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The Hustle

Name: Samyr Qureshi (Knack)

Posted By Megan Holmes

Samyr Qureshi is the face of Knack. This ed tech startup launched in 2015 with one simple purpose: to help college students find peer tutors. Qureshi was studying sociology at UF when internships with tech companies like Nielsen, Apple and Gartner piqued his interest in technology. He joined forces with three friends to launch Knack at UF’s incubator, The Hatchery. Now, four years later, Knack has closed a $1.5M seed round, gained 40+ college campuses and competed in high profile entrepreneurial pitches across the country.

Years in Tampa Bay

20 Years in the Greater Tampa Bay Area 🙂

Hustle (job)

Co-Founder & CEO at Knack.

What do you do?  

Everything… except software development.

Why do you do it?

Because it’s challenging and because it matters to our future. When I think about some of the most important problems to be working on in the world, I’ve personally felt contributing to fixing the education system to be among the top.

Before I go to bed at night I try to ask myself “If I don’t wake up tomorrow, would I leave this world happy with my work’s impact and its influence on the people around me?” and education seems to give me that overwhelming sense of purpose and impact.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

During my time at and after graduating UF, I had the opportunity to work at some amazing companies like Nielsen, Apple, and Gartner where I got to dig into mobile and emerging technology trends. Applying a sociology perspective (what I studied), I was super interested in the wild idea at the time, now known as the sharing economy and what it meant for the future of business, policy, and human connection. This, combined with my belief in the importance of personalized learning led me to quit my corporate job and found Knack with three other co-founders in 2015.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

That “upon reaching X or hitting X metric, you’ll be smooth sailing!” Challenges will continue to arise, oftentimes new ones whose solutions seem unknown. But as you continue to persist, you’ll be better equipped to handle them – drawing upon the wisdom gained from your (sometimes difficult) experiences.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Managing the constant mental context switching. In any given day I go from traveling to a sales meeting to reviewing copy on a marketing campaign to onboarding a new employee to reviewing our quarterly objectives to having one-on-one’s to restocking our coffee machine. No two days are the same and as much as I love that, it can definitely be taxing to wear a bunch of hats at once.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Just start because tomorrow it might be too late. Regardless of your background, what you look like, what you studied, etc. — begin by building a network of the best cheerleaders, advisors, and mentors in your industry and lean on them for support.

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