The company plans to have 100 centres with more than 35,000 seats across existing markets in India besides testing tier-2 cities by March 2019
Awfis Space Solutions, a network of community workspace and work enablers, which has created 19,000 seats across 50 centres in nine cities across India including – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai, plans to establish over 100 centres with more than 35,000 seats across existing markets besides testing tier-2 cities by March 2019.
This means Awfis will add 16,000 seats in one year from now from the existing 19,000 seats. Of this, the company plans to add 1,500 seats in two centres in Hyderabad by June 2018.
The company has a 2,000-seat capacity in three centres at present in Hyderabad, located at HiTEC City, Gachibowli and Taj Deccan.
Amit Ramani, founder & CEO of Awfis, told Telangana Today, “We had a capacity of 4,000 seats nationally by March 2017. Within one year, we have seen a jump of this capacity going up to 19,000 seats, which is about 4.7x growth. We are seeing growth in demand in metros. To test the next level cities, we are going to create one centre each in cities such as Chandigarh, Indore, Bhubaneswar and Kochi this year. In total, we see potential for co-working spaces in 15 cities across the country.”
“We have 5,000 seats in Mumbai and intend to double this number. We will look at specific micro-markets here and other metros for expansion. We are understanding the users’ needs and designing our workspaces. India is a growing market and about 1,00,000 people are using co-working spaces and this number could touch 10,00,000 by 2021-22. There is a faster adoption in metros. ,” he added.
Talking of national trends, he says, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are the largest markets now. Hyderabad and Chennai are catching up and will show fastest growth. Cities such as Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Chandigarh, Kochi will show moderate growth. SMEs, startups are looking for such spaces. Flexibility and cost drive the workspace demand. Infrastructure and the location also are key factors. Companies looking to create branch and sales offices find this model suitable.
Ramani started his business with the vision of revolutionising the office space delivery ecosystem in India through technology-backed just-in-time solutions. In a move to achieve this goal, understanding the increasing demand of commercial space, Awfis with a ‘Sharing Economy’ business model is establishing itself as a ‘Work Enabler’ in creating experiences for large corporates, SMEs and start-ups.
Co-working spaces have fortified their presence in the commercial real estate sector. Built on the concept of ‘Waas – Workplace as a service’, Awfis plans to change the real estate paradigm from a sq ft to a seat. Transforming RE (real estate) to REEE, the company has become an obvious choice for developers, corporates, SMEs and startups, providing them with experience, enrichment and enablement.
It offers a portfolio of mobility solutions, activity-based settings, integrated technology and design to foster productivity and support workplace well-being.
He said, “We are seeing a variety of clients opting for co-working spaces that include Fintech, media, creative services, consultants, IT, ITeS and KPOs. We also see large size organisations such as Vodafone, Mercedes, Hitachi and RBI using our services. SME sector is severely underserved and they form 50 per cent of our clients, while 30-35 per cent are corporates. On an average, companies take 10 seats. We have 1,110 companies using our services.”
Funding for growth
Awfis raised $20 million from Sequoia Capital, which is considered as the biggest instances of fundraising in the co-working segment. Awfis is using these funds for geographic expansion, developing mobility solutions and on other enabling technology to improve the user interface, marketing and branding. Prior to this, the company obtained funding of $11 million.
When asked if the company is looking overseas, Ramani said, Indian market is fragmented and highly complex. Domestic market is unserved and thus provides a huge opportunity. The company will concentrate on Indian market for next 4-5 years before looking overseas.
“And as our expansion demands, we will go for further fund raising. We will keep scouting for opportunities,” he added.
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