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About Amol


Amol cofounded startups including Virgin Mobile USA, Peek, Halo Neuroscience, Knotel, Popular Change 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.

Longer:

Dr. Amol Sarva is an American technology entrepreneur who cofounded companies including Popular Change, Knotel and Virgin Mobile.

Since 2021, he has led Popular Change, a company builder, that has been part of creating Aikito (turnkey commercial real estate, backed by Northzone), CornerUP (b2b marketplace for local commerce, backed by Tiger), Ratio21 (digital-first replacement for high school, backed by Bloomberg Beta), and Dinara (crypto commercial bank, cofounded by Silicon Valley Bank).

In March 2021, Newmark acquired Knotel, which he cofounded in January 2016. Knotel was one of the largest flexible office providers in the world with hundreds of locations in 10 countries and nearly $400mm of revenue run rate, valued as a unicorn by venture investors including Norwest and Wafra (Kuwait).

He helped develop a neurostimulation technology that boosts brain function, through the company Halo Neuroscience. Halo was backed by Lux Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz, before being acquired in 2021 by Flow Neuroscience.

Amol founded Knotable, a collaborative notes app for teams, with Edward Shenderovich of Kite Ventures and backing from Bloomberg Beta and 500 Startups.

He has been an advisor to: Plethora, a modern factory for getting metal parts faster; Fon, the world's largest wifi network; Payfone (mobile payments); Work Market (platform for labor resources, acquired by ADP); and Ouya (open source game console, acquired by Razer).

Amol joined the adjunct faculty at Columbia University in 2016, teaching Venturing to Change the World and its advanced course Making History through Venturing to the College undergrads each year.

Amol's been a mentor to several Techstars accelerators, NYC Seed, Jazz Human Performance Venture Partners, and the 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.

Amol was cofounder of Blue Mobile, 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.

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, 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 distinctive 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 is also the creator of the popular neighborhood blog LICNYC.com since 2002, and a cool rooftop sign that people liked.

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 Fortune, Huffington Post, Alley Insider, Salon, Strategy & Business, and BusinessWeek.

His website is Amol.Sarva.Co.

Contact

In Person
New York

By Email
Email address

By Instant Messenger
asarva on Skype

By Telephone
530 SARVA77 (530 727 8277)

By social networks
Twitter.com/amol | Facebook.com/amolsarva | LinkedIn.com/amolsarva

Background

Education
Stuyvesant High School - Debate
Columbia University - Economics, Philosophy
Stanford University - Philosophy

Affiliations
Columbia Alumni of Northern California (former President)
Columbia Alumni of France
William Morris Agency (literary representation)
Salon.com (publications)

Companies
Netatomic
Gobi (acquired by Earthlink)
Cymerc Exchange
Virgin Mobile (IPO 2007)
McKinsey & Company
Founders' Roundtable
Blue Mobile (was Digicel, acquired)
Peek (Bharti SoftBank)
Halo Neuroscience
Knotable
Knotel
Popular Change