Co-working space heats up! How Awfis is planning to take on WeWork

27 September 2017

Co-working space heats up! How Awfis is planning to take on WeWork

  • Money Control

Flush with funds, the startup is now looking at entering the micro markets in tier 2 and 3 towns while WeWork is still filling up its first 2,200 seat centre in Bangalore

Awfis Space Solutions, a startup providing co-working space, is unfazed by the entry of larger rival—New York-based WeWork—in India.

The domestic startup is instead speeding up its growth strategy to stay ahead in the fast expanding co-working space.

“Any co-working space beyond 400-500 seats is more of a campus than a co-working space. It loses the community feel,” says Amit Ramani, ‎Founder & CEO at Awfis Space Solutions Private Limited.

Awfis operates 34 centres with 12,000 seats spread across 6 metros.

Awfis rival WeWork is planning to open about 7 large co-working hubs in the country. The New York-based co-working giant which has raised over USD 7.65 billion has already started a large 2,200 seat coworking space in Bangalore.

“We instead have identified a sweet spot of 350-400 seats per centre, where our unit of economics works best and is a good fit to create community clusters,” Ramani adds illustrating Awfis’ strategy.

Awfis has maintained a model of setting up co-working centres within 3-5 km driving distance, “because we understand local problems. Our competition is rather with the traditional corporate worker,” Ramani added.

WeWork is not the only competition that Awfis faces. The startup competes against a host of other co-working space providers such as GoWork, 91springboard, Innov8, CoWork India, and BHIVE, among others.

Ramani, formerly an architect specialising in workplace strategy and design, launched Awfis in India in 2015.

The company counts Radha Kapoor, daughter of Rana Kapoor, MD and CEO of Yes Bank as director and stakeholder.

Radha Kapoor, along with Ramani had pooled in USD 10 million in seed funding for Awfis.

Awfis, which ultimately aims to make space rentals cost-free, is betting heavily on value-added services to differentiate itself in the midst of heightened competition.

The company has several tie-ups with service providers for laundry pick-up and drop, cab booking, crèches, courier, and other hyperlocal concierge services.

Besides over 120 such alliances, Awfis is also focusing on providing other ancillary services such as special restaurant discounts, cloud infrastructure, convenience programs to help users joggle between centres, reward schemes, and so on.

The startup has also built Awfis virtual assistant – AVA for collaborative services.

“My ideal goal is that people should pay only for the service, while the seats should be cost-free. Additional incremental services go a long way in creating an experience, and that’s what we will escalate,”

Currently, value-added services account for 12-13 percent of the topline of the company. Ramani expects this share to double by the end of 2018.

Rival WeWork is also following a similar approach. Apart from providing a functional working space, WeWork founded in 2010, also allows its members to connect with other entrepreneurs across all its centres.

The company claims that over 1,00,000 members collaborate in-person and digitally through an app that lets members connect and work virtually with other members around the world. WeWork’s Bangalore facility can cater to over 2,200 people, with ancillary amenities such as a swimming pool, a gym, access to healthcare, payment processing, IT support, payroll and legal, education and training.

Awfis last raised a fresh round of funding of USD 20 million in April this year from one of the leading investment firms – Sequoia Capital India, to fund its expansion plans.

Flush with funds, the startup is now looking at entering the micro markets in tier 2 and 3 towns while WeWork is still filling up its first 2,200 seat centre in Bangalore.

“We have mapped 34 micro markets till now. We want to go to 60 more,” Ramani said. The company is considering markets such as Ahmedabad, Pune, and Patna, among others.

He hopes to increase the count of seats to 25,000 by the end of this year, and increase the number of members to 50,000 by 2020, on the back of this expansion.

In comparison, WeWork doubled its membership with over 80,000 members utilising the space, community, and services, in 2016. The company is adding about 10-15 locations per month, and today has 149 physical locations, offices in 188 locations, across 45 different cities.

Within few months of WeWork’s entry in India, the company is already in expansion mode with two more centres coming up in Bangalore, in addition to a center already operational in Mumbai.

According to a research report by real estate consultancy firm Colliers International on India’s co-working space market, more than 1.2 million sq. ft. were leased by co-working companies in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the overall leasing volume. The report estimates that by 2020, these companies will increase the leasing space to about 8 to 9 million sq. ft.

With competition heating up in the co-working space, investors too are betting their investments on the sector. Besides Awfis, The Office Pass recently raised USD 245,000 in seed investment from a group of individual investors. Innov8 in February raised angel funding from Venture Catalysts and other individual investors.

