Business_news The life of Adam Neumann, the billionaire WeWork founder and CEO who’s about to take his company public

Business_news

Adam Neumann, CEO of the We Company, better known as WeWork.

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Adam Neumann has run WeWork from when it got its start nearly 10 years ago to now, as it gets ready for a huge IPO.

The 40-year-old Israeli-born Neumann is worth an estimated $4.1 billion, and has come a long way from the shoe-box-sized New York city apartment he first lived in in the early 2000s.

His company, last valued at $47 billion, could go public as soon as this week.

Here’s everything you need to know about Adam Neumann, the WeWork cofounder and CEO:

Israel in 1979. His parents got divorced when he was 7, and he moved around a lot as a child with his mother — he reportedly lived in 13 different homes by the time he was 22." id="adam-neumann-40-was-born-is-israel-in-1979-his-parents-got-divorced-when-he-was-7-and-he-moved-around-a-lot-as-a-child-with-his-mother-he-reportedly-lived-in-13-different-homes-by-the-time-he-was-22-1">

Business_news Adam Neumann, 40, was born is Israel in 1979. His parents got divorced when he was 7, and he moved around a lot as a child with his mother — he reportedly lived in 13 different homes by the time he was 22.

Israel in 1979. His parents got divorced when he was 7, and he moved around a lot as a child with his mother — he reportedly lived in 13 different homes by the time he was 22." data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d51af523e0b7b0859167a6c-750-563.jpg" data- data-title="">


WeWork

Business_news Neumann is severely dyslexic, and couldn’t read or write until he was in third grade.


Jackal Pan / Getty

Israeli citizens, Neumann served in the Israel Defense Forces after grade school. He served in the navy for five years, although only three years of service is required. "That’s where I got to know a lot of my best friends," Neumann told Haaretz in 2017." id="as-is-customary-for-israeli-citizens-neumann-served-in-the-israel-defense-forces-after-grade-school-he-served-in-the-navy-for-five-years-although-only-three-years-of-service-is-required-thats-where-i-got-to-know-a-lot-of-my-best-friends-neumann-told-haaretz-in-2017-4">

Business_news As is customary for Israeli citizens, Neumann served in the Israel Defense Forces after grade school. He served in the navy for five years, although only three years of service is required. “That’s where I got to know a lot of my best friends,” Neumann told Haaretz in 2017.

Israeli citizens, Neumann served in the Israel Defense Forces after grade school. He served in the navy for five years, although only three years of service is required. " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52cc6bcd9784481c6a6d05-750-563.jpg" data- data-title="" friends="" got="" haaretz="" i="" in="" know="" lot="" my="" neumann="" of="" that="" to="" told="" where="">


Israel Defense Forces via http://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/8194555088/ creative commons

clubs and “hitting on every girl in the city,” he said in a commencement speech in 2017." id="after-leaving-the-idf-neumann-moved-in-2001-to-new-york-city-where-he-lived-in-a-tribeca-apartment-with-his-sister-adi-he-spent-his-early-days-in-new-york-going-to-clubs-and-hitting-on-every-girl-in-the-city-he-said-in-a-commencement-speech-in-2017-5">

Business_news After leaving the IDF, Neumann moved in 2001 to New York City, where he lived in a Tribeca apartment with his sister Adi. He spent his early days in New York going to clubs and “hitting on every girl in the city,” he said in a commencement speech in 2017.

clubs and “hitting on every girl in the city,” he said in a commencement speech in 2017." data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52d0fdcd978467ce40a4bc-750-563.jpg" data- data-title="">


Katie Warren/Business Insider

business. He said he thought of the concept of WeLive, WeWork's communal living business, for a school entrepreneurship competition. However, the idea was killed in the competition's second round, because a professor didn't think Neumann would be able to raise enough money "to change the way people live."" id="neumann-enrolled-at-city-school-baruch-college-in-january-2002-and-majored-in-business-he-said-he-thought-of-the-concept-of-welive-weworks-communal-living-business-for-a-school-entrepreneurship-competition-however-the-idea-was-killed-in-the-competitions-second-round-because-a-professor-didnt-think-neumann-would-be-able-to-raise-enough-money-to-change-the-way-people-live-6">

Business_news Neumann enrolled at city school Baruch College in January 2002 and majored in business. He said he thought of the concept of WeLive, WeWork’s communal living business, for a school entrepreneurship competition. However, the idea was killed in the competition’s second round, because a professor didn’t think Neumann would be able to raise enough money “to change the way people live.”

business. He said he thought of the concept of WeLive, WeWork's communal living business, for a school entrepreneurship competition. However, the idea was killed in the competition's second round, because a professor didn't think Neumann would be able to raise enough money " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52d128cd9784142c0203d7-750-562.jpg" data- data-title="" live.="" people="" the="" to="" way="">


Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Business_news Neumann dropped out from college just four credits shy of graduating. He ultimately finished his degree 15 years later in 2017 after completing a four-month long independent study, and delivered the commencement speech for Baruch College’s graduating class.

Neumann delivering his Baruch College commencement speech in 2017.

WeWork/YouTube

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The pair got married in 2009, and now have five children together. " id="while-in-college-neumann-met-his-now-wife-rebekah-paltrow-neumann-who-is-the-cousin-of-actress-gwyneth-paltrow-the-pair-got-married-in-2009-and-now-have-five-children-together-8">

Business_news While in college, Neumann met his now-wife, Rebekah Paltrow Neumann, who is the cousin of Actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The pair got married in 2009, and now have five children together.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The pair got married in 2009, and now have five children together. " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d51ae9dcd97845884391067-750-563.jpg" data- data-title="">

Adam Neumann and his wife, Rebekah Paltrow Neumann.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Business_news On their first date, Paltrow Neumann called out the WeWork CEO for being “full of s—.” Neumann credits his wife for getting him to stop smoking, and for telling him to pursue his passions instead of dreams to be rich.

