WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is such a big surfing fan he led the company to invest $13 million into a startup that creates artificial waves - check out how 'Wavegarden' works
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWork
- Before WeWork was plagued with investor concerns and a stalled initial public offering, chief executive Adam Neumann directed the company to invest in an artificial wave startup.
- Wavegarden offers multi-million-dollar wave installations that have been set up in three countries so far - but its only US location faced roadblocks with regulators and locals.
- WeWork's investment in Wavegarden is one of the more far-flung backings made by a company that has struggled to define its core purpose.
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If WeWork's office-sharing business doesn't work out for the company, it has some backup options. For example: a startup that makes artificial waves, which chief executive Adam Neumann directed WeWork to funnel more than $13 million into.WeWork made the decision this week to delay its initial public offering, and Neumann now finds himself in hot water amid investors' concerns about WeWork's profitability and tanking valuation. Advertisement
But back in 2016, when WeWork was still riding a wave, so to speak, of investor hype, Neumann led the company to invest $13.8 million in Wavegarden, a Spanish wave pool company. Neumann, an avid surfer, apparently wanted WeWork to embody the spirit of community he found in surfing, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
WeWork's investors are now rolling out new limits on Neumann's control of the company in an attempt to keep its valuation afloat, which could mean in the future Neumann has less power to throw company money at ventures that align with his favorite hobbies.But for now, here's a deep dive into the gnarly startup whose success WeWork has bet millions on.
What is Wavegarden, exactly?
Chasing $21 million wavesAdvertisement
Wavegarden's first US park faced backlash
What does any of this have to do with WeWork?Advertisement
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