Andreessen Horowitz has confirmed its largest individual investment ever, writing a check of $350 million to Flow, the residential real estate company led by Adam Neumann, the controversial founder of WeWork.
Neumann’s rise and fall during his time at WeWork prompted books, documentaries and TV shows, and he was criticized heavily for the seemingly reckless way he ran the company. But with the backing of a16z, he appears ready to make an unlikely comeback.
According to the New York Times, the funding round values Flow at $1 billion, even before it begins operations, which it intends to do in 2023. The company will operate over 3,000 apartment units Neumann has purchased in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and Nashville, as it looks to mix up the residential real estate market.
Neumann reportedly wants to create a branded product with consistent service and community features across rental properties. Flow will operate the properties bought by Nuemann and offer its services to other third parties.
A16z co-founder Marc Andreessen was full of praise for Neumann, whose reputation he defended. “Adam is a visionary leader who revolutionized the second largest asset class in the world — commercial real estate — by bringing community and brand to an industry in which neither existed before,” he wrote in a blog post. “Adam, and the story of WeWork, have been exhaustively chronicled, analyzed, and fictionalized – sometimes accurately.”
In May, a16z invested in the blockchain-based carbon credit platform Flowcarbon, also co-founded by Neumann. The company does not appear to have any relation to Flow, despite the name.
WeWork, which revolutionized the commercial real estate market, reached a value of $47 billion under Neumann’s stewardship, before a doomed public offering attempt and tales of woeful mismanagement led to an implosion. Neumann was ousted from the company in 2019 and WeWork now has a market value of around $4 billion.