Growing at a rate of 40-50 percent, the investor activity in this space is about to treble.

According to a study conducted by another real estate consultancy JLL, the co-working industry in India is expected to receive USD 400 million in investments by 2018.

 

Read the original article here: http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/startup/co-working-space-heats-up-how-https://www.awfis.com/inspiration/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/shutterstock_3835072871.jpg-is-planning-to-take-on-wework-2399391.html

Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida

09 May 2022

Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working company Awfis will be launching a new 85,000 sq ft centre in Noida, strengthening its foothold in the NCR.

The new over 1,500 seat centre located in River Side Tower, sector 125, Noida will go live by end of March 2022. It is in line with Awfis’ vision of opening 200 centres across the country by the end of 2022.

Commenting on the launch of the new centre, Amit Ramani, CEO and founder, said, “We are delighted to partner with River Side Tower to open this new workspace in Noida, which is rapidly emerging as one of India’s leading business hubs for large scale companies and startups alike.”

“The sharp recovery and the growing demand for flex workspaces from this region inspired us to continue to create grade-A flex workspaces, so as to facilitate businesses of all sizes in the market. We are confident that this trend will continue to grow and even the most traditional companies will see merit in setting up hub and spoke offices to help people work in close proximity to their homes allowing them to spend lesser time in commuting,” he said.

Currently, Awfis has 11 co-working centres in the Delhi-NCR region and the company plans to open 10-15 more centres in the market the by end of 2022.

On the back of strong demand for flex workspaces, Awfis launched over 50 centres with 30,000 seats and entered three new markets in the past 15 months. The company currently has 121 centres with 70,000 seats across 14 cities and will continue to strengthen its foothold across India to establish a network of 200 centres in 2022.

On the back of strong demand for flex workspaces, Awfis launched over 50 centres with 30,000 seats and entered three new markets in the past 15 months.

The company currently has 121 centres with 70,000 seats across 14 cities and will continue to strengthen its foothold across India to establish a network of 200 centres in 2022.

This story appeared in the 8 February, 2022 issue of Money Control and was originally published  at : Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida

Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida

09 May 2022

Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working company Awfis will be launching a new 85,000 sq ft centre in Noida, strengthening its foothold in the NCR.

The new over 1,500 seat centre located in River Side Tower, sector 125, Noida will go live by end of March 2022. It is in line with Awfis’ vision of opening 200 centres across the country by the end of 2022.

Commenting on the launch of the new centre, Amit Ramani, CEO and founder, said, “We are delighted to partner with River Side Tower to open this new workspace in Noida, which is rapidly emerging as one of India’s leading business hubs for large scale companies and startups alike.”

“The sharp recovery and the growing demand for flex workspaces from this region inspired us to continue to create grade-A flex workspaces, so as to facilitate businesses of all sizes in the market. We are confident that this trend will continue to grow and even the most traditional companies will see merit in setting up hub and spoke offices to help people work in close proximity to their homes allowing them to spend lesser time in commuting,” he said.

Currently, Awfis has 11 co-working centres in the Delhi-NCR region and the company plans to open 10-15 more centres in the market the by end of 2022.

On the back of strong demand for flex workspaces, Awfis launched over 50 centres with 30,000 seats and entered three new markets in the past 15 months.

The company currently has 121 centres with 70,000 seats across 14 cities and will continue to strengthen its foothold across India to establish a network of 200 centres in 2022.

This story appeared in the 8 February, 2022 issue of Flipboard and was originally published  at : Awfis to launch 85,000 sq ft co-working space in Noida 

Co-working continues to register growth amidst office opening

07 May 2022

Co-working continues to register growth amidst office opening

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

With employers calling their workforce back to offices, there is a visible demand hike for co-working spaces. Corporate occupiers to independent tenants are taking up spaces and signing long leases; trend likely to continue for the rest of the year.

Companies are calling their employees back to offices following a significant drop in COVID-19 cases. As occupiers and tenants return to offices, they continue to book co-working spaces. And the co-working industry is gearing up for another spell of growth, likely to be witnessed in the coming quarters.

Factors like expansion by co-working operators, improvement in service offerings, flexibility in lease conditions and formalities, management ease, and occupiers’ caution to reduce costs have led to increased activity.

Recent findings from Colliers, a professional services and investment management company, said flex space saw its share increasing to about 15 percent from 5 percent in Q1 2021. Large corporates continue to explore managed offices, and this has led flex spaces to open new centres in metro cities and even in non-metro cities, the findings said.
Experts have cited several reasons for the increased space take-up. “The demand for flexible workspaces