Co-working firm Awfis eyes aggressive expansion after fund infusion

27 August 2018

Co-working firm Awfis eyes aggressive expansion after fund infusion

  • Business Standard

The firm aims at its raising seat capacity to 40,000 in a year and it aims at foraying into six new cities including Chennai and Bhubaneshwar.

With a war chest of $20 million raised from Sequoia Capital and a family fund run by Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor’s daughters, home-grown co-working operator Awfis is planning to expand aggressively in the next one year taking its total capacity to around 40,000 seats, 60 per cent more than its present level of 25,000.

The company, which eyes spreading its geographical footprint to 15 cities from the present nine, may also explore the possibility of going public in the next three years when it hopes to touch a turnover Rs 12 billion. The company’s revenue in FY18 stood at Rs 1.5 billion.

Currently, Awfis operates in 9 cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Noida and Gurugram, and is planning to enter into Chennai, Ahemdabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi and Bhubaneswar by March 2018.

“Our supply side acquisition cost is much lower than other players which give us the flexibility to grow faster than them. Currently, apart from the straight leasing of space, we are partnering with the landlords where we don’t have to incur any fixed cost,” said Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis.

“With decent EBIDTA margin and a pedigree of profit for three years, IPO is definitely an option and we will certainly look at it as an opportunity in next 3-4 years,” he added. The co-working operator, which claims to be already operational profitable, is hopeful of posting an entity-level profit in October this year.
The country has seen a number of entrants in co-working space in recent years, including companies such as Regus, 91springboard, InstaOffice, Innov8 and CoWork India. Global shared workspace provider, WeWork which has a presence in 15 countries, has also started operating in India in a tie-up with Bengaluru-based real estate developer, Embassy Group.

According to a report by real estate consultancy firm Colliers International, co-working operators absorbed seven per cent of total office space transactions in the first half of this calendar year, which stood at 24 million square feet.

Apart from partnering with property owners, Awfis is also leasing space in malls to meet the growing requirement. It operates around 30,000 square feet office space in Ambience mall at Gurugram. It has also opened centres in Raghuleela and Heera Panna mall in Mumbai and Nucleus mall in Pune.

“80 per cent of our customer base comes from corporates and SMEs while the rest comes from startups,” Ramani said.

Established in 2015, Awfis has so far raised $50 million in venture funding in multiple rounds. In the last round raised in April this year, the co-working operator raised $20 million from its existing investors Sequoia Capital, The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO) led by Radha Kapoor, and Temasek Group company InnoVen Capital.
“With the current round of fund raising, we are sufficiently capitalised till March of next year. Post this period, we will take a call,” Ramani added.

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Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on Zee Business

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on DD News

Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

25 August 2021

Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

  • Posted by awfis

It finds a spreading market here among entrepreneurs and start-ups, prompting rapid expansion plans.

With the proliferation of solo entrepreneurs and start-ups in the country, it was a matter of time before office space became another opportunity to launch a start-up, catering to the mobile workplace needs of these professionals.

There are others in this place but the Amit Ramani-led Awfis Solutions intends to be a clutter-breaker, with a managed aggregation strategy. Instead of focusing on the peer-to-peer model, the company intends to create a niche through this strategy in the form of ‘pro working’ spaces.

The company, with initial funding of $10 million (Rs 67 crore), currently has a network of 1,500 seats in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. It aims to take this to 10,000 seats across 10 cities. Ramani and Radha Kapoor are the key investors in the venture; the proportion of investment by either is not disclosed.

Managed aggregation, Ramani explains, is a practice where Awfis manages the properties in its network integrating services and technology back-end. In other words, while on the one hand the platform serves as an aggregator of office spaces, it also provides technology back-up and manages these spaces, taking responsibility for the end-user’s experience.

“The way we are different from our peers is that we take ownership of the user experience. Unlike rent a cab services, where a part of the operation is beyond the portal’s control, we have our staff at the properties to ensure the experience is good. This addition to the sheer scale we have achieved since we started in September 2015 and plan to achieve this calendar set us apart from the existing players,” says Ramani, founder and chief executive officer. Awfis has partnered with real estate developers which have unutilised space and hotels with meeting rooms to let out. With the former, the partnership is either on a rental basis or revenue share. In the case of hotels (Awfis has already struck deals with the Trident, Hyatt and Lemon Tree groups), it is a revenue share model. The booking back-end of the hotels has been integrated into the Awfis mobile app, which allows users to be updated on availability and booking, real time. In the case of real estate partners, Awfis invests in the infrastructure and ambience.

It says it has created proprietary Grade-A, highly energetic and inspirational community work spaces (1,500+ desks, across seven Centres, operational across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru) and is working to ramp this up to 3,500+ desks across 15 ‘work innovation centres’ in these cities by March.

Each centre provides technology-enabled physical infrastructure — video projection, NFC cards, CCTV, high-speed internet, laser printing. Members get the benefits of using custom-sized multi-location workspaces on a flexible lease tenor, from an hour to up to a year (or more), depending on work requirements.

Additionally, Awfis has partnerships that provide its community members access to leading service providers in accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, health care and insurance.

Ramani says their experience shows that in the metros, properties break even at the operational level once they hit the 40 per cent occupancy mark over four to six months. It varies from city to city, given the difference in property rental rates.

“Additionally, our capex is not exorbitant because we have used synergies from our family companies like Nelson Asia, which provides architectural design and consulting services. We also have more properties seeing good occupancy. Of the $10 million initial investment, we have used around $3 mn so far and the rest will be used to scale up to 10,000 seats by the end of this calendar. For the next phase of expansion, we aim to raise $40-50 mn, for which we will go to the market by September this year,” adds Ramani.

At 10,000 seats, Awfis will then be the largest managed aggregator of office space in the country, he reckons.

Office spaces under this venture are available on a membership basis, as well as an on-off basis. The prices range from Rs 350 a day to Rs 11,000 a month for work stations; meeting rooms are available for anywhere between Rs 500 an hour to Rs 3,500 a day. Where the partner is a hotel, the latter’s rate applies.