The Real Deal National

WeWork’s latest pursuits? Martin Scorsese, an NBC show and Amazon comparisons

Its the latest attempt by the office space startup to be seen as more than just a real estate company.
August 07, 2019 09:44AM

Ashton Kutcher, Adam Neumann, and Martin Scorsese (Credit: Getty Images)

Ashton Kutcher, Adam Neumann, and Martin Scorsese (Credit: Getty Images)

Add these ideas to the pile of ambitious and strange projects WeWork’s executives have pursued: an ad-campaign directed by Martin Scorsese and an NBC television show produced by actor-cum-tech bro Ashton Kutcher.

The office space startup, whose parent firm The We Company is valued at $47 billion and expected to launch an initial public offering as soon as next month, has over-and-over again attempted to reframe its image as more than just a real estate company.

At the behest of its chief executive, Adam Neumann, WeWork has invested in a wave pool company, launched an elementary school and made other investments in health food companies.

While some of those ventures rankled investors, the latest pursuits appear to be focused on marketing the company. According to Bloomberg, Neumann and other executives sought to collaborate with Scorsese to direct an ad-campaign for the company.

A separate idea was pitched to NBC, to launch a television show similar to “Shark Tank,” that televised the company’s Creator Awards, an entrepreneurship competition. Kutcher, who is a close friend of Neumann and has advocated for the startup, would produce the show.

In the meantime, the observers and investors have raised eyebrows following reports of peculiar moves by Neumann ahead of the IPO, which included selling $700M debt and equity in recent years.

During a recent meeting with Wall Street analysts, Neumann told the audience to think of WeWork like Amazon, rapidly expanding into multiple businesses even if it doesn’t turn a profit, Bloomberg reported. Uber made a similar pitch to investors as it was gearing up for an IPO. [Bloomberg] — David Jeans