WeWork husband/wife team Rebekah Paltrow Neumann and Adam Neumann.

Fortune

business under the WeWork company umbrella that operates an elementary school in New York. She was a WeWork founding partner, when she learned there's "no job too big or too small for each person."" id="paltrow-neumann-serves-as-the-founder-and-ceo-of-wegrow-the-business-under-the-wework-company-umbrella-that-operates-an-elementary-school-in-new-york-she-was-a-wework-founding-partner-when-she-learned-theres-no-job-too-big-or-too-small-for-each-person-10">

Business_news Paltrow Neumann serves as the founder and CEO of WeGrow, the business under the WeWork company umbrella that operates an elementary school in New York. She was a WeWork founding partner, when she learned there’s “no job too big or too small for each person.”

business under the WeWork company umbrella that operates an elementary school in New York. She was a WeWork founding partner, when she learned there's " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52c1c0cd9784098f4a4c8b-750-562.jpg" data- data-title="" each="" for="" job="" no="" or="" person.="" small="" too="">


Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

business ventures: a failed idea for collapsible heeled shoe, and baby clothes with built-in knee-pads called Krawlers. He dropped out to pursue the second idea, and developed it into a baby-clothing company called Egg Baby in 2006. " id="while-neumann-was-at-college-he-worked-on-two-business-ventures-a-failed-idea-for-collapsable-heeled-shoe-and-baby-clothes-with-built-in-kneepads-called-krawlers-he-dropped-out-to-pursue-the-second-idea-and-developed-it-into-a-baby-clothing-company-called-egg-baby-in-2006-11">

Business_news While Neumann was at college, he worked on two business ventures: a failed idea for collapsible heeled shoe, and baby clothes with built-in knee-pads called Krawlers. He dropped out to pursue the second idea, and developed it into a baby-clothing company called Egg Baby in 2006.

business ventures: a failed idea for collapsible heeled shoe, and baby clothes with built-in knee-pads called Krawlers. He dropped out to pursue the second idea, and developed it into a baby-clothing company called Egg Baby in 2006. " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d51ae817e337f01c13bc523-750-562.jpg" data- data-title="">


Jackal Pan/Reuters

Luxury baby clothing company headed up by clothes designer Suzan Lazar. Neumann is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Egg Baby, whose children's clothing is sold at department stores around the world." id="egg-baby-is-still-around-today-as-a-luxury-baby-clothing-company-headed-up-by-clothes-designer-suzan-lazar-neumann-is-no-longer-involved-in-the-day-to-day-operations-of-egg-baby-whose-childrens-clothing-is-sold-at-department-stores-around-the-world-12">

Business_news Egg Baby is still around today as a Luxury baby clothing company headed up by clothes designer Suzan Lazar. Neumann is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Egg Baby, whose children’s clothing is sold at department stores around the world.

Luxury baby clothing company headed up by clothes designer Suzan Lazar. Neumann is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Egg Baby, whose children's clothing is sold at department stores around the world." data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52ea56cd9784140a6a3b8a-750-563.jpg" data- data-title="">


AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki

Business_news Soon after launching Egg Baby, Neumann met WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey through a mutual friend. The two reportedly bonded over their backgrounds and competitive streaks, and McKelvey convinced Neumann to move Egg Baby offices to the same building he was working out of in Brooklyn.

Miguel McKelvey, left, and Adam Neumann.

Scott Legato/Getty

Business_news Soon after, the two developed the idea for WeWork after brainstorming an idea for renting out empty office space to other companies. In 2008, they convinced their building’s landlord to let them rent out a floor in a nearby Brooklyn building, and an earth-friendly co-working company called Green Desk was born.

Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann discuss WeWork at IGNITION 2016.

business Insider

Business_news Under Neumann as CEO, WeWork has expanded to provide co-working desk space in commercial buildings in more than 120 cities in nearly 40 countries. The company was last valued at $47 billion.


AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

business Insider about his close relationship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, who he calls "Yoda."" id="one-of-weworks-biggest-investors-is-the-japanese-investment-firm-softbank-who-has-invested-more-than-10-billion-in-the-company-neumann-has-told-business-insider-about-his-close-relationship-with-softbank-ceo-masayoshi-son-who-he-calls-yoda-17">

Business_news One of WeWork’s biggest investors is the Japanese investment firm SoftBank, who has invested more than $10 billion in the company. Neumann has told business Insider about his close relationship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, who he calls “Yoda.”

business Insider about his close relationship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, who he calls " data-class=" postload" data- data-src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5d52fd72cd97840fbd4829a3-750-562.jpg" data- data-title="" yoda.="">

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Getty Images AsiaPac

Business_news Neumann has also invested in a number of startups, both by himself and on behalf of WeWork. Through WeWork, his niche-interest investments include a wave-pool startup and a superfood startup, which sells things like “performance mushrooms,” powdered coconut water infused with beets and turmeric, and highly caffeinated coffee.


AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Business_news The company — which rebranded to the We Company in January — is expected to publicly file its IPO paperwork as soon as this week. The IPO filing will give the public its best view at the company’s money-losing financials.


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