Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been saying for years that so-called unicorns — tech startups valued at $1 billion or extra — are a foul thought, allowed to develop too large with out correct governance.
However when requested by Enterprise Insider if WeWork represents all that is flawed with unicorns within the wake of its IPO fiasco, Benioff gave a shocking response.
As an alternative he praised WeWork’s former CEO Adam Neumann as ‘one of many best entrepreneurs I’ve ever met.”
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For years, billionaire Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has warned that unicorns are a foul thought, saying that tech startups ought to elevate much less cash and go public means earlier than a personal investor anoints them with a valuation of $1 billion or extra. Two years in the past, he even predicted “a lot of dead unicorns.”
The disappointing IPOs of Uber and Lyft, and the fiasco that was WeWork’s aborted public providing, have seemingly borne out his warnings.
The issue, he tells Enterprise Insider, is that these massive startups grew too large with out going by means of the “spiritual cleanse” that the IPO course of gives.
“For a lot of my friends, I tell them the same thing, which is they need to go public earlier, not take so much money,” he instructed Enterprise Insider, as a part of his media tour for his new guide about company social accountability known as “Trailblazer”.
“The IPO is a spiritual cleanse. It’s true. It causes everything that’s bad in your company to come out because the governance processes take hold: Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC, GAAP accounting, auditing, all of these, because you’re taking other people’s money,” he mentioned, referring to a number of of the laws and necessities across the IPO course of.
But when requested if WeWork, and its company mum or dad The We Firm, was the final word instance of all-things-wrong with unicorns, Benioff stood up for WeWork founder Adam Neumann.
Neumann was pressured to resign as CEO of his firm final month when his IPO went off the rails after the corporate launched its S-1, the prospectus to go public. Within the S-1, the corporate detailed an extended listing of things that scared off buyers — from its enterprise mannequin fundamentals, to Neumann’s unchecked energy and self-dealing. We’s bonds at the moment are rated deep into junk territory and the corporate is searching for different financing choices to maintain itself afloat.
However Benioff gave some shocking full-throated assist for Neumann, whereas on the similar time seeming to virtually admit that We is a kind of unicorns he had foretold.
“Adam is a friend of mine. I actually think he’s probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs I’ve ever met. He’s an incredible evangelist. He’s an incredible visionary. He’s hired a lot of amazing people. He’s built an amazing brand, right? Unfortunately, there were some things, obviously, in the company that you probably would have preferred to change if he could do it all over again,” Benioff mentioned.
“They have like $3 billion in revenue, but Salesforce went public when we had $100 million in revenue,” Benioff mentioned. It was once frequent for a startup to go public as soon as it hit the $100 million mark.
Benioff and Neumann are additionally sort-of neighbors: WeWork rented three tales in San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower, the place Benioff retains his workplace, to make its West Coast headquarters. WeWork’s workplaces there have a grand-scale design, and are related by a big atrium and an enormous staircase, Architectural Digest reported in 2018.
However WeWork is already mentioned to be gearing up of hefty layoffs of its 10,000-plus workforce, plus promoting off various the businesses it acquired, placing its want for such massive and lavish worker workplaces in query.
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