The rise and fall of WeWork has been stunning.
Since its inception in 2010, WeWork has amassed more than $12 billion from some of the world's smartest business leaders and venture capitalists, ranging from JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon to SoftBank's Masayoshi Son. At its peak, the coworking company commanded a $47 billion valuation and set its sights on a public offering of up to $100 billion.
The vision was championed by Adam Neumann, a charismatic founder and father of five who believed he was building a company his family would run for the next 300 years.
He was wrong.
While his board turned a blind eye, Neumann cashed out hundreds of millions of dollars and lived a lavish billionaire lifestyle, flush with tequila shots, non-stop parties, a private plane and an impressive real estate portfolio.
Which might have been fine, if he had also built a strong business.
In August, WeWork filed to go public. In doing so, it unveiled an unhealthy, overvalued company that owed billions in long term lease obligations, enriched leaders like Neumann, and irresponsibly blew its war chest. Investors who took a close look were aghast.
With Neumann at the helm, bankers told WeWork's board the company could never go public. Six weeks later, Neumann's legacy came crashing down. He was forced to step down as CEO, and the company found itself nearly in financial ruin after his departure.
WeWork is the story of what happens when Silicon Valley greed goes haywire and the idea of building a big business becomes more important than the fundamentals themselves.
It's also the story of a compelling leader, who both hoodwinked investors and was enabled by them, in their quests to drive returns on their investments higher. Thousands of employees are now paying the price.
Business Insider has led coverage on the WeWork catastrophe, producing more than 250 stories and original reports over the past few weeks that range from deep investigations to must-read analysis.
Now we are partnering with Campfire, producer of the hit Netflix show The Innocent Man, to tell the startling story in a film-length documentary. Stay tuned!
Got a tip? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or get in touch with one of our leading WeWork reporters, Meghan Morris, on Signal at (646) 768-1627 using a nonwork phone, Twitter DM @MeghanEMorris, or email at email@example.com.
DoorDash's customers have still been sticking with the food delivery app, even after the company revealed in September that 4.9 million users, merchants and delivery workers were impacted by a data breach.
During The Wall Street Journal's tech conference in Laguna Beach, California, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu was asked if the company saw any customer cancellations after the breach.
"It was a negligible customer impact, but it's a very big problem. You know, the issue of security is one that we take very seriously," Xu said.
Customer information, including emails, delivery addresses, phone numbers and passwords, were exposed in the data breach. So were the last four digits of some consumers' credit card and bank account numbers, but DoorDash said the information isn't enough to make a fraudulent purchase.
Security concerns aren't the only woes facing the on-demand food delivery service.
The company faced criticism earlier this year for a policy that led to some tips for delivery workers ending up in the hands of the company.
In response to the public outcry, DoorDash said in July it was changing the policy, but workers complained nearly a month after the announcement that their pay and tips haven't changed.
The controversy underscores a growing backlash against on-demand services including DoorDash, Uber and GrubHub as they grow more popular. Workers, which are classified as contractors, have complained about low pay and lack of benefits.
DoorDash has 400,000 delivery workers that the company calls "Dashers."
Under the company's old policy, worker tips went toward a minimum DoorDash paid workers for each delivery instead of directly adding the tip to a worker's pay. DoorDash said that the policy was meant to boost pay for workers when a customer left little or no tip. Xu said the company decided to change the policy after some customers said that they felt like their tips didn't matter.
Under the new policy, all of a customer's tip would go to the delivery worker.
Xu also expressed concern about legislation called AB5 that could force companies such as DoorDash to reclassify their contractors as employees. The bill was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September but Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are sponsoring a ballot initiative in November 2020 that would exempt them from the law.
The bill has good intentions, Xu said, but it could result in rising costs for consumers. Drivers also might not get the flexible work hours they want, he said.
"While I think the goals are great, I think that there are better solutions," he said.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> will decide early next year whether to roll out its new ride-hailing business in Ghana, where the German automaker will soon begin assembling cars, the head of the company's African division said.
Volkswagen (VW) launched its app-driven "Move" service last December, using Rwanda's capital Kigali as the initial testing ground for a business model it hopes will eventually help it to crack Africa's largely untapped new car market.
"In January, there's going to be the decision on how we get the mobility company set up (in Ghana), which services would make sense. Is it the car-sharing or the ride-hailing? But the data we now have from Rwanda is super valuable," Thomas Schaefer told reporters late on Monday.
Global carmakers including VW, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Peugeot are seeking to develop markets in Africa, where incomes and consumer aspirations are rising.
But low new passenger car sales - partly the result of a lack of financing and cheaper imported used cars - have made it difficult to justify investing in local manufacturing and assembly.
VW will begin assembling its Tiguan, Teramont, and Passat models by the end of this year at a plant in Ghana that will initially have the capacity to produce 5,000 cars per year.
Ghana's government approved a new automotive policy in August aimed at encouraging carmakers to invest in local production.
"It ticks all the boxes: reduction and eventual phase-out of used cars, improvement of petrol and diesel quality, introduction of preferential financing. All the critical topics have been addressed," Schaefer said.
Despite industry efforts to expand in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa - the continent's most developed economy - remains the only market of scale for new car sales.
VW's South African facilities are on track to produce some 162,000 cars and another 100,000 engines this year - a record for the company in South Africa - Schaefer said. About two-thirds of those vehicles are destined for the export market.
(Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Mark Potter)