Knotel Founder Amol Sarva continues to publicly air his grievances over Newmark’s bankruptcy acquisition of his former unicorn. In an interview with YouTube show “The Business of Business,” Sarva blamed Newmark Chairman Howard Lutnick for forcing the flexible workspace provider into bankruptcy and ousting him as CEO.
Backdrop: Amol Sarva officially left Knotel earlier this month by sending an email that blasted Newmark and the “Adam Neuman-era WeWork bros” who will be leading the company moving forward.
Karma: Sarva, the Adam Neumann imitator, was ironically known to gleefully troll rival WeWork, once parking a Knotel bus outside of WeWork’s headquarters. When WeWork’s IPO plans imploded in late 2019, he said: “Now the music is over, and it’s time to dance.”
From a former employee: “There was a lot of shade thrown on WeWork and other competitors, but they were running the exact same business model that simply doesn’t work.” Credit Empire State Realty Trust’s Tony Malkin who refused to lease to co-working firms and was an outspoken critic from day one.
Sarva’s version of events: Sarva claimed that Knotel was close to refinancing its venture debt to help stay afloat when Lutnick — who’s also a managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald — swooped in and bought the debt. Lutnick later bought the rest of Knotel’s debt and called Sarva just before New Year’s with an ultimatum. “They’re like, ‘We own your debt, you’re in default in these following ways. We’re going to foreclose on that debt, you got 24 hours. Otherwise, you’re toast and you’re going to have to shut down your entire business. Or, we can lend you another $20 million right now on the condition that you bankrupt the company, run an auction for it, and let us buy it.” [Crain’s+CO]