ChrysCapital leads $30 million round in Awfis

06 August 2019

ChrysCapital leads $30 million round in Awfis

  • Economic Times

Proceeds from the deal will be primarily utilised to expand capacity, according to Amit Ramani, chief executive of Awfis.

ChrysCapital, India’s largest homegrown private equity firm, has led a $30 million (about ?213 crore) equity funding round in coworking space provider Awfis Space Solutions, both the firms said on Tuesday.

Proceeds from the deal, which was first reported by ET in its May 30 edition, will be primarily utilised to expand capacity, according to Amit Ramani, chief executive of Awfis.

“We’ve been pretty prudent with the capital raise that we have been undertaking, and the capital has been deployed very judiciously. This round allows us to expand our capacity to over 100,000 seats by 2020, and 200,000 seats by 2022,” Ramani told ET.

Sequoia Capital and Three Sisters, the family office of Yes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor, the two existing investors in Awfis, also participated in the funding round.

ChrysCapital has invested from its seventh fund, the 2016 vintage, $610 million ChrysCapital VII. Ramani also said the company plans to cap the round at $30 million.

Maple Capital Advisors acted as the sole financial advisor to Awfis for its latest round of fund raising. The Delhi-headquartered company, which competes with the likes of SoftBank-backed WeWork and Oyo-owned Innov8, among others, has raised a shade over $80 million in a mix of debt and equity financing till date.

The four-year-old company, which manages about 2 million square feet across India, also counts Temasek-backed venture debt firm InnoVen Capital as an institutional backer.

The development comes as India’s still-nascent co-working sector continues to expand, with investor interest keeping pace with what is seen as a real estate play underpinned by a technology foundation.

“The whole (Awfis) team and systems are originated around providing customers with flexibility… Ultimately, this is a services-led product, and not just a real estate play, which makes them a great fit for us,” Kshitij Sheth, vice-president at ChrysCapital, told ET.

Earlier this year, SoftBank-backed OYO Hotels & Homes acquired a majority stake in Gurugram-headquartered co-working space provider Innov8 for an estimated Rs 200-Rs 220 crore.

On Tuesday, ET was the first to report that BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, had led a $53 million (about Rs 375 crore) debt financing round in Gurugram-based co-working startup GoWork, marking its return to the Indian startup ecosystem after more than five years.

ChrysCapital’s investment in Awfis is its first in the broader co-working segment, and also a rare one by the storied investment firm, which manages assets of over $4 billion, in India’s new economy sector, given that it has primarily preferred to back companies operating in core sectors ranging from financial services, information technology and consumer.

“Co-working has changed the way commercial real estate business is conducted globally and has picked up a lot of steam in India, with Awfis leading the disruption. Awfis’ sustainable approach to business, superior performance and strong customer focus has encouraged ChrysCapital to associate with them,” Sheth said.

Awfis, which currently has 30,000 seats across 63 centres spread across nine cities – Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh – plans to enter Tier-2 cities, including Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhuvaneshwar, Kochi and Indore.

For the financial year 2018-19, the company said revenue grew to Rs 165 crore from Rs 56 crore. It has reportedly projected a topline of Rs 300 crore in the current financial year.

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Pandemic has forced India Inc to build workspaces of the future, now

03 September 2021

Pandemic has forced India Inc to build workspaces of the future, now

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

Covid-19 has accelerated a few trends like digitalization where the new age workforce have different attitudes and preferences compared to the millennials, according to industry experts.
“Every walk of life has been changed by the pandemic including office spaces. We are now dealing with a liberated work environment- hybrid, flex, work from home, in premises work and collaborative spaces are all subsets of a liberated environment. One thing is for
sure, office is a flag of strategic importance for the corporate world, a Dag that stands for stability and for retaining as well as hiring talent,” said Viral Desai, Executive Director,
Transaction, Knight Frank India.

In the The Awfis Leadership Summit 2021, industry experts said working from home had its impact on employees in terms of stress and diminishing the overall well-being of the employees. In today’s world, hybrid work model, remote working, work from home will
co-exist.

“Workspaces are no longer going to be a binary decision- it is going to have work
from home, flexibility, and tier 2 cities all these things will coexist in the world we will be moving forward to. Conversations around flex is on the rise and employee safety is becoming a matter of paramount importance along with other wellness factors. Space utilisation will also have to be monitored and behavioural adaptation to space environments will be necessary as work environments will be more
about experience and productivity,” said Badal Yagnik, Managing Director,
Cushman & Wakefield.

The other change which will take front seat in reimagining workspaces is the safety of employees. Offices will be designed in line with the new reality where space utilization will get monitored, behavior adjustments will be taken into consideration and the offices will provide an environment that yields higher productivity.

“Flexible office sector has shown remarkable growth in recent years with the pandemic not only introducing the concept of work from home but also work near home. Organizations and employees are favouring a more hub and spoke model – a trend that was already a talking point in tier 1 cities now moving towards tier 2 and tier 3 cities too. There is pressure on traditional lease models towards short term contracts and diversifying
portfolios in the different micro markets as well,” said Arpit Mehrotra, Managing Director – South India, Occupier Services, Colliers.

