Forget WeWork: Knotel's Business Model Works

Scott Kitun

Amol Sarva

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In the wake of the remarkable fall of WeWork, you’re forgiven if you feel more than a little skeptical about coworking as a business model. But Knotel is doing things differently. They may not have WeWork’s name recognition — yet — but the company is building a coworking empire based on stringent market analysis. Knotel is led by startup veteran Amol Sarva. He has a track record of growing great companies and was on the founding team of Virgin Mobile USA. Around 2015, Amol and his partner decided to evaluate coworking as a business opportunity — they wanted to understand the hype. “We did the analytical work that we normally do when we evaluate a company idea,” Amol says. They were pleasantly surprised to find that coworking is “actually a sensible business in a bunch of ways.” But they found that many businesses in the space were focused on attracting small teams and hadn’t yet tapped into the enterprise market. “They were focusing on really small businesses, and spending outsized amounts of money to get them into their properties,” he notes.

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