Co-founder of Peek and Virgin Mobile USA
Dr. Amol Sarva is an American technology entrepreneur who co-founded Peek and Virgin Mobile USA. He is currently developing a new cognitive enhancement technology called Halo Neuro and an application for better discussions called Knotable.
He's an advisor to Fon, the world's largest wifi network. He also advises Payfone (mobile payments), Work Market (platform for labor resources), and Ouya (open source game console).
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).
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 300+ 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.
He is a creator of Cfund, a seed investor focused on Columbia.
Amol was co-founder of Blue Mobile until 2007, Digicel'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 prior.
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. Virgin Mobile later went public on NASDAQ and was acquired by Sprint.
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 notable 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. 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 Alley Insider, Salon, Strategy & Business, and BusinessWeek. Starting Fall 2011, he teaches a class for 4-6 year olds at The Queens Paideia School called "Beginner Philosophy".