Much has been written about WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann over the past couple of months, and for good reason.
But this week our team turned the spotlight on a few folks in Neumann’s inner circle, including a banker at the center of WeWork’s attempted IPO, the lawyer who helped Neumann nab a huge exit package, and the trio managing his millions.
- Dakin Campbell profiled top JPMorgan banker Noah Wintroub, who was at the center of WeWork’s failed IPO. He talked to insiders to learn more about Wintroub’s meteoric rise.
- Bob Schumer helped Adam Neumann nab his $1.7 billion WeWork exit package. Casey Sullivan talked to Schumer’s colleagues and friends, who said the hotshot M&A lawyer was the perfect fit for the high-stakes negotiation.
- Shona Ghosh had fresh details on the three men quietly overseeing Neumann’s millions.
Separately, WeWork plans to do more tests on phone booths after discovering thousands of them contained the potentially harmful chemical formaldehyde, according to an email seen by Business Insider. Julie Bort and Aaron Holmes revealed that the toxic phone booths were designed internally by WeWork and built by a contract manufacturer in China.
A proptech explosion
WeWork’s rapid value destruction doesn’t appear to have put VCs off from betting on so-called property tech. As Alex Nicoll reports, venture funds have poured $24.6 billion into proptech so far this year — and there’s likely more to come.
In the commercial real estate space, landlords want to bulk up their office amenities, and a rush of startups are selling them tech to do it. And there’s been a rush of fundraising in the residential and travel business too. For example:
- Flexible-apartment-rental company Blueground raised $50 million from investors, including the former CFO of Blackstone and Airbnb, as it looks to take on Zeus, Sonder, and Lyric.
- Rental property manager Vacasa nabbed $319 million in Silver Lake-led funding that makes it travel’s newest unicorn.
- Divvy, a rent-to-own startup for homeowners, grabbed $43 million in fresh funding — including from home-building giant Lennar.
Established players in both finance and tech are taking note.
The CEO of Blackstone’s massive office portfolio called for landlords and operators to adapt “purposeful proptech,” for example, saying the tech should attract or retain customers, or else help real estate operators cut costs.
Meanwhile, Google Nest just launched a pilot with the nation’s largest apartment manager — showing where it sees the next big opportunity selling smart devices.
Potential rivals to Silicon Valley
Thanks to those of you who emailed in with your ideas on potential rivals to Silicon Valley. Suggestions ranged from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Keep an eye out for more stories on the startup scenes in various tech hotspots in North America and Europe in the coming weeks and months.
The Drive Thru
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