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.

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 telecom and consulting sectors have returned to office with significant fall in Covid-19 cases but the IT sector is lagging, according to a survey by Colliers and Awfis

Majority of employees in telecom and consulting sectors have returned to office with significant fall in COVID-19 cases but the  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 per cent of the companies saw about 75-100 per cent of the employees back in office (includes hybrid work),” the report said.

About 41 per cent of occupiers stated that only up to 25 per cent of their employees have returned to office.

The survey showed that telecom and consulting sectors saw the highest (75-100 per cent) rate of return to office while IT and new technology companies saw the lowest (0-25 per cent) 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 about 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 per cent of occupiers prefer working from home plus office as their preferred workplace portfolio strategy.

About 49 per cent 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, 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 per cent 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 per cent.

This story appeared in the 4 August, 2022 issue of Business Standard and was originally published at: Return to office highest in telecom, consulting sectors; IT lags: Survey

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on DD News

Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on Zee Business