Awfis bets big on plug-and-play office space; the concept is creating a buzz, says CEO Amit Ramani

28 June 2019

Awfis bets big on plug-and-play office space; the concept is creating a buzz, says CEO Amit Ramani

  • CNBC TV18

The demand for co-working spaces among corporates is increasing with each passing year with the ridiculously high rentals in big cities in India.

Founded in April 2015, the Delhi-based company is planning to launch a public issue in 2022, its founder and CEO Amit Ramani said.

Co-working spaces and other flexible workplace options are globally a booming business. In India too, the story is no different. The demand for such spaces among corporates is increasing with each passing year with the ridiculously high rentals in big cities in India.

Awfis, a new-age venture, is one of the firms that is looking to cash in on this growing opportunity. The Delhi-based company provides ready-to-use, plug-and-play office spaces accompanied by tech solutions for flexible space utilisation.Founded in April 2015, the company is planning to launch a public issue in 2022, its founder and CEO Amit Ramani said.

In an interview with CNBC TV18, Ramani weighs in on the growing trends of co-working spaces among corporates, the opportunity and trends in the segment. Edited excerpts:

Give us some insights on the growth of co-working industry in India?
The coworking industry has witnessed phenomenal growth and success over the past few years in India and is slated to become the mainstream choice in the Indian commercial real estate sector. Shared workspaces have completely transformed the sector and over 13 million people are expected to work out of coworking centers by 2020 in India with many corporates expected to allocate 10 percent of their office portfolio to agile workspaces. With the industry expected to reach a valuation of $2.2 billion by 2022, it sets a strong tone for transformation within the sector. In addition to this, tier II cities are expected to grow to 8.5 million seats by 2020 and thereby coming to the forefront with respect to shared workspaces.

Which sectors are the major markets for coworking industry? In which sectors do you see most of the
opportunity for co-working industry?
The company caters to a diverse set of clients with SMEs and corporates forming 40 percent each of the revenue share and 20 percent of the total revenue coming from startups and freelancers. We are servicing over 1500 companies and 19,000+ professionals across sectors such as IT Services, Media, E-commerce, BFSI, Technology, Consumer Products etc. Some of our clients include brands such as Dun & Bradstreet, Duff & Phelps, Vodafone, Hinduja Group and Michelin Tyres, among others. We expect this trend to continue wherein we witness more and more of SMEs and corporates to foray into the coworking segment, due to the easy access and affordability of Grade A commercial infrastructure.

What changes are the coworking industry is expected to go through in 2019?
2019 has been witnessing coworking spaces transform into a conventional choice, owing to the role of fast-moving technology in addition to millennials and Gen Z forming majority of Indian workforce. Shared workspaces are entering into untapped markets and owing to strong entrepreneurial aspirations are now driving demand across tier II cities as well. This will further pave way for Awfis to expand into tier II cities at the same rate of growth as in metros. We have already launched a center in Chandigarh and further plan to expand to cities such as Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi, Indore etc. Interestingly, even larger enterprises are now opting for coworking spaces owing to flexibility and hassle free setting up of office spaces in Tier II markets.

In addition to the above trend, we are also witnessing coworking spaces becoming the preferred partners for medium and large sized corporates and MNCs to set up their head offices or satellite offices.
Can you explain why corporates are preferring coworking spaces these days?
We are witnessing a growth in the number of corporates taking up seats in coworking spaces and are expecting large enterprises adopting a strategy of maintaining traditional workspaces along with taking up space at coworking spaces. Corporates have now adopted flexible workspace as core part of their real estate strategy. Additionally, we are witnessing huge demand from several SMEs and corporates for setting up their headquarters/regional offices.
In such scenarios, our company manages the Workspace Design and Build, Project Management, IT Services, Productivity/Efficiency Management, Workspace Management, Café Management, Concierge Services and provide especially curated experiences to corporates.

What are your working models? How do you cater the needs of the office space buyers?
On demand side, Awfis offers an array of seats which cater to 1 hour of meeting room requirement to a 1000-seater long-term requirement of a larger enterprise. The products that we offer include: Coworking products like fixed seats, flexi seats, private cabins; Mobility Solution products like Virtual Office, National Pass, Awfis Roaming and Bulk Meeting Room Hours; and Enterprise level integrated solutions that come under Awfis Enterprise Solutions (AES).

What are the current and future trends in the coworking segment?
Shared workspaces will enjoy momentous growth in the coming years with “flexibility” being an important component amongst the other aspects of a workplace. Coworking spaces have proved to be beneficial for both organizations as well as employees. Large corporates are slated to allocate 10 percent of their office portfolio to agile workspaces owing to the holistic experience provided by coworking spaces. Shared workspaces will rapidly foray into tier II cities, in addition to metros witnessing great demand. Cognizant of the ever-growing AI and MI, the significant inclusion of these across coworking spaces will lead in the coming years and deeply support new workforce entering.

What are your growth plans? Are you planning further to expand in Tier II cities?
The company aims to double the capacity year on year i.e. it expects to reach 2,00,000 seats over next 3 years. Currently profitable at an entity level we hope to go public by 2022. We have launched a centre in Chandigarh last year and are looking at expanding into cities such as Jaipur, Kochi, Indore and Bhubaneshwar in the next 12 months, while simultaneously strengthening our position in tier I cities.

To cater to a diverse set of clients, the company is also adding services such as Awfis Enterprise Services (AES) i.e. a hassle-free way for an enterprise to outsource the designing, building and managing of their ‘own’ office space thus allowing them to solely focus on running their business.

To strengthen the SME ecosystem in India, we have recently associated with GlobalLinker’s network of 2,50,000 SMEs to enjoy exclusive discounts and offers on Awfis’ 30,000 seats and 250 meeting rooms across India.

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Return to office highest in telecom & consulting sectors, IT lags: Survey

04 August 2022

Return to office highest in telecom & consulting sectors, IT lags: Survey

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Majority of employees in the telecom and consulting sectors have returned to office with a significant fall in COVID-19 cases but the IT sector is lagging, according to a survey by Colliers and Awfis. Property consultant Colliers India and co-working operator Awfis’ joint report explores the status of return to work across different sectors.

“As the third wave of COVID-19 started waning in February, the return-to-office gained momentum. As a result, by June 2022 about 34 percent of the companies saw about 75-100 percent of the employees back in office (includes hybrid work),” the report said. About 41 percent of occupiers stated that only up to 25 percent of their employees have returned to office.
The survey showed that telecom and consulting sectors saw the highest (75-100 percent) rate of return to office while IT and new technology companies saw the lowest (0-25 percent) rate of return to office. “The survey has made it clear that a distributed workspace strategy is the way to go for occupiers in this new era of experiential workplaces, as occupiers emerge from the after-effects of the pandemic. Flex spaces, in particular, are leading this growth, as occupiers from varied sectors are housing teams in flex centres across cities,” Colliers India CEO Ramesh Nair said.
Flexible workspace operators leased around 3.5 million square feet of office space in January-June this year across the top six cities, almost three-fourths of the flexible space leasing in entire 2021, he added. The survey was conducted during May-June among occupiers to understand their strategies regarding distributed workplace. The respondents were from different sectors such as IT/ITeS, BFSI, engineering and manufacturing and others.
Total 150 responses were received from C-Suite executives spanning Founders, CEOs, COOs and CHROs of various companies. The company size of the respondents varied, starting from a range of 1-500 employees to companies having over 10,000 employees. As per the survey, about 74 per cent of the occupiers are likely to adopt distributed workspace while 53 percent of occupiers prefer working from home plus office as their preferred workplace portfolio strategy.
Around 49 percent of the occupiers are likely to adopt flex centres to enable distributed workspace, followed by setting up their own offices in metro and non-metro cities. The consultant sees opportunities for flex spaces not only in metro cities but also in non-metro cities. “In fact, in non-metro cities, total flex spaces are likely to grow more than two-fold to 5.5 million square feet by the end of 2022,” Nair said.
Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, said the findings of the survey are a testament to the success of the distributed work model and subsequently of flex spaces in catering to the ever-evolved workspace needs of India Inc.
“Going forward, 77 percent occupiers will include flex spaces as part of their workplace strategy. We expect exceptional demand in the future, driven largely by large corporates for de-densification of existing traditional offices,” he added.
According to the Colliers India data, the gross leasing of office rose to 32.9 million square feet in 2021 from 30.1 million square feet in the previous year. During 2019, the numbers stood at 44.8 million square feet across six cities — Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. In the first six months of this year, the office leasing has risen to 27.5 million square feet from 10.3 million square feet in the year-ago period. The share of leasing by flexible workspace operators stood at 13 percent.
This story appeared in the 4 August, 2022 issue of CNBC and was originally published at: Return to office highest in telecom & consulting sectors, IT lags: Survey
Startup Street: Might list the company by 2022, says Amit Ramani of Awfis

14 October 2019

Startup Street: Might list the company by 2022, says Amit Ramani of Awfis

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working as a trend is gaining much traction in countries like India, Singapore, Vietnam and even in China. Entrepreneurs and businesses seem to love the flexibility in terms of space and finances. Awfis is another breakthrough co-working company that is trying to make the mark in this. CNBC-TV18 spoke with founder, Amit Ramani to know more about the trend.

Ramani said, “I think the uptick of co-working in India has been fairly dramatic. Today we see almost 40 percent of our client base is corporates, 40 percent are SMEs and 20 percent are startups and freelancers which is where everybody though co-working was. What we are also seeing is that the adoption is happening both in tier-I and tier-II cities. Also mobility is becoming the core of our work today and a lot more people are adapting to this whole work style where they are saying I do not have to be at my desk all the time, I can be mobile or I can be at a co-lab zone or in a meeting space or in a space which is not mine. So, the co-working adoption, as a result, has taken off fairly well.”

On funding, he said, “One of the things we were very focused on was profitability and we became profitable in November 2018, so almost 10 months we have been profitable. All the capital that we have raised today is primarily going to be towards our growth – opening new centers, we are going to focus a bit on technology, we are very focused on delivering stellar customer experience. So, a bit on technology – probably 5 percent of our raise and 95 percent is going to go towards growth capital, towards expansion.”

On listing on bourses he said, “We are at about Rs 300 crore clip if I was to extrapolate our current monthly revenue run rate. At about Rs 1000 crore we want to take the business IPO and 2022 is what we are looking at.”

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