier’s lease
Other shocking revelations of Neumann’s mercurial managerial style were laid bare in ‘The Cult of We’ book written by co-authors Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell.
Execs working for the company who requested in-person meetings might be asked to fly with Neumann to San Francisco at the drop of a hat. Equally, he was known to keep senior partners waiting for hours or perhaps having had them join him on board, not find any time to speak with them during the six-and-a-half-hour flight.
Staffers report being abandoned upon landing and having to make their own way home.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, as WeWork was preparing paperwork for a public offering, Neumann was busy enjoying a surf trip in the Maldives. Reluctant to cut his trip short, the partier-in-chief summoned an underling to fly out and brief him on the news.
When not in an aircraft, Neumann would sometimes meet with staff in his luxury $200,000 Maybach car before telling them to get out once the conversation was over and to ride in a ‘chase car’ which would be following behind.
‘One executive was shown the door in the middle of gridlocked traffic on the Long Island Expressway — instructed to find the chase car somewhere behind them in the traffic,’ the book recounts.
As WeWork’s valuation ballooned, so did Neumann’s ego. At one point he floated interest in becoming Israel’s prime minister or ‘leader of the world.’ He said that he wanted to live forever and become ‘the world’s first trillionaire’ by taking WeWork to Mars.
‘WeWork Mars is in our pipeline,’ he declared to staff after meeting with his idol, Elon Musk in 2015.
In reality Neumann’s summit with the SpaceX boss by didn’t go as planned. He flubbed his pitch for a habitable WeWork colony on Mars by lecturing to Musk that, ‘Getting to Mars would be the easy part, building community would be hard.’
As WeWork’s valuation ballooned, so did Neumann’s ego. At one point he floated interest in becoming Israel’s prime minister or ‘leader of the world.’ He also said that he wanted to live forever and become ‘the world’s first trillionaire’ by taking WeWork to Mars. ‘WeWork Mars is in our pipeline,’ he declared to staff after meeting Elon Musk in 2015
One shocking allegation made about Neumann’s managerial style was that he would sometimes meet with staff in his luxury $200,000 Maybach car before telling them to get out once the conversation was over and to ride in a ‘chase car’ which would be following behind. ‘One executive was shown the door in the middle of gridlocked traffic on the Long Island Expressway — instructed to find the chase car somewhere behind them in the traffic,’ recounts the book ‘The Cult of We’
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Neuman on May 16, 2018 in New York City, months before WeWork’s failed IPO
His latest endeavor is a company called ‘Flow Carbon,’ which sells carbon offset credits to people and companies looking to counter their emissions.
The name was inspired by Neumann’s obsession with surfing. ‘Surfers like to use the word ‘flow state.’ When you’re in flow state, you’re really going for it,’ he said. ‘When we think of the environment, we think of ourselves, we think of the harmony between us and other people, we want to flow. And I think something we all learnt in corona is we all want to be in this state of flow.’
The idea was inspired by his wife, Rebekah, who once had the grandiose vision to ‘elevate the world’s consciousness’ by starting a woo woo pre-school called WeGrow in 2017.
Like almost everything in the WeWork universe, the $42,000-a-year school flopped under the reckless control of the Neumanns. Teachers would return to work on Mondays to find their classrooms trashed from a weekend of tequila -fueled bacchanals that the couple hosted for friends at the school.
Flow Carbon began after Rebekah started buying up equatorial rain forests to prevent them from being cut down.
‘Within a year, we’ve bought more than a few times the size of the state of New Jersey, really a lot of forest. But very quickly, we realized we can’t buy enough,’ explained Neumann to the FT.
Rebekah took her environmentally conscious ethos to the family-office and challenged them to come up with a plan that will allow them to buy more carbon sinks while turning a profit at the same time. The result is Flow Carbon, and Neumann claims it did $10 million in sales last year.
Whether or not Neumann has been humbled by the experiences of the past two years, remains to be seen.
One friend is skeptical, he told the FT: ‘I don’t think he feels remorse. I think he’s still processing what happened to him and is in search of wanting to have that thing again.’
The entrepreneur prefers to draw on his favorite hobby as an analogy to his comeback story. ‘The longer you practice, just like surfing over time, the better you get at it. So you fall in surfing, and then you get up and do it again. And you do it just a little bit better.’
For now, you can hold applause for the encore.
Source: Daily Mail