The Real Deal New York

Two spies walk into a Knotel: Co-working company says undercover WeWork employees tried to steal customers, intel

Knotel sent a cease and desist letter to WeWork
October 24, 2017 04:30PM

Adam Neumann and Amol Sarva

Knotel is crying foul at WeWork’s alleged attempts to steal customers and intel.

Co-working company Knotel claims rival WeWork sent two spies to seven of its locations in Manhattan in a “systematic attempt to pilfer Knotel’s proprietary information and trade secrets,” according to a cease and desist letter sent to WeWork and obtained by the New York Post.

The two WeWork employees used fake names and posed as founders of a start-up looking for new space for their six-person company, according to the letter.

Knotel CEO Amol Sarva doesn’t necessarily think that WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was behind the mission.

“The snoops were so amateurish and unethical that the project feels more like an improvised Keystone [Cops] spying operation than something dreamed up by [Neumann],” Sarva said. “At least, I give him the benefit of a doubt.”

WeWork has more than 200 locations across 52 cities, with 44 of its offices in New York City. Knotel only has 24 location, all but one of which is in the city.

Earlier today, WeWork and joint venture partner Rhone Capital paid $850 million to acquire the flagship Lord & Taylor store on Fifth Avenue from Hudson’s Bay Company.  [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel