Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann plotting secret new ‘pandemic’ biz

Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann plotting secret new ‘pandemic’ biz

April 3, 2021

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Don’t count Adam Neumann out.

The disgraced former WeWork CEO may have lost his empire, but an insider told The Post that Neumann, 41, is already plotting his mysterious next business move.

“It involves what happened in the world because of the pandemic,” the insider said. “He’s got big plans and he’s waiting for the right time to announce them.”

Neumann reportedly hasn’t seen the buzzy new Hulu documentary “WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” that details his spectacular rise and fall as CEO of the once-hot office space startup.

The entrepreneur is portrayed in the documentary as a charismatic but deluded charlatan who convinced financial movers and shakers — from Chase Bank’s Jamie Dimon to SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son — to mentor him and give him billions for WeWork before it all went very wrong in August 2019.

Close friends and family members have “described” the film to him but the wunderkind-turned punchline doesn’t watch or read things about himself, an insider told The Post.

Instead, he’s holed up in his Greenwich Village home with his wife, Rebekah, and five children, working on the “brand-new” venture.

Neumann hasn’t spoken publicly since leaving the company in September 2019, six weeks after his communal office space company filed documents for an IPO, boasting an eye-popping valuation of $47 billion. But that valuation fell by half over the next month and the IPO failed amidst revelations that the company was losing money and that its growth projections were wildly optimistic. Adding to it: reports of Neumann’s rock ‘n’ roll excesses, including wild spending and marijuana use aboard a private jet, and financial irregularities.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Neumann was paid $1.7 billion in return for severing most of his ties with WeWork.

He’s also been widely mocked for pronouncements about wanting to live forever and referring to WeWork — essentially an office space sub-leasing business — as something that would “elevate the world’s consciousness.”

After losing the business, the family and their nannies decamped to Israel to lay low for several months. In a move meant to “simplify” life, the source said, the Neumanns have sold at least three of the reported six properties in their estimated $90 million portfolio, including one of their homes in the Hamptons, one in Westchester and a luxe Gramercy Park compound.

But three people who know Neumann, who grew up for a time on a kibbutz in Israel, told The Post that he’s not licking his wounds or hiding his head in shame — despite having fallen off Forbes’ billionaires list in 2020 after his net worth plunged from a high of $14 billion to $750 million.

“He does feel he made mistakes but he also feels the media made a sensation out of certain elements of the story,” one source familiar with the situation told The Post.

“The $47 billion valuation was probably a mistake. But WeWork is still a good company and he built it … It’s got hundreds of locations. I don’t know too many people who can build a company like that in 10 years.”

He’s also gotten support from some unlikely people.

“I feel odd defending a (sometimes quite sharp-elbowed) competitor, but I’m worried about these WeWork docs and movies,” Jamie Hodari, the CEO and co-founder at Industrious, a WeWork rival, wrote on LinkedIn recently.

Hodari told The Post that he thinks Neumann’s problematic reputation has unfairly smeared WeWork as a whole.

“Separating out how Adam comported himself professionally, you can’t ignore the fact the guy built a $9 billion company,” Hodari said. “Very few people have done that and in such a short amount of time.”

Mick McConnell, a former senior vice president at WeWork who is no longer in touch with Neumann, told The Post that he thought Neumann had been overly demonized.

“Adam assembled a team of people the likes of which have never been seen before,” said McConnell, who’s writing a book about WeWork. “We productized space — something which had never been done before — and changed the way architecture and development will be done from this point onwards. Co-working will become even more relevant as people start working out of the office even more.”

Neumann launched WeWork in 2010 with co-founder Miguel McKelvey, who’s barely mentioned in the documentary, and his wife Rebekah, a cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Rebekah, 42, a former aspiring actress and yoga instructor, is painted as a toxic, New Age Lady Macbeth in both the documentary and in the recent biography of her husband, “Billion Dollar Loser,” by Reeves Wiedeman.

According to Wiedeman, Rebekah’s fingerprints were all over the key element of the company’s near-implosion in August 2019 when WeWork filed its S-1 form in advance of a planned IPO.

The Neumanns seemed unconcerned that the document, code-named “Wingspan,” revealed We Work’s $1.6 billion losses — which horrified investors. Instead, Rebekah Neumann, whose title was Chief Brand and Impact Officer, commissioned a Vanity Fair photographer to take pictures of celebrities and influencers like Anna Faris, Aimee Song, Ron Howard and Arianna Huffington at WeWork spaces, and included them in the filing.

An insider who knows the couple said that some people expected Neumann to dump Rebekah after his embarrassing removal from the company.

“No way,” the source said. “Adam and Rebekah are devoted to one another and devoted to those kids. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast with how Adam is portrayed publicly and what a family man he is.”

Rebekah, who started a “conscious entrepreneurial school” for children within WeWork called “WeGrow,” is reportedly hoping to rebrand and relaunch it as a new venture called “Students for Life” or SOLFL (pronounced “soulful”) now that WeWork has sold the WeGrow rights back to her.

Meanwhile, Neumann — who has not undergone therapy or any type of rehab, an associate said — has invested in a number of startups including a tech-enabled mortgage service, a residential concierge service called Alfred and some Israeli companies.

He also came out of hiding in November to facilitate a deal between the head of a special purpose acquisition company and SoftBank, the now-majority owner of WeWork, that set the stage for his former company’s upcoming $9 billion IPO.

SoftBank originally bailed out WeWork after its first disastrous attempt to go public.

“[Adam’s] still a positive, happy guy,” an associate told The Post. “He feels humbled, yes, but he’s here to stay.”

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