While Work from home has its positives, offices are about collaboration, engagement, culture building and talent development which is only possible with physical offices.

“Conversations around satellite o8ices are getting stronger and clients are looking for country specific solutions instead of location specific solutions. With respect to the purpose of office, office spaces are spaces to collaborate, engage, ideate- it is an experience,” said Sanjay Bajaj, Managing Director – Pune and Logistics & Industrial Services, JLL.

“Employee connect, bonding, camaraderie, talent integration and development, all these need physical office environments. Such spaces are required to build, sustain, and retain culture to socialise and network,” Bajaj added.

Janak Malkani, Executive Director, CBRE said that the industry is witnessing an accelerated change in performance, expectations, and role of the workplace. “Firms have been successful in changing their strategies to ensure seamless functioning, while effectively leveraging potential changes in work styles. With a renewed focus on health and safety, businesses are now incorporating smarter and people-centric business models to better not employee-wellness strategies, Malkani said.

Commercial real estate is now dealing with a liberated work environment and collaborative workspaces are a subset of this new work environment. With this trend, a conventionally popular trend of building the office first and then hiring has been reversed. Despite these changes, office is a flag that stands for stability, retaining and hiring talent.

“With a mass transition to work from home last year, organizations are now gradually breaking away from the traditional office environment and looking to build a new type of workspace for the future. The ongoing pandemic has disrupted the traditional definition of office and this has led both the employers and employees to reconsider the purpose and need for an office space,” said Sumit Lakhani, CMO, Awfis.

“In a pre-pandemic world, o8ices were designed to be primarily functional however with the changing times and revolving work cultures, companies look forward to building open and collaborative workspaces that facilitates knowledge and idea sharing among their employees,” Lakhani added.

This story appeared in the September 02, 2021 issue of  Economic Times and was originally published at : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/pandemic-has-forced-india-inc-to-build-workspaces-for-the-future-now/articleshow/85868852.cms

 

 

 

Share of co-working in office space leasing to increase in 2022 : Experts

01 September 2021

Share of co-working in office space leasing to increase in 2022 : Experts

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

In the Awfis Leadership Summit 2021, industry experts said that recent reports that predicted offices to grow by about 670 million in 2021 and according to the panelists, the number will go up to 750 million by 2022.

Co-working spaces are expected to see a rise in absorption of seats between 20-30%, according to industry experts. Seats absorption is about 15% of the total of office leasing by corporates in 2021 and the share is expected to increase further.

In the The AwFs Leadership Summit 2021, industry experts said that recent reports that predicted offices to grow by about 670 million in 2021 and according to the panelists, the number will go up to 750 million by 2022.

“With more than 75% of the workforce wanting to return to the office, we certainly feel that the commercial real estate business will see a steady increase in demand to 30-35 million sft per annum levels next two years,” said Sanjay Dutt, MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd.

“We have noticed that companies are now focusing on adopting a flexible and dynamic work model; therefore, occupiers desire fexibility in contracts. With nearly 50% of Grade A office real estate now being institutional in terms of ownership, there is drive on asset enhancement with the intent to retain and improve overall customer experience and extract better economic value,” he added.

The demand for CRE is seeing an uptake especially from the IT sector since the cost of operating in India is lower compared to other markets as well as the large pool of talent the country has to offer. A strong penetration of flex office spaces will be seen in Tier II & III cities since organisations want to be closer to employees who have moved back to their hometowns in these cities.

“The ongoing pandemic has had an unprecedented impact across industries and real estate was no exception. However, one of the few resilient sectors in real estate that was able to sustain the disruption caused by the pandemic was the commercial real estate sector. Despite the pandemic’s impact on its operation, culture and the way in which the industry functions, the CRE sector was able to bounce back stronger than ever,” said Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, AwFs and Vice President, Indian Workspace Association.

India has been on a digital transformation journey and is known as the outsourcing hub of the world. With that journey continuing to grow the industry will see hotelization of spaces by 2030, since flexibility is demanded by the new workforce.

“With respect to crucial learnings from the pandemic, the learnings occupiers derived from the crisis will be very different from an investor’s learning and similarly the lessons that the developers learnt will be something entirely different – the culmination of all these will make real estate a much more robust environment to work in. Going forward, product enhancement is something to watch out for as buildings will have to change in terms of the offering the client is looking for. Developers also need to step into the occupier’s shoes and understand what they want to deliver accordingly,” said Juggy Marwaha, CEO, Prestige Office Ventures.

In the coming years, with hotelization of spaces, residential segments, malls and offices will overlap with each other. Therefore, development companies will become service companies. There is an increased focus on development because of quality supply especially due to lease and up lease models.

“The commercial real estate sector was quick to embrace the evolving business landscape amid the pandemic. With the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions and the government’s mass vaccinations drive – we can expect businesses to display an increased inclination towards co-working/flexible spaces to meet the evolving real estate requirements,” said Ram Chandnani, Managing Director Advisory & Transaction Services India, CBRE.

The commercial real estate market is predicted to grow from an investor perspective in multiple asset classes. Nearly 50% of the real estate is institutional in terms of ownership, so there is a lot of pressure from investor partner in terms of rental pressure and future retention.

A lot of demand for flex offices can be seen from start up businesses. Corporates are now looking at distributed models of working in tier II & III cities which will give rise to flex spaces.

“In response to COVID-19, commercial real estate stakeholders have adapted quickly on the physical and technology fronts, health and safety and cost controls. Despite the second wave, liquidity and investments are improving as we are witnessing a positive sentiment amongst investors as compared to last year, where they preferred a cautious approach,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO, India & Managing Director, Market Development, Asia at Colliers.

The commercial real estate market needs to see movement beyond renewals towards pre-commitments and built-to-suit office deals, which will create more optimism amongst occupiers.

“We also expect share of flexible workspaces in total demand to increase in the future. Over the next few quarters, we will see more occupiers incorporating best practices to improve and modernize the workplace in terms of refurbishment and design,” Nair said.

This story appeared in the September 01, 2021 issue of  Economic Times and was originally published at: https://m.economictimes.com/industry/services/property-/-cstruction/share-of-co-working-in-office-space-leasing-to-increase-in-2022-experts/articleshow/85830813.cms

 

 

Second half of 2021 to bring new opportunities for the commercial real estate market: Experts

19 July 2021

Second half of 2021 to bring new opportunities for the commercial real estate market: Experts

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

The commercial real estate market will be expecting growth and getting ready for a post pandemic recovery with the roll out of vaccines in India,according to experts.

In the webinar by home-grown flex workspace provider, Awfis, on the strategies that needs to be adopted by the CRE market to successfully navigate the second wave of the pandemic, experts said that traditional sources of capital – banks and NBFCs, will be constrained at least for the next 24-36 months.

From an investor’s perspective, they will think through before they deploy capital to consider the contingencies, they have faced in the past 12 months.

“Last year, the pandemic changed the CRE sector in fundamental ways that no
one predicted. With the pace of improvement driven by the availability
and effectiveness of a vaccine in 2021, the long-term outlook for commercial
real estate looks positive in many facets.

With the CRE industry likely to recover in the coming months, 2021 foresees a strong partnership between occupiers and developers,” said Amit Ramani, CEO
& Founder, Aw@s and Vice President, Indian Workspace Association.
Sanjay Dutt MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Tata Housing said that they have seen
significant changes from an occupier’s point of view.
“Occupiers are exiting leases, which do not meet the new benchmarks of
environment, health, safety and wellness (EHSW) standards and willing to pay premium and renew & consolidate where they do. Majority of occupiers have deliberated on the work from home vs work from office options and a lot of emphasis has been on building the right infrastructure to make sure one inculcates the culture of the organization in the workplace for the people since they want them to come to the office. They are expected to
repurpose the office,” said Dutt.

Experts believe that the latter half of 2021 brings with it a lot of new opportunities for the CRE market with respect to the strategies and planning that is required for the evolving nature of the industry.

“For the short to medium term outlook, the developers must listen to their clients and synchronize their supply to real, tangible demand and redesign/repurpose their products for what is the new normal (post pandemic). Additionally, developers also need to focus on stabilizing rather than chasing growth and be disciplined about the capital they raise and focus on executing to deliver as committed,” said Arpito Mukerji, Managing Director,
Apollo Global Management.

Going ahead, occupier’s health and wellbeing will be crucial to future CRE strategy and investments. Developers need to reinvent their strategies accordingly, although the response to restructuring their portfolios varies from developer to developer.
“The entire focus currently is to stand by our customers and help them tackle the
ongoing crisis. In the long run, developers will need to recognise the importance of digital technology across the value chain, right from investments to design / construction and to operations. There will need to be tremendous focus on green power, energy efficiency, cost optimisation, improving customer experience and health & wellness using PropTech –
developers who will do this will stand out in the market,” said Vinamra Srivastava, CEO, Business Parks, CapitaLand India.

The growing demand for more sustainable, smart, and flexible options among occupiers will have an impact on the demand for commercial real estate, as corporates consider a hybrid work culture to reduce excess space from their portfolios.
“Certain developers have taken the decision that would like to offload capital intensive portfolios from their balance sheet and redeploy the capital into their core development business. Most asset owners are focused on rapidly upgrading asset level
technology, processes, and standards,” said Amit Diwan, MD & Country Head,
Hines India.

According to Vinod Rohira, MD & CEO, CRE & REIT, K. Raheja Corp, REITS is a
fantastic opportunity for India and right now it is in the stage of infancy.
“If you look at the developed markets of the world, they are way ahead of us and
there is more to learn from a governance, compliance strategy, development, and asset management level. If we can get this right, it will be a massive opportunity for India, going
forward,” Rohira said.

This story appeared in the May 31  2021 issue of  The Economic Times and was originally published at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/property-/-cstruction/second-half-of-2021-to-bring-new-opportunities-for-the-commercial-real-estate-market-experts/articleshow/83108066.cms?from=mdr