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.

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

Why Coworking is Perfect for Building a Strong Workspace Community

06 March 2019

Why Coworking is Perfect for Building a Strong Workspace Community

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The ability to work and share experiences with like-minded and compatible human beings helps to form a healthy social-professional spectrum that breeds creativity

Historically, the human sense of community can be traced back to roots of their existence. Humans are actually hardwired to be connected with each other as part of a community. At the very onset of our existence, we understood that hunting, gathering and agriculture were easier to accomplish together. From there on, humans established some of the first civilizations: Communities bound together by the common goal of survival. Traditionally, communities were formed basis geographic sense of place like neighbourhood or a milieu (such as temple, church, recreation centers) where people congregated. Common interests & values, social ties, profession and diversity were accompanying factors around which communities formed and co-existed. In 1986, social psychologists McMillan & Chavis defined the Social Capital of community as “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.”

Amidst rapid socio-economic evolution, as institutions and hierarchies erode, people globally are rebuilding a sense of community, to reinstate collective optimism in their lives. The daily struggles, stress and chaos of modern life make communities a source of support for individuals. With the best part of our day spent in a workspace among co-workers, the communities at commercial enterprises have become significant and a primary touchpoint for psycho-social interactions.

The ability to work and share experiences with like-minded and compatible human beings helps to form a healthy social-professional spectrum that breeds creativity. This, coupled with the fact that 65 percent of our workforce fall into the bracket of young millennials, makes it vital to adopt a heterogeneous and flexible work culture in offices worldwide. Hence, it comes as no surprise that most enterprises are realising the potential of coworking and propagating community building initiatives to bring in a strong sense of belonging among employees.

With 19000 shared workspaces worldwide and over 1.74 million diverse members, coworking industry is leading the wave of enhancing the social-professional experience for startups, freelancers, SMEs and large enterprises by providing the perfect platform for collaboration, commerce and community building. From being restricted to designated cubicle and interacting only with intradepartmental colleagues in traditional offices, coworking has successfully blurred the rigid lines of workspace relationships by allowing for social bonds to be formed beyond demographics and designations.
With the 3Cs, the momentum shift toward coworking is set to continue as it provides a holistic approach toward the modern workspace culture.

Collaboration – In terms of perception and functionality, coworking is largely synonymous to collaboration. There is a high degree of mutual learning between companies and individuals at a shared workspace. Startups gain from the learnings of SMEs, SMEs learn from the experience of established corporates who in turn benefit from the ripple effect of budding innovative startup culture. According to a report, 84 percent of the people working at a coworking space are more engaged and motivated than traditional offices. The collaboration, however, doesn’t just stop at learning from each other. Companies often find mutual corporate needs and may collaborate on a business level to enhance their scope of work as well.

Commerce – The existence of a highly conducive business environment is key to the success of coworking spaces. It opens the door to a world of endless possibilities, led by business alliances and exchange of ideas through innovation and B2B associations. Over 83 percent of the enterprises admit to seeing tangible business benefits after moving to shared workspaces, according to a study.

Community – Connecting enterprises and individuals across different hierarchies, demographics, industries and skill sets is key to building a strong workspace community for sustainable business growth. Coworking also sets an extremely high benchmark in setting a strong corporate and learning culture by organizing appropriate networking and social events to solidify the bond between not just different colleagues and individuals but also between enterprises and their employees. From speaker sessions, frequent celebrations and specially curated experiences, coworking spaces provide a good reason to form social relationships beyond business objectives.

Undoubtedly, the trend of community building and promoting collaboration at workspaces will gain further momentum in the coming years. Developments in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and IoT will soon replace the need for desktops and laptops. In fact, wearable technology will lead to complete workplace mobility, making coworking spaces with ample activity-based settings, the perfect meeting ground for social-professional interactions leading to a sense of belonging, inspiration and motivation.

Please read the published article on the below link:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329642