In 2021, we saw numerous startups gobble up insane amounts of funds to enter the unicorn club – this included a record number of newly minted unicorns from India itself. While this year has largely been characterized by fears of an economic recession, plummeting stocks, layoffs, and a funding crunch, we have seen several startups evolve into unicorns, especially at the beginning of the year.
But seldom have we seen a startup breach the $1 billion-barrier even before it has launched and commenced operations. And surprisingly, this is exactly what happened with WeWork’s controversial founder Adam Neumann’s new venture, Flow. The residential real estate company reined in around $350 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which puts the valuation of the firm at $1 billion.
According to the New York Times, this cheque to Flow is the largest one that a16z has cut for a round of funding to date. It is also the second backing that a16z has given to a company founded by Neumann this year – the first one was his blockchain-based carbon credit platform Flowcarbon in May.
“We understand how difficult it is to build something like this, and we love seeing repeat-founders build on past successes by growing from lessons learned,” Andreessen wrote in a blog post. “For Adam, the successes and lessons are plenty, and we are excited to go on this journey with him and his colleagues building the future of living.”
The fresh capital will undoubtedly help Flow in its mission to address the housing crisis in the US. It aims to provide a proper housing experience across a chain of branded apartment complexes and community-centric services in apartment properties once it launches next year.
“We think it is natural that for his first venture since WeWork, Adam returns to the theme of connecting people through transforming their physical spaces and building communities where people spend the most time: their homes.”
“We are thrilled by the scope and aspiration of this project,” Andreesen wrote in the blog post. “It is not lacking in vision or ambition, but only projects with such lofty goals have a chance at changing the world.”
Neumann has already purchased numerous – over 3000 to be more precise – residential units across the States – in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale (Florida), Miami, and Nashville (Tennessee). You may recognize him from his time with WeWork, which was a separate can of worms. Neumann’s tenure at the helm of the company saw a failed initial public offering, huge losses, and laying off thousands of workers before it became a common occurrence this year.