Boosting Infrastructure: Setting Up a Meeting Outside Your Office is Not a Pain Anymore

05 March 2016

Boosting Infrastructure: Setting Up a Meeting Outside Your Office is Not a Pain Anymore

  • Entrepreneur India

Sudden spurt in the number of start-ups has resulted into massive number of entrepreneurs travelling to different geographies across the country with dire need for meeting places offering utmost convenience of creative seating arrangements, seamless internet connection and refreshment facility nearby airports.

The challenge that more start-ups face is that in early days they don’t have much money to spend on infrastructure. They want to spend money on technology or hiring best talent but the infrastructure is where nobody wants to spend money. Thus co-working spaces, provisioned out of commercial places and plush hotels, are emerging out to be the most preferred destinations for the growing number of start-up and SME entrepreneurs over the conventional choice of cafés, which are also continuing to be the long preferred destinations ideating and encouraging business ideas.

Capitalizing on the opportunity, Amit Ramani who launched his start-up Awfis in 2015 is in creating widest number of co-working seats across the country.

“Our goal is to have 200,000 seats in the next 24 to 36months. The clear goal is we should have Awfis location within 10 minute radius of airports in 7 to 10 large cities across India. With co-working office space one can truly give up his office and be able to use any co-working space nearby airport. Today my work really gets done at the convenient location. I could in one place in this moment and the other place in next hour and if my fix office is somewhere far then I am stuck between the fact that I have to go back to the office and work”, said Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis.

Emergence of idea

“I was in US for 12 years, did my masters there and one of my teachers in Cornell University were essentially advising people on researching on how people become most productive in their physical space, what kind of spaces work for people, at what age bracket, what gender types. Essentially it was studying peoples work and behavior pattern and that’s what we use to do in 2001. Started from there we use to advise large corporate on how work really gets done, how do you create infrastructure that reduces your real estate footprint but still makes your employees the most productive. That is the background of this idea”, said determined Co-founder.

Servicing Smile community

Awfis has created a platform that allows one to book a seat or a meeting room, open seat or closed seat cabin on truly adjacent time basis. It offers around 1500 seats across seven centers in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. It provides space for an hour to 11 months, from one seat to multiple numbers of seats across various locations, starting from Rs 300 per to Rs 13,000 accordingly.

It has started servicing to SME’s, start-ups and freelancers among others from small, medium, individual local entrepreneurs (SMILE) community. For entrepreneurs the start-ups has established multiple partnerships for services ranging from financial to insurance to healthcare to food to stationary to dryclean. It’s 25 plus partners include Yes Bank Fasoos, Kaya Clinic, Apollo Munich Dental, Lemon Tree, Trident and Beer Café among others. Hence it’s planning to increase the number of partners to 200 plus in six months.

“Anything that a start-up or any SME requires from a service perspective is available in our centre and our community manager’s soul aim in life is to take care of needs for our start-up or SME community”, said Amit Ramani.

Partnership Funding

Started with the $3 million bootstrap funding support of its partners the start-up has secured funding upto about $10 mn between its partners.

At operating level its centers have 45 percent occupancy rate and these centers breakeven probably in six month on operating level. Its centers older than 90 days are 100 percent full. Currently it has earned around 500 plus clients.

Our goal is to be the number one player in India and in the world in the next three to five years.  With that goal and ambition clearly we would walk to raise the fund in the market. In the next tranche we are looking to raise $30 to $50 mn from VCs in six to nine months.

Not a tough road

Fortunately co-working industry is not much regulated space like telecom or banking. There are regulations of by-laws signages, shops and establishment, food and beverages and these laws are not difficult to comply with for the newly venturing entrepreneurs. But finding the right commercial place or hotels at right location is certainly a challenge.

Future plans

Awfis is aiming to have around 8 plus centers in the next six months and by the end of March 2016 it would have around 4000 seats across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. By the end of December this year it is targeting to have about 10,000 seats across Pune, Hyederabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai in addition to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Though still at nascent stage co-working space industry has a promising future ahead with the flourishing entrepreneurship in the country demanding for the convenient mobile working places nearby airports, hotels and commercial meeting places.

Flexible Working: The New Normal Of a Post-COVID World

23 February 2021

Flexible Working: The New Normal Of a Post-COVID World

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

The novel coronavirus has impacted every industry today and the co-working space is no exception. We are slowly tracing our steps back to the business-as-usual mode as it is time to embrace the new normal when it comes to working and productivity.

Co-working spaces have been at the epicenter of collaboration and flexibility for a diverse group of audiences ranging from multinationals to new-age startups and even the lone wolves—freelancers. The allure of shared desks and common space may dampen with the new social distancing laws and can bring a shift in the core functioning of a shared workspace.

However, things may not be as bleak as they seem because remote workers still need to work. According to an early-April 2020 MIT survey of 25,000 American workers, it was found that nearly half the US workforce has been working from home due to COVID-19. A similar trend has been witnessed around the world for the first time. In India, most IT giants have announced work from home as a permanent solution, even in a post COVID-19 world. More than 70 per cent of companies are likely to continue the work-from-home policy for a percentage of their total staff for the next six months to maintain social distancing and for business continuity, according to a survey by Knight Frank.

We are at the behest of our livelihoods and not having one can have a devastating impact. In fact, according to the report of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), over 119 workers have lost their jobs within the first two weeks of the lockdown. In such cases, those who have been freelancing or working remotely full-time, need to double up on their efforts and need to work. The usual desk at home is not exactly a long-term solution for many. Additionally, not all Indian households are equipped for optimum efficiency and output as infrastructure and technology continue to pose a challenge. In such cases, appropriate working solutions are the need of the hour.

Not all organizations can rely on big office spaces but need a fully equipped office space to carry out day-to-day operations. While it is not easy to overcome this challenge, it is achievable with the help of co-working spaces. With a vast network of centres in the city, they offer corporates the flexibility to follow an effective hub and spoke model, keeping in mind the well-being of their employees in the current scenario.

While in some places, easing up restrictions is witnessing an influx of ‘normalcy’, certain regions continue to be under the spell of lockdown. Unlock 1.0 was implemented to restart the economy which also meant getting back to offices while following government SOPS. However, it has been witnessed that the majority of the workforce, despite offices implementing stringent sanitization methods and social distancing measures, continues to work from home as they save the travel time and cost with zero commuting, they have a flexible environment to carry of their tasks and are able to maintain a better work life balance.

This story appeared in the 10 August , 2020 issue of Entrepreneur India and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at: Flexible Working: The New Normal Of a Post-COVID World (entrepreneur.com)

This Start-up is Leveraging Technology to Make Smart & Affordable Co-working Spaces with The recent Fundraise

06 September 2019

This Start-up is Leveraging Technology to Make Smart & Affordable Co-working Spaces with The recent Fundraise

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working spaces are one of the biggest examples of disruption in the real estate space. With over 450 co-working places in the country currently, these spaces in India have transformed the office culture of India.

Awfis, a co-working startup founded in 2015, by Amit Ramani recently raised US$30 million in the fourth funding round led by Chrys Capital. Existing investors, Sequoia India & The Three Sisters Institutional Office also participated in the current round.  Currently, it has 30,000 seats across 63 centers in 9 cities.

Ramani says that co-working spaces have disrupted the commercial real estate segment. He says, “The Indian commercial real estate sector was highly unorganized with little to no transparency & lack of conducive work environment. Coworking spaces identified a gap which existed in the CRE segment for Grade A workspaces at affordable prices and are providing flexible solutions to their clients.”

With this fundraise, Chrys Capital has ventured into co-working for the first time, “We have a long-established history of investing across financial services, healthcare, life sciences and consumer brands etc. so far. With Awfis, ChrysCapital has now ventured into the co-working sector for the first time.”

Ramani also highlights that more and more investors have now started investing in co-working spaces and have realized the vast business potential in this market.

He also added that the funding will be utilized in sustaining the position that Awfis holds in the industry and also in expansion. He said, “We plan to add 2,00,000 seats & 400 centres in 36 months. The investment will also be used to enter new micro markets across Tier 1 & 2 cities in India while penetrating further into existing markets.”

He further added that they are introducing innovative products/solutions for community members attract untapped customer segments. He said, “The capital will be utilized to capture a larger share of CRE market through Awfis Enterprise Solutions (AES),its B2B offering. Awfis aims to further mobilize technology to build smart yet affordable workspaces for the workforce of ‘New India.’”

Making a Mark in this Crowded Sector

The co-working space is becoming an increasingly crowded market with new ones getting launched month after month. How does Awfis plan to combat competition with other rivals like Innov8, GoHive, WeWork, 91 Springboard?

Amit Ramani feels that the product is “well attuned for Indian market.” He also added, “. Awfis takes a different route than any other industry players, we are more “value driven” and are betting on that for a much larger market share. We are very different from a commercial real estate perspective and we have built knowledge of micro-markets across India and are expanding beyond CBDs in key cities and into new locations.”

The focus of Awfis is more SMEs and corporate driven and that provides it an edge over its competitors according to Ramani.

Awfis reaches more enterprise and SME driven customers who focus on value. “We are happy taking a more value-focused approach and are also looking to the meat of the market – SMEs and corporates,” Ramani concludes.

Please visit the below link to read the published article:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/339065

Nitin Gadkari Plans to Take Indian MSMEs Global Through E-commerce

28 June 2019

Nitin Gadkari Plans to Take Indian MSMEs Global Through E-commerce

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), currently contributing 29 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hold the potential to take the figure up to 50 per cent in the next 5 years and Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari has a plan in place to ensure the target is met.

With much dialogue around e-commerce already going on, Indian MSMEs might be the next in line to hitch the stakes by entering the space. The Indian government is reportedly considering a proposal to set up an e-commerce platform for MSMEs to be marketed across the world.

Addressing the International SME Convention on June 27th, the Minister of MSMEs hinted that people from across the world should be able to reach the micro and small entrepreneurs of the country through the platform. “The ministry has already begun working in this direction,” he shared.

“For the marketing purpose, I have already suggested to my department that we need a platform like Alibaba or Amazon where MSMEs are there and anyone in the world can access that and see what products they are offering,” Gadkari provided.

The Plan
Gadkari believes that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of India becoming a $5 trillion economy can only be fulfilled if MSMEs, often touted as the backbone of the nation’s economy, are helped out of the bottlenecks they currently battle, including the lack of credit, infrastructure and especially, technical advancements.

“We are a rich country, but a poor population. Skilled manpower, the appropriate policy will help us achieve the goal of $5 trillion economy,” he said. The employment within the MSME sector can be extended to 15 crores from around 11 crores at present.

The Push
Indian MSMEs have been witnessing the growth push from all directions. While the government is taking its own measures to take them global, the startups have been making efforts to promote the industry. GlobalLinker, a unique SME enablement ecosystem has tied up with Awfis to allow small business owners to work from anywhere without experiencing loss in productivity.

Recently, Flipkart also decided to revamp its ‘Growth Capital’ seller financing program. This will allow over one lakh MSME sellers on the platform to avail credit at competitive interest rates from non-banking financial companies (NBFC) and banks.

Please visit the below link to read the published article:
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/335989