Adam Neumann, the co-founder and chief executive of the international real estate co-working startup WeWork has reportedly cashed out of more than $700 million from his company ahead of its initial public offering.
The size and timing of the payouts, made through a mix of stock sales and loans secured by his equity in the company, is unusual, considering that founders typically wait until after a company holds its public offering to liquidate their holdings.
Despite the loans and sales of stock, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Neumann remains the single largest shareholder in the company.
According to the Journal’s reporting, Neumann has already set up a family office to invest the proceeds and begun to hire financial professionals to run it.
He’s also made significant investments in real estate in New York and San Francisco, including four homes in the greater New York metropolitan area, and a $21 million, 13,000-square-foot house in the Bay Area, complete with a guitar-shaped room (I guess a fiddle would be too on the nose). In all, Neumann reportedly spent $80 million on real estate.
Neumann has also invested in commercial real estate (the kind that WeWork leases to provide work space with more flexible leases for companies and entrepreneurs), including properties in San Jose, Calif. and New York. Indeed, four of Neumann’s properties are leased to WeWork — to the tune of several million dollars in rent. According to the Journal, Neumann will transfer those property holdings to a WeWork-controlled fund.
The WeWork chief executive has also invested in startups in recent years. He’s got an equity stake in seven companies: Hometalk, Intercure, EquityBee, Selina, Tunity, Feature.fm and Pins, according to CrunchBase.
The rewards that Neumann is reaping from the loans and stock sales are among the highest recorded by a private company executive. In recent years, Evan Spiegel sold $8 million in stock and borrowed $20 million from Snap before its 2017 public offering, and Slack Technologies chief executive Stewart Butterfield sold $3.2 million of stock before Slack’s public offering in June.
The only liquidation of stock and other payouts that have been disclosed that come close to Neumann’s payouts are the $300 million that Groupn co-founder Eric Lefkofsky sold before his company’s IPO and the over $100 million that Mark Pincus took off the table ahead of Zynga’s offering.