Knotel CEO: "We'll never be back to the way it was"

Knotel Workplace co-founder Amol Sarva secured $400 million for his firm in NY last year – now he's fighting for the future of his idea

"We’re going to have to redesign everything” – says Amol Sarva, the Knotel workspace CEO and serial entrepreneur from New York in conversation with Bit & Pretzels' Britta Weddeling. Last year Amol raised $400 million for his company, but today business as usual is over due to coronavirus.

Knotel, the fiercest competitor of WeWork, struggles to pay rent at several of its New York City locations. The firm had to lay off nearly half of its staff, and about one-third of its tenants requested some form of rent relief.  

In this episode Amol talks about the principles of leading a company through a business shutdown and shares rare & personal insights into what he has learned in his 20 years as serial entrepreneur about resilience that could help other entrepreneurs in the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic as well:

“It's hard. But starting companies is hard. Every day is impossible when you're starting a business (…) nothing is easy – so when you read stories about some startup overnight success, you never hear about the four years they were struggling before anyone has ever heard of them.”

Amol is a serial entrepreneur and was born and raised in New York. Among others, he’s the founder of mobile service companies Virgin Mobile USA and Peek, an e-mail-only smartphone. And for good or for worse all his companies were born in a crisis: Virgin Mobile started when the dot com bubble bursted. The day Amol launched the Peek smartphone was the same day that Lehman Brothers collapsed. So he surely knows how to push through uncertain times – and could provide help for others during these uncertain times.

2:23: Change and redesign: How to run a company during and after Corona crisis
8:43: Layoffs, morality and motivation: “We will be in a strong position after this is over”
14:24: How the office is going to look like after Corona
17:14: Beer Garden Break: Amol Sarva built many startups during a crisis
22:15: How to come up with great ideas and innovative products?
27:44: Advices from a serial entrepreneur on how to overcome a crisis
31:08: Either-Or-Game: “I'm a dreamer. I wouldn't be in this business otherwise“

Production: Regina Körner, Migo Fecke (professional-podcasts.com); Hubert Honold