Rebekah Neumann Buys Back Assets of School Inside WeWork
(Bloomberg) -- Rebekah Neumann has purchased the assets of WeGrow, the private elementary school she founded within WeWork, back from the company, suggesting she could salvage her passion project after the co-working startup co-founded by her husband imploded.
A spokesperson for the We Co. confirmed Neumann’s purchase of WeGrow’s curriculum and furniture from the school, which was housed in WeWork’s Manhattan headquarters and cost more than $40,000 a year, but didn’t give a price for the transaction and said it doesn’t include the brand name. Neumann is starting a new school as Students of Life For Life, abbreviated as SOLFL, which is pronounced as “soulful,” Forbes reported.
WeWork, helmed by the charismatic Adam Neumann, was headed for a high-profile initial public offering last year. It ultimately collapsed due to concerns over its financial performance and corporate governance and its valuation was reduced to a tiny fraction of what it once was. SoftBank Group Corp., WeWork’s biggest shareholder, took control of the company last year and ousted Neumann as chief executive officer. The two are now locked in a legal battle after the Japanese company scrapped a $3 billion deal to buy stock from him and other shareholders as part of the bailout. Earlier this month, a class action lawsuit was filed against WeWork and SoftBank on behalf of investors who bought shares years before the IPO was scuttled.
Rebekah Neumann played prominent role at WeWork as chief brand and impact officer, and was listed as a founder on the company’s IPO registration. She has said she built the school to give their children a worthy education.
WeGrow touted a curriculum that “focused on supporting the growth of children’s minds, bodies and souls through an integrated, differentiated curriculum rooted in the Montessori tradition,” according to the company’s website. The school enrolled about 100 students who took math and languages as well as yoga and martial arts and weekly trips to a 100-acre farm and nature preserve, according to the website.
WeWork said in October it would close the school, located in the Chelsea neighborhood, at the end of the academic year as the new management team shed assets and sought to slow the company’s cash bleed. Neumann is partnering with a former teacher from the school in developing a new program, which will be a combination of remote and physical learning, according to Forbes. The two are aiming to start a pilot program in September.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.