WeWork’s CEO explains why he thinks his $47 billion company is recession proof, and how he keeps his ego in check as a young billionaire

Adam Neumann wework CEO founder

Adam Neumann, 40, is the cofounder and CEO of WeWork, the global coworking space company valued at $47 billion.
WeWork, under its umbrella the We Company, filed for an IPO last December. Analysts are concerned with last year’s $1.8 billion in revenue compared to its $1.9 billion in losses.
Neumann told Business Insider that WeWork is capable of being profitable, but is choosing to invest in rapid global expansion. He said that it is well-positioned for a potential economic downturn in the US, and that he will no longer personally lease properties to WeWork.
He argued that last year’s $6 billion investment from SoftBank fell below expectations of a $20 billion investment, but was misreported and turned out to be beneficial for both parties.
Neumann also said that he has grown as a leader over the past nine years through inviting criticism and adopting the weekly practice of Shabbat. He has also learned a lot from Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, whom he calls “Yoda,” after the “Star Wars” character.
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WeWork’s cofounder and CEO, Adam Neumann, feels ready to take his company to the next level. Now he has to prove it to everyone else.

The Israeli-born entrepreneur launched WeWork in 2010 with his business partner Miguel McKelvey and his wife Rebekah as a way to transform coworking office space. And they’ve succeeded. WeWork has 466,000 members across 28 countries, and has a valuation of $47 billion.

In December, the company confidentially filed for an IPO under the We Company umbrella that also includes its WeLive communal living startup and its WeGrow school for children.

Taken in context, revenue doubled last year to $1.8 billion — but losses also grew to $1.9 billion. In the wake of disappointing IPOs from Lyft and Uber, there’s the natural question of whether WeWork will ever be able to become profitable.

Especially with fears that a recession is imminent.

Neumann, whose casual demeanor offsets his imposing stature, opened up about this concern with us at WeWork’s Manhattan headquarters. He also explained why he believes people have the wrong impression of the unexpectedly low investment from SoftBank that followed the IPO filing, and how the company has responded to his personal ownership of properties that had been leased out to WeWork — while netting him millions.

Building a $47 billion business in nine years isn’t easy. It’s also requires some serious ego management; Neumann, 40, went from broke to a billionaire in under a decade. He also is a father to five children. He discussed how his perspective on success has drastically changed in that time, and why he believes adopting the Jewish practice of Shabbat has made him a better leader.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Richard Feloni: You co-founded the company nine years ago. You’ve got a valuation of $47 billion and you’ve filed for an IPO. How do you wrap your brain around that, in terms of the tremendous scale the company has built over this …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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