Adam Neumann’s startup leases WeWork model

Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork, speaks to guests during the TechCrunch Disrupt event in Manhattan, in New York City, NY, U.S., May 15, 2017.

NEW YORK, Aug 15 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Adam Neumann’s latest startup looks a lot like his old one. The WeWork co-founder nabbed a $350 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, according to the New York Times, which noted it is the venture capital firm’s largest individual check cut in a funding round. Neumann’s new residential rental company, Flow, is resurrecting WeWork’s hype.

Andreessen is light on details and heavy on change-the-world spin while noting “lessons learned” from Neumann’s WeWork debacle. The shared workspace company suffered from a lofty technology valuation of $47 billion in 2019; it’s now worth $4 billion.

The residential rental market is indeed in need of a shakeup. Neumann, who has bought apartment units in Miami and elsewhere, wants to transform it by offering, say, community features.

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But signs are pointing to more outsized puffery. Flow isn’t expected to launch until next year, and yet it is already valued at $1 billion, according to the New York Times. It risks becoming a repeat performance by Neumann. (By Jennifer Saba)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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