Shared workspace provider, Awfis, which is seeing growing investor interest in the co-working space, has drawn up plans for its aggressive growth to tap opportunities both in metros and tier-2 cities. The company plans to focus for next 2-3 years on the domestic opportunities before exploring opportunities in the Asian region (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam) and the Middle East.
Amit Ramani, founder & CEO, Awfis, told Telangana Today, “Our priority is to deepen the penetration in existing markets and enter new cities with focus on tier-II locations. In the next one year, we will strengthen our presence by foraying into cities such as Chennai, Kochi, Indore, Ahmedabad, Peshawar and Jaipur while adding more centres in Chandigarh. We will have at least two centres each in Ahmedabad and Kochi. We want to take our seat capacity from 25,000 to 40,000 in next one year by creating presence in 15 cities.”
The company has recently raised an additional $20 million series C funding from Sequoia India and Innoven Capital and The Three Sisters: Institutional office TTS:IO led by Radha Kapoor Khanna. Sequoia Capital has also invested $20 million earlier in Awfis as part of Series B funding. Awfis was jointly incubated by Amit Ramani and The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO) with a total capital investment of $11 million in April 2015.
Ramani added, “With the growing demand for co-working spaces, there is a focus on transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing affordable work spaces for entrepreneurs. The additional capital will aid us in expanding our footprint in India with over 100 centres with more than 40,000 seats in the next one year. For us, access to capital had been smooth so far.”
On the competition in the segment, Ramani explained, “Crowding is happening now, but very soon, it will prove that only few quality players will survive, sustain and achieve profitability. Other players may remain either boutique or regional players. Only 4-5 large players will emerge at the end.”
Awfis last fiscal scaled up to 25,000 seats across 55 centres with a member base of over 15,000 as compared to 5,800 seats in 20 centres with a member base of just over 4,000 in July 2017. Awfis today serves over 1,200 companies ranging from startups/MSMEs to Fortune 500 companies, forming the largest co-working community in India. The company counts among its clientele companies such as Hinduja, Vodafone, Mercedes Benz, RBI, Hitachi, ShareKhan, Zomato, Practo operating from various Awfis centres.
Awfis has inked lease deals totalling to 0.25m sq ft in the last two months across Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Noida. The company currently has a total footprint of 1.5 million sq ft across all existing markets in India. Awfis has a nation-wide network of 55 centres across nine cities and 45 micro markets.
Apart from its own proprietary centres, Awfis has been focusing on an asset light ‘managed aggregation’ model-partnering with space owners who have unused commercial space and transforming them into suitable workspaces.
He informed, “Future growth for Awfis is driven via this model and the company intends to maintain 60 per cent of inventory under the managed aggregation model and 40 per cent under Straight Lease model. We are also aggregating underutilised spaces in hotels and malls and converting them into shared workspaces. We are already covering around 7,000-8,000 sq ft under this model. This will remain our core strategy in future as well, accounting for a bulk of our activity.”
Awfis has also formed over 100 strategic partnerships that provide its community members seamless access to service providers in the areas of accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, healthcare and insurance, making it a one-stop-shop for all requirements.
Talking about the prospects of Hyderabad, Ramani said, “The city is witnessing adequate growth. We have recently created large workspace in Raidurg. We anticipate that the city will remain one of the biggest places for this market place. In future, we will spread our presence in Secunderabad, Begumpet and the Financial District.”
The company has tied up with partners to launch workspaces in Raidurg and HITEC City recently under its managed aggregation model.
Read the online article here – https://telanganatoday.com/awfis-to-disrupt-workspace-across-india