Co-working spaces are one of the biggest examples of disruption in the real estate space. With over 450 co-working places in the country currently, these spaces in India have transformed the office culture of India.
Awfis, a co-working startup founded in 2015, by Amit Ramani recently raised US$30 million in the fourth funding round led by Chrys Capital. Existing investors, Sequoia India & The Three Sisters Institutional Office also participated in the current round. Currently, it has 30,000 seats across 63 centers in 9 cities.
Ramani says that co-working spaces have disrupted the commercial real estate segment. He says, “The Indian commercial real estate sector was highly unorganized with little to no transparency & lack of conducive work environment. Coworking spaces identified a gap which existed in the CRE segment for Grade A workspaces at affordable prices and are providing flexible solutions to their clients.”
With this fundraise, Chrys Capital has ventured into co-working for the first time, “We have a long-established history of investing across financial services, healthcare, life sciences and consumer brands etc. so far. With Awfis, ChrysCapital has now ventured into the co-working sector for the first time.”
Ramani also highlights that more and more investors have now started investing in co-working spaces and have realized the vast business potential in this market.
He also added that the funding will be utilized in sustaining the position that Awfis holds in the industry and also in expansion. He said, “We plan to add 2,00,000 seats & 400 centres in 36 months. The investment will also be used to enter new micro markets across Tier 1 & 2 cities in India while penetrating further into existing markets.”
He further added that they are introducing innovative products/solutions for community members attract untapped customer segments. He said, “The capital will be utilized to capture a larger share of CRE market through Awfis Enterprise Solutions (AES),its B2B offering. Awfis aims to further mobilize technology to build smart yet affordable workspaces for the workforce of ‘New India.’”
Making a Mark in this Crowded Sector
The co-working space is becoming an increasingly crowded market with new ones getting launched month after month. How does Awfis plan to combat competition with other rivals like Innov8, GoHive, WeWork, 91 Springboard?
Amit Ramani feels that the product is “well attuned for Indian market.” He also added, “. Awfis takes a different route than any other industry players, we are more “value driven” and are betting on that for a much larger market share. We are very different from a commercial real estate perspective and we have built knowledge of micro-markets across India and are expanding beyond CBDs in key cities and into new locations.”
The focus of Awfis is more SMEs and corporate driven and that provides it an edge over its competitors according to Ramani.
Awfis reaches more enterprise and SME driven customers who focus on value. “We are happy taking a more value-focused approach and are also looking to the meat of the market – SMEs and corporates,” Ramani concludes.
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