Amol Sarva’s Knotel is giving WeWork a run for its money and has plans for revolutionizing proptech
Amol Sarva came up with the idea for Knotel after when the building his software company Knote worked out of started looking for more options. Eugene Lee, Knotel’s global head of real estate, suggested that Sarva start a coworking company.
“You’re running this office while we run our software company in your spare time. It’s always full, it makes money and you still don’t do anything—and you complain it’s annoying to you?” he said. “It seems like the easiest business in the world.”
Now, Knotel runs about 1.7 million square feet and over 100 locations, trailing closely behind WeWork’s 5.3 million square feet. Sarva is confident that his firm will surpass WeWork in the next 15 months.
Competition isn’t the only thing on Sarva’s mind. Knotel just recently purchased 42Floors, a commercial real estate search engine to use for a blockchain idea.
“Now I think probably the single largest and most practical use-case for anything in the world of blockchain is this. The technologies around blockchain make a little machine for truth. It’s a truth machine,” said Sarva. “Put stuff in: The group has to verify it—is it thumbs up or thumbs down? Input key code. And so information that gets in there has to be true.”
Knotel sticks to the basic premise of an office, without “all the bells and whistles” of their competitors. Despite this, they continue to find innovative ways to make Knotel stand out. Soon, owners of buildings with a possible upcoming vacancy can have Knotel rent out and manage their space for them.
“Because the old way [of leasing a vacancy] is super slow and super expensive and super legalized—and it’s just annoying. There’s a lot of slow turnaround. There’s a whole industry of advisers and consultants that just feed on that flow. And fundamentally it’s just slowing down and making opaque a thing that everybody needs.”