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WeWork founder Adam Neumann is back—as a VC

March 18, 2022, 3:40 PM UTC

Venture capital isn’t an easy industry to break into. But a common on-ramp is starting on the other side of the table, as a founder and entrepreneur with a pitch deck.

It might help you on your track to become an investor to use some of the cash you earned from said company going public—even if you resigned as CEO amid controversy, cost thousands of employees their jobs, were sued by your investors, and have become the subject of a documentary, books, and a new Apple TV series about your own rise and demise.

We are, of course, talking about Adam Neumann here—the founder of global coworking startup WeWork, which was once valued at an eye-popping $47 billion before it filed for an IPO, revealing enormous spending, steep losses, and conflicts of interest. That was about the time things started to turn sour (the company’s market capitalization is currently only a little over $4.5 billion).

Neumann and the more than 50-person staff at his family office, dubbed 166 2nd Financial Services, have quietly invested in more than four dozen startups, according to a new story about the entrepreneur’s second act in the Financial Times, in which Neumann gave a rare interview and offered some details about a sixth startup, inspired by his wife Rebekah Neumann’s forest purchasing efforts, and tidbits of information about the $1 billion in property now owned by entities he is affiliated with.

It’s exactly his experience at WeWork, Neumann told the FT, that has allowed him to become a venture investor and add value to the startups he has purchased a stake in. “It’s actually taking, obviously, the successes. But even more interestingly, the lessons from the past 10 years, and implementing them to every situation that we see,” Neumann said. “And I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.”

It’s not abundantly clear exactly what Neumann has in mind for the real estate he has scooped up or the startups he is backing, but it is clear that there are many people who seem prepared to give him a second chance—or at least take his money. Neumann made quite a bit on his way out the door at WeWork. He apparently plans to use it.

But it’s this very month that Neumann will be eligible to return to WeWork as a board observer—should SoftBank allow him back into the fold. Neumann may have fallen from grace, but he hasn’t lost his charm. From the Financial Times story:

“There’s still plenty of the charisma, conviction, and hustle with which he pulled so many people into WeWork. He barely breaks eye contact as he speaks. There are meaningful pauses where he puts his hand to his heart, lowers his tone to an excited whisper and smiles as though he is about to reveal something wonderful. ‘In a second, you’re going to get something that no one has seen,’ he promises.”

Until Monday,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.


Cross River Bank, a regional fintech lender based in Fort Lee, N.J., plans to raise more than $600 million in funding co-led by Eldridge Industries and Andreessen Horowitz and investors including T. Rowe Price Group, Whale Rock Capital Management, and others, according to Bloomberg

Optimism, a layer 2 blockchain on Ethereum aiming to reduce transaction costs and speed up the network, raised $150 million in Series B funding led by a16z Crypto and Paradigm

Wasoko, formerly Sokowatch, raised $125 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global and Avenir Growth Capital and was joined by investors including VNV Global, Binny Bansal, Sujeet Kumar, Quona Capital, 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, and JAM Fund.

FanCraze, a cricket NFT startup, raised approximately $100 million in Series A funding. B Capital Group and Insight Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Cristiano Ronaldo and others.

The Mina Ecosystem, a blockchain protocol, raised $92 million through a coin sale led by FTX Ventures and Three Arrows Capital and were joined by investors including Alan Howard, Amber Group,, Brevan Howard, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners, Pantera, and others. 

Dscout, a Chicago-based experience research platform, raised $70 million in Series C funding led by Guidepost Growth Equity

Apptega, an Atlanta-based cybersecurity and compliance management platform, raised $37 million in funding from Mainsail Partners

Clockwork, a Palo Alto–based tech developer of time-sensitive applications for the financial trading, tech, and online gaming industries, today raised $21 million in Series A funding led by NEA and was joined by angel investors including founder of Hennessey Performance John Hennessey, Ram Shriram, Neeraj Bharadwaj, and Jerry Yang

Volta Labs, a genome sequencing bioautomation company based in Cambridge, Mass., raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Maverick Ventures and was joined by investors including Illumina co-founder John Stuelpnagel, Khosla Ventures, Casdin Capital, E14 Funds, Blindspot Ventures, and others.

Sundays for Dogs, a remote-based dog food brand, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Imaginary Ventures and was joined by angel investors including Ryan Reynolds, Orlando Bloom, and others.

Coinbooks, an account platform for crypto companies and DAOs, raised $3.2 million in funding led by Y Combinator, Multicoin Capital, Lattice Capital, Polygon’s founders, Seed Club Ventures, Orange DAO, and others. 

ShipsKart, a Singapore-based maritime and offshore supply-chain e-commerce solution, raised $2.7 million in Series A funding led by TMV and Hermes Offshore and was joined by investors including, Motion Ventures, and Wami Ventures Ltd.

HonestDoor, an online resource for property valuations, based in Edmonton, Canada, raised CAD$2.2 million ($1.75 million) in seed funding led by Luge Capital and was joined by investors including Bluesky Equities, Conconi Growth Partners, Panache Ventures, REACH Canada, SAF Group, Startup TNT, and Wheaton Group. Sanders Lee, Ashif Mawji, and Blaine LaBonte also joined the round.


AllianceBernstein acquired CarVal, a Minneapolis-based alternative investment manager, for $750 million. 

Main Street Capital Corp. recapitalized Batjer & Associates and Batjer Service, a provider of HVAC and plumbing services, based in an Abilene, Texas, for $15.1 million. 

Brandt Information Services, backed by NexPhase Capital, acquired Terra Technology Group, an SaaS technology provider for outdoor licensing and recreational solutions.

Cornerstone OnDemand, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, agreed to acquire EdCast, a learning experience platform software provider, based in Mountain View, Calif. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Horsepower, backed by Huron Capital, acquired Rago Fabrication, a designer and manufacturer of off-road products, based in Kerrville, Texas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Netrix, backed by OceanSound Partners, acquired Edrans, a Buenos Aires-based cloud solutions provider for midsize companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Newfold Digital, backed by Clearlake Capital Group and Siris Capital Group, acquired YITH, a seller and developer of WooCommerce plug-ins and themes for WordPress, based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Peloton Capital Management agreed to acquire a minority stake in Unison Risk Advisors, a Cleveland-based insurance brokerage and risk management company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Metals Acquisition Corp. agreed to acquire the CSA Copper Mine, in New South Wales, Australia, from Glencore for $1.1 billion.


Kids2 agreed to acquire SUMR Brands, a provider of infant and juvenile products based in Woonsocket, R.I. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Slack, a San Francisco–based business communication platform, raised $100 million for a third fund directed toward founders focused on collaboration, mental health and wellness, coaching, and hardware.

Correction: Yesterday’s newsletter has been corrected online to reflect that IMB Partners agreed to acquire a majority stake in Carr & Duff.

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