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Knotel Plans To Be Bigger Than WeWork In 15 Months, Readies Blockchain-Based Property Database

Knotel co-founder Amol Sarva is no stranger to bold statements, nor is he shy about his competition with WeWork.

Knotel CEO Amol Sarva

In an interview with Commercial Observer, Sarva said flexible workspace provider Knotel "will be bigger than [WeWork] in the next 15 months," citing his company's rapid growth, and the fact that Knotel already has a third of WeWork's footprint in New York, spread among more properties.

At 5.3M SF, WeWork is currently the largest private office tenant in the city, and shows no signs of slowing its aggressive expansion. A new $3B investment from SoftBank on Tuesday brought the industry leader's valuation up to $42B.

Knotel has been far from idle. Beyond its physical expansion past 1M SF and into Europe this year, the company has acquired PropTech startup 42Floors with the intention of transforming the way office properties are listed and entered into a collaboration with CompStak for a proof-of-concept project to similar effect.

Sarva said the company is close to debuting Knotel's blockchain-based listing service, which will be called Baya. With blockchain, Baya promises to increase transparency in the office leasing business, rather than the current system that Sarva argues relies too much on the word of landlords who may not be forthcoming.

The blockchain service will be announcing partnerships with major real estate companies in the coming weeks, Sarva told CO. His ultimate goal is to have every office property in every major market globally indexed and searchable on Baya, available to lease with one click.

Until Baya is online, Knotel is still a flexible office space provider in a field that has become increasingly cutthroat. Regus has joined Knotel in accusing WeWork of foul play, and traditional players like CBRE have launched their own coworking arms. Sarva responded to CBRE's announcement by severing ties with the company.

CORRECTION, NOV. 15, 4:45 P.M. ET: A previous version of this article misstated Knotel's relationship with CompStak. This article has been updated.