Call it the WeWork effect, Indian venture capital firms are warming up to the nascent shared work place market locally. Sequoia Capital is putting $20 million or around Rs 130 crore in Awfis, a network of collaborative co-working spaces, which wants to establish 100 centres within a ten minute driving distance of each other across metros. This is the largest financing round for any player in the segment and also the most significant early-stage bet by a risk investor on a domestic startup in this segment.
Awfis was jointly incubated by its founder Amit Ramani and The Three Sisters: Institutional office, a family office led the three daughters of Yes Bank’s Rana Kapoor, with a total corpus of $11 million.
The funding round comes on the back of WeWork, the New York-based shared work place startup, which is valued at $17 billion having already mapped out its India plan by forging a joint venture with the Bengaluru-based developer Embassy Group.
WeWork which had announced its India entry and is expected to start operations soon has disrupted the traditional real-estate sector across the globe. The company recently leased 1.9 lakh sq ft space at the Enam Building in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). Bhive , 91 Springboard, Investopad, Breathing Room, Innov8 are some of the local startups offering co-working spaces in India while Bengaluru-based RMZ Corp is also foraying into this business. Awfis claims to have 90% occupancy across its established centres. Others like Regus are the old guards in this business which cater more to the corporates than smaller businesses.