Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz announced Monday that it plans to invest in Adam Neumann’s new residential real estate company called Flow.
Neumann is the founder and former CEO of the coworking space company WeWork, but he left in 2019 after the company botched its plans to go public. The company’s 2019 IPO filing showed large losses, a complicated corporate structure, and anomalies such as the company paying Neumann nearly $6 million to acquire the trademark to “We” prior to a corporate name change. (Neumann later returned the stock.) Media reports around the same time described a culture of excess, and Neumann eventually resigned, walking away with a massive payout. WeWork eventually went public through a SPAC in 2021.
Andreessen Horowitz said in a blog post that Neumann’s efforts to redesign the office experience at WeWork are “often under appreciated” and that the firm loves “seeing repeat-founders build on past successes by growing from lessons learned.”
Flow’s website doesn’t offer many details on the company but says it’s expected to launch in 2023. According to The New York Times, Flow is “effectively a service that landlords can team up with for their properties, somewhat similar to the way an owner of a hotel might contract with a branded hotel chain to operate the property.” The New York Times said Andreesen Horowitz invested about $350 million in Flow.
Andreesen Horowitz suggests that Flow may enable a new way for people to purchase their living space, though it’s unclear if that’s through a rent-to-own model. “In a world where limited access to home ownership continues to be a driving force behind inequality and anxiety, giving renters a sense of security, community, and genuine ownership has transformative power for our society,” Andreessen Horowitz co-founder and general partner Marc Andreessen wrote in a blog post.
“We think it is natural that for his first venture since WeWork, Adam returns to the theme of connecting people through transforming their physical spaces and building communities where people spend the most time: their homes.”
“We are thrilled by the scope and aspiration of this project,” Andreessen said. “It is not lacking in vision or ambition, but only projects with such lofty goals have a chance at changing the world.”
Clarification: Neumann’s compensation for the trademark, which he later returned, was in stock, not cash.