Knotel completes €360m financing to achieve unicorn status

Global flexible workspace provider Knotel has completed a $400 mln (€360 mln) financing, led by Wafra, an investment arm of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Kuwait.

According to the firm, Knotel will use the financing to grow its footprint in existing markets, notably 'the world’s 30 largest cities', while building on its relationships with major occupiers.

'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,' said Amol Sarva, co-founder and CEO of Knotel.

'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,' Sarva added.

Mori Trust (one of Japan’s leading real estate business operators), Itochu (one of Japan’s largest trading conglomerates) and Mercuria (a leading Japanese equity firm) also participated in the financing. Returning and previous Knotel investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Newmark Knight Frank, Bloomberg Beta and Rocket Internet.

The financing also enables the firm to achieve 'unicorn' status, as it ramps up Knotel's valuation to more than $1 bn.

'Unicorns' are privately-held start-up ventures which break the $1 bn valuation barrier. The term was coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, who chose the mythical animal to reflect the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.

In addition to its aggressive global expansion efforts, Knotel said it would also use the new financing to accelerate recent innovations - Baya and Geometry - aimed at streamlining its service delivery model.

Baya, a blockchain platform used internally to facilitate data-driven acquisition decisions, will help the company further reduce transaction costs, Knotel said. Geometry, a subscription service for adaptable workplace products, should allow the company to 'more efficiently and intelligently fit-out workspaces for flex-minded clients'.

Since the company’s inception in 2016, Knotel has grown to more than 4 million ft2 (370,000 m2) across more than 200 locations in New York, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Paris, Berlin, Toronto, Boston, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In less than four years, the company has raised a total of $560 mln, according to Knotel data.



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