Riding the Tech Wave to Texas

 

Alan Knitowski

MBA 99

Founder and CEO

Phunware, Austin, Texas

 

Alan Knitowski and his wife, Kelly, uprooted their family from Newport Beach, Calif., and moved to Austin, Texas, in 2008 to allow their four children to experience different parts of the country while growing up. But the move didn’t wipe out Knitowski’s entrepreneurial spirit.

 

The son of a mason and librarian, Knitowski was taught that dedication and hard work are the only avenues to success. “My parents said, ‘Even if we could afford for you to go to college - which we can’t - we wouldn’t pay for it because unless you earn it you won’t value it,’” he says.

 

A high school valedictorian, Knitowski used an ROTC scholarship to obtain a BS and MS in industrial engineering and then served in the U.S. Army - an experience he greatly values. “If people think they are having a bad day, I say, ‘Let’s have a little perspective. There are a lot more ugly things going on in the world.’”

 

Knitowski didn’t focus on the technology industry until he was recruited by Nortel Networks, where he had worked more than a year when he began earning his Berkeley MBA in the Evening & Weekend Program. From there, he vigorously studied Silicon Valley entrepreneurial culture and helped start several companies, including Vovida Networks, an open-source telecommunications company that he sold to Cisco Systems.

 

Three years ago, Knitowski started Phunware, now an 85-employee firm that specializes in creating and managing unique mobile experiences and applications. Customers include ESPN, Discovery, and the NFL. “We want to be the preeminentcompany on earth in ourspace and the de factomobile platform.” he says. “We have a ways to go but fully expect to achieve that in the next several years.”


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