WeCrashed follows the courageous story of Adam Neumann, co-founder of co-working space company WeWork, as he builds his company into one of the most valuable businesses in the world. The story follows his journey from struggling entrepreneur to becoming a larger-than-life CEO, and the role his wife Rebekah Neumann played in the whole affair.
The show features a number of interesting characters, many of whom seem to have close real-life counterparts. When cracks begin to show in the way the company is run, Cameron Lautner, a partner at one of the venture capital firms funding the company, comes down hard on Neumann and his way of doing things. The dynamic between the two steadfast characters is interesting and has us wondering if WeCrashed’s Cameron Lautner might be based on a real person. Here’s what we found.
Is Cameron Lautner Based On A Real Person?
Written by O-T Fagbenle on “WeCrashed”, Cameron Lautner’s character is partially based on a real person. On the show, Lautner is a partner at Benchmark Capital, one of WeWork’s main investors during its early days. In fact, one of the show’s opening scenes depicts another Benchmark partner, Bruce, leading an emergency board meeting to meet with WeWork’s CEO.
As you might have guessed, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Benchmark was actually one of the first big investors in WeWork, and there came a time when some of its partners had to step in and confront Neumann about some of his dealings with the company. Although it’s quite clear that Bruce (in the essay by Anthony Edwards) is based at least in part on Bruce Dunlevie, a Benchmark partner who joined WeWork’s board in 2012, Cameron Lautner’s character is based on real-life counterparts.
In the show, Fagbenle’s character is introduced to try to instill discipline within WeWork in preparation for the company’s upcoming IPO (which, by the way, turns out to be disastrous). Cameron Lautner is also portrayed as skeptical of the high-spending WeWork business model he is nurturing with his colleague Bruce.
In real life, Benchmark led an initial Series A funding of $17 million, but ultimately became dissatisfied with the way the company was run under Neumann’s leadership. Of particular note is Neumann’s large-scale sale of shares, despite the company’s IPO being eagerly awaited. In 2017, five Benchmark partners, including iconic venture capitalist Bill Gurley, came to New York to confront the CEO about the above issue and ask him about his strategy.
Apparently, the show created Cameron Lautner’s character as an amalgamation of several Benchmark partners to portray the complex relationship the venture capital firm had with the company and especially its CEO. The tense clashes between Lautner and Neumann in the Apple TV+ series are therefore slightly embellished versions of reality. Lautner’s character, while it could be very loosely based on a specific Benchmark partner, is more like a dramatized and metaphorical version of real Benchmark partners who, as CEO of WeWork, avoided some of Neumann’s practices and actions.