Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

15 January 2016

Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

  • Business Standard

It finds a spreading market here among entrepreneurs and start-ups, prompting rapid expansion plans.

With the proliferation of solo entrepreneurs and start-ups in the country, it was a matter of time before office space became another opportunity to launch a start-up, catering to the mobile workplace needs of these professionals.

There are others in this place but the Amit Ramani-led Awfis Solutions intends to be a clutter-breaker, with a managed aggregation strategy. Instead of focusing on the peer-to-peer model, the company intends to create a niche through this strategy in the form of ‘pro working’ spaces.

The company, with initial funding of $10 million (Rs 67 crore), currently has a network of 1,500 seats in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. It aims to take this to 10,000 seats across 10 cities. Ramani and Radha Kapoor are the key investors in the venture; the proportion of investment by either is not disclosed.

Managed aggregation, Ramani explains, is a practice where Awfis manages the properties in its network integrating services and technology back-end. In other words, while on the one hand the platform serves as an aggregator of office spaces, it also provides technology back-up and manages these spaces, taking responsibility for the end-user’s experience.

“The way we are different from our peers is that we take ownership of the user experience. Unlike rent a cab services, where a part of the operation is beyond the portal’s control, we have our staff at the properties to ensure the experience is good. This addition to the sheer scale we have achieved since we started in September 2015 and plan to achieve this calendar set us apart from the existing players,” says Ramani, founder and chief executive officer. Awfis has partnered with real estate developers which have unutilised space and hotels with meeting rooms to let out. With the former, the partnership is either on a rental basis or revenue share. In the case of hotels (Awfis has already struck deals with the Trident, Hyatt and Lemon Tree groups), it is a revenue share model. The booking back-end of the hotels has been integrated into the Awfis mobile app, which allows users to be updated on availability and booking, real time. In the case of real estate partners, Awfis invests in the infrastructure and ambience.

It says it has created proprietary Grade-A, highly energetic and inspirational community work spaces (1,500+ desks, across seven Centres, operational across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru) and is working to ramp this up to 3,500+ desks across 15 ‘work innovation centres’ in these cities by March.

Each centre provides technology-enabled physical infrastructure — video projection, NFC cards, CCTV, high-speed internet, laser printing. Members get the benefits of using custom-sized multi-location workspaces on a flexible lease tenor, from an hour to up to a year (or more), depending on work requirements.

Additionally, Awfis has partnerships that provide its community members access to leading service providers in accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, health care and insurance.

Ramani says their experience shows that in the metros, properties break even at the operational level once they hit the 40 per cent occupancy mark over four to six months. It varies from city to city, given the difference in property rental rates.

“Additionally, our capex is not exorbitant because we have used synergies from our family companies like Nelson Asia, which provides architectural design and consulting services. We also have more properties seeing good occupancy. Of the $10 million initial investment, we have used around $3 mn so far and the rest will be used to scale up to 10,000 seats by the end of this calendar. For the next phase of expansion, we aim to raise $40-50 mn, for which we will go to the market by September this year,” adds Ramani.

At 10,000 seats, Awfis will then be the largest managed aggregator of office space in the country, he reckons.

Office spaces under this venture are available on a membership basis, as well as an on-off basis. The prices range from Rs 350 a day to Rs 11,000 a month for work stations; meeting rooms are available for anywhere between Rs 500 an hour to Rs 3,500 a day. Where the partner is a hotel, the latter’s rate applies.

Awfis to triple number of co-working seats to 12,000 in Pune

06 November 2018

Awfis to triple number of co-working seats to 12,000 in Pune

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working operator Awfis plans to expand aggressively in Pune by tripling its number of centres to 21 over the next one year driven by huge demand for shared office space in the city from startups and corporates, a top company official said.
Awfis, which was founded in April 2015, entered Pune market 18 months back and has established seven centres with a seating capacity of over 4000. Now, it has chalked out a plan to add 8,000 seats more by opening 14 new centres over next one year.

Overall, the company has 55 centres, comprising 25,000 seats, across nine cities. A seat costs anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 in its centres.

It posted a revenue of Rs 57 crore last fiscal and the same is expected to reach Rs 170 crore this financial year.
“Pune has proved to be an ideal eco-system of startup entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporates, where Awfis is determined to continue its growth trajectory and provide best in class shared workspaces to facilitate businesses. We aim to open 14 new centres over the next one year, taking the total capacity to 21 centres and 12,000 seats in this city,” Awfis founder & CEO Amit Ramani told PTI.
“We have recently tied up for one centre in Pune with over 600 seating capacity,” he said, adding that the company would soon lease space for other centres.

Awfis has opened its workspaces across all key business centres in the city and is catering to clients such as Vodafone, Hinduja Group and Michelin Tyres.

The company aims to create a strong ecosystem for corporates, SMEs and startups to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the region.

Sumit Lakhani, Chief Marketing Officer, Awfis, said “Pune is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing cities in India and is seeing a lot of demand for superior workspaces by MNCs, SMEs and startups.”

Awfis currently has centres in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh. In wants to expand operations in Tier II markets to achieve its target to establish over 200 centres with 1,00,000 plus seats by 2020.
The company had in July raised USD 20 million (about Rs 137.57 crore) from a few investors, including Sequoia India, for expanding its operations and could raise more if required. Since inception, the company has raised USD 51 million.

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Awfis to expand co-working space four-fold by 2020; to be profitable in FY19

28 September 2018

Awfis to expand co-working space four-fold by 2020; to be profitable in FY19

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

With rising demand of shared office space, co-working operator Awfis has chalked an aggressive plan to expand its business by four times to 200 centres comprising one lakh seats over the next three years.

The company had in July raised USD 20 million (about Rs 137.57 crore) from a few investors, including Sequoia India, for expanding its operations and could raise more if required, its founder and CEO Amit Ramani said.

Awfis, which was founded in April 2015, will become profitable at entity level from next month, while centres are already making money, he added.
“We currently have 55 centres in 9 cities, comprising about 25,000 seats with a member base of over 15,000,” he told PTI.

Its centres are in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh.
The target is to reach 100 centres and 42,000 seats in the next 10-12 months, Ramani said. “By 2020, we are targeting to reach 1,00,000 seats in about 200 centres,” he added.
Asked about the revenue, Ramani said the company achieved a topline of Rs 57 crore last fiscal and the same is expected to reach Rs 170 crore by end of this fiscal.

On further funding, he said the company has recently raised USD 20 million in series C funding from marquee investors Sequoia India and Innoven Capital as well as TTS:IO. Since inception, the company has raised USD 51 million.

“We have been successful in attracting institutional investors’ money,” Ramani said.
Besides cities where Awfis has presence, he said the company plans to enter tier II cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Indore.

“Our priority is to deepen the penetration in existing markets and enter new cities with focus on tier II locations. By 2020, we will have more than 50 centres each in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR,” he added.
With the growing demand for co-working spaces, Ramani said there is a focus on transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing affordable work spaces for entrepreneurs.

Awfis provides co-working space in a price range of Rs 5,000-15,000 per seat.
Ramani said the company has developed a tailor-made mobile application that enables users to find, review, book work spaces in its centres on real time basis.

“We are now focusing on mobility solutions, like national pass, virtual office, Awfis roaming and bulk meeting room hours, that have been designed with the aim to enable professionals to work seamlessly from anywhere,” he added.

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Co-working firm Awfis eyes aggressive expansion after fund infusion

27 August 2018

Co-working firm Awfis eyes aggressive expansion after fund infusion

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The firm aims at its raising seat capacity to 40,000 in a year and it aims at foraying into six new cities including Chennai and Bhubaneshwar.

With a war chest of $20 million raised from Sequoia Capital and a family fund run by Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor’s daughters, home-grown co-working operator Awfis is planning to expand aggressively in the next one year taking its total capacity to around 40,000 seats, 60 per cent more than its present level of 25,000.

The company, which eyes spreading its geographical footprint to 15 cities from the present nine, may also explore the possibility of going public in the next three years when it hopes to touch a turnover Rs 12 billion. The company’s revenue in FY18 stood at Rs 1.5 billion.

Currently, Awfis operates in 9 cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Noida and Gurugram, and is planning to enter into Chennai, Ahemdabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi and Bhubaneswar by March 2018.

“Our supply side acquisition cost is much lower than other players which give us the flexibility to grow faster than them. Currently, apart from the straight leasing of space, we are partnering with the landlords where we don’t have to incur any fixed cost,” said Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis.

“With decent EBIDTA margin and a pedigree of profit for three years, IPO is definitely an option and we will certainly look at it as an opportunity in next 3-4 years,” he added. The co-working operator, which claims to be already operational profitable, is hopeful of posting an entity-level profit in October this year.
The country has seen a number of entrants in co-working space in recent years, including companies such as Regus, 91springboard, InstaOffice, Innov8 and CoWork India. Global shared workspace provider, WeWork which has a presence in 15 countries, has also started operating in India in a tie-up with Bengaluru-based real estate developer, Embassy Group.

According to a report by real estate consultancy firm Colliers International, co-working operators absorbed seven per cent of total office space transactions in the first half of this calendar year, which stood at 24 million square feet.

Apart from partnering with property owners, Awfis is also leasing space in malls to meet the growing requirement. It operates around 30,000 square feet office space in Ambience mall at Gurugram. It has also opened centres in Raghuleela and Heera Panna mall in Mumbai and Nucleus mall in Pune.

“80 per cent of our customer base comes from corporates and SMEs while the rest comes from startups,” Ramani said.

Established in 2015, Awfis has so far raised $50 million in venture funding in multiple rounds. In the last round raised in April this year, the co-working operator raised $20 million from its existing investors Sequoia Capital, The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO) led by Radha Kapoor, and Temasek Group company InnoVen Capital.
“With the current round of fund raising, we are sufficiently capitalised till March of next year. Post this period, we will take a call,” Ramani added.

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