‘WeCrashed’ follows the audacious story of Adam Neumann, the co-founder of shared workspace company WeWork, as he builds his company into one of the most valuable enterprises in the world. The story follows his journey from being a struggling entrepreneur to becoming a larger-than-life CEO and the role played by his wife Rebekah Neumann in the whole affair.
The show introduces a number of interesting characters, many of whom seem to have close real-life counterparts. As 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 intriguing to watch and got us curious about whether Cameron Lautner from ‘WeCrashed’ might be based on a real person. Here’s what we found.
Is Cameron Lautner Based on a Real Person?
The character Cameron Lautner, essayed by O-T Fagbenle on ‘WeCrashed,’ is partly based on a real person. On the show, Lautner is a partner at Benchmark Capital, one of the principal investors in WeWork during its early days. In fact, one of the show’s opening scenes depicts another Benchmark partner, Bruce, heading an emergency board meeting to confront the WeWork CEO.
As you might have guessed, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Benchmark was, in fact, one of the earliest 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 actions with respect to the company. Though it is quite clear that Bruce (essayed by Anthony Edwards) is at least partially based on Bruce Dunlevie, a partner at Benchmark who joined the board of WeWork in 2012, the character of Cameron Lautner is a little more fluid with respect to real-life counterparts.
On the show, Fagbenle’s character is brought in to try and instill discipline within WeWork in preparation for the company’s upcoming IPO (which, incidentally, proves disastrous). Cameron Lautner is also shown as skeptical of WeWork’s heavy-spending business model, which he brings up with his colleague, Bruce.
In real life, Benchmark led WeWork’s $17 million Series-A round of seed funding but eventually became unsatisfied by the way the company was run under Neumann’s leadership. Of particular note was Neumann’s large-scale sale of stock despite the company’s IPO being eagerly awaited. In 2017, five partners from Benchmark, including iconic venture capitalist Bill Gurley, came to New York to confront the CEO about the aforementioned issue and question him on his strategy.
As it appears, the show has created the character of Cameron Lautner as an amalgamation of multiple Benchmark partners in order to depict the complex relationship that the venture capital firm had with the company and, in particular, its CEO. The tense faceoffs between Lautner and Neumann in the Apple TV+ series are, therefore, slightly embellished versions of reality. The character of Lautner, though it could be very loosely based on a specific Benchmark partner, is more akin to being a dramatized and metaphorical version of the real-life Benchmark partners that took exception to some of Neumann’s practices and dealings as CEO of WeWork.