CEO and cofounder of Knotel
Amol co-founded several startups including Virgin Mobile USA, Peek, Halo Neuroscience,
Knotable, Knotel, and built a building in New York called East of East. He studied cognitive science for his Ph.D. at Stanford with undergraduate degree from Columbia. He teaches at Columbia. He is a backer, advisor, and mentor at 50+ companies.
He is CEO and cofounder of Knotel, a provider of company-sized workspaces around New York, with 8 locations serving larger teams that still want the flexibility and service of shared office. Knotel is backed by numerous leading venture firms.
He helped develop a neurostimulation technology that boosts brain function, through the company Halo Neuroscience, with his cofounders. Halo is backed by Lux Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and others.
Amol founded Knotable, an app for teamwork without the noise — a platform for shared notepads that pull people and content together onto the same page. His co-founder is Edward Shenderovich of Kite Ventures. Knotable is backed by Bloomberg Beta and 500 Startups.
He’s on the board of Plethora, a modern factory for getting metal parts faster. He’s an advisor to Fon, the world’s largest wifi network. He advises Payfone (mobile payments), Work Market (platform for labor resources), and Ouya (open source game console). Plethora is backed by Founders Fund and Lux Capital.
Amol joined the faculty at Columbia University in 2016, teaching Venturing to Change the World to the College undergrads.
Amol’s a mentor to several Techstars accelerators, NYC Seed, Jazz Human Performance Venture Partners, and Columbia University startup programs.
Through his family angel fund Sarva, Sarva, Sarva & Sarva he is involved in ~50 startups ranging from electric bikes to kids clothing to key robots and food delivery. He’s been named one of the top angels in NYC by AlleyWatch and to Business Insider’s SAI100 list multiple times.
In 2007, Amol co-founded Peek as its CEO through worldwide product launches and raised over $25 million from top venture capital firms including RRE Ventures and Bharti SoftBank (which acquired it in 2012 to scale Hike to 500MM monthly users as of 2016).
Peek pioneered the mass market smartphone — a $30 Internet and email gadget that won awards and honors from a litany of global critics: Time (“Gadget of the Year”), The New York Times (“Simple and chic”), The Wall Street Journal, Wired (“#1 Gadget”), BusinessWeek (“Design Award Winner”), ID Magazine (“Annual Design Award”), IDSA, Engadget, Oprah’s O Magazine (“Favorite Things”), USA Today, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC’s This Week, NPR, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. Major retailers from Target, Radio Shack, and Amazon to QVC, Wired’s Pop Up Shop and Skymall all featured the product. Peek’s cloud and software technology was built into hardware designs from much larger global players like ZTE and Micromax, and its leading customers use the Peek platform to deploy smartphone apps onto the widest range of smart and featurephones.
In 2007, Amol testified in front of the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Senate advocating open access in wireless spectrum policy. He gave oral testimony before Senator Ted Stevens (“The Internet is a series of tubes”). He was profiled on C-SPAN and has written on behalf of the Wireless Founders Coalition for Innovation, and served as adviser to greenfield network startup Frontline Wireless. The FCC eventually backed rules requiring open access that govern the C-Block today. In 2009, Amol was part of protesting the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, eventually blocked by the FTC.
He’s an original member of the Founders’ Roundtable in New York, a group of 500+ venture-backed startup founders that has met monthly since 2006, and has touched dozens of VC-backed startups and many of the top founders in NYC. He has been named multiple times to the Silicon Alley 100 list of top New York entrepreneurs. He is a mentor for the NYC Seed venture capital fund’s SeedStart program.
He was a creator of Cfund, a seed investor focused on Columbia starting in 2011, that is now inactive.
Amol was co-founder of Blue Mobile until 2007, Digicel Group and Denis O’Brien’s effort to create a simple prepaid wireless offering in the US, where he led partnerships with Verizon and Wal-Mart. He was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company in New York prior.
As the second employee of Virgin Mobile USA in San Francisco in January 2000, Amol was part of the founding team. He helped build the model, design the data features, and raise the money from Richard Branson’s Virgin Management and Sprint PCS. Virgin Mobile later went public on NASDAQ and was acquired by Sprint and then in turn by Softbank.
Amol’s Ph.D. is from Stanford University (dissertation: The Concept of Modularity in Cognitive Science, advisor: Mark Crimmins) and B.A. is from Columbia University (Economics, advisor: Sidney Morgenbesser; Philosophy, advisor: Akeel Bilgrami). He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York, where he was a city, state and national champion in debate and team captain.
In Long Island City, Queens, he is the builder of an architecturally ambitious 9-story, 13-loft residential building that the New York Daily News architecture critic in 2010 called “the most important new building in the borough” — East of East.
He has a photograph in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, and collaborated on a work with the painter Tom Sanford in the collection of the museum of art at Syracuse University.
He has contributed writings to Huffington Post, Alley Insider, Salon, Strategy & Business, and BusinessWeek.
He occasionally teaches a class for 4-6 year olds at The Queens Paideia School called “Beginner Philosophy”.
His website is Amol.Sarva.Co where he writes often about tech and startups