Flexible workspace provider Knotel raises $400m

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Nicola Byrne

Knotel will use the financing to grow its footprint in existing markets and continue expansion into the world’s largest cities.

Led by the investment arm of Kuwait’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, Wafra, Knotel also received funding from Japan-based real estate operator Mori Trust, trading conglomerate Itochu, and equity firm Mercuria all participated in the financing. Previous investors returned including, Norwest Venture Partners, Newmark Knight Frank, Bloomberg Beta and Rocket Internet.

Since its launch in 2016, the company has raised a total of $560m and has now achieved unicorn status after being valued at more than $1bn.

Amol Sarva, co-Founder and CEO of Knotel said: “Knotel is building the future of the workplace, and we are excited to welcome a group of investors who believe passionately in our product, vision and ability to execute.

“Wafra will help us continue our rapid global expansion and solidify our position as the leader in a fast-growing, trillion-dollar flexible office market.”

The WeWork competitor focuses on providing private and fully-furnished workspaces to large enterprises. The company aims to simplify the experience of managing commercial real estate and help companies reduce capital expenditures, enhance employee productivity and maintain operational flexibility.

Knotel will also use the new financing to accelerate its recent innovations, Baya and Geometry. Baya is a blockchain platform used internally to facilitate data-driven acquisition decisions, in order to help the company further reduce transaction costs. Geometry is a subscription service for adaptable workplace products, enabling the company to more efficiently and intelligently fit-out workspaces for flex-minded clients.

Edward Shenderovich Knotel

Edward Shenderovich, co-founder and chairman of Knotel

In an interview with PlaceTech, Edward Shenderovich, co-founder and chairman of Knotel, shared how the idea for the company came about: “We originally started a technology company called Knotable, and created a product called Knote, which we still use internally. We took a larger space than we needed, it was 5,000 sq ft for the two of us because we felt that we were both seasoned guys and we would build a vast global enterprise, as Amol Sarva said.

“We filled it up with friends, and then some of these companies started growing, so we took another floor in the same building and that floor got filled up. Then we took another floor and thought, this strange real estate thing is really feeding our software business, why don’t we take it seriously?”

Knotel has taken 4m sq ft across more than 200 locations in New York, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Washington, Paris, Berlin, Toronto, Boston, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The firm’s footprint in London has reached 263,000 sq ft across 63 locations.

Knotel’s customers include Microsoft, Domo Europe, Starbucks, Knight Frank, Lastminute and Twilio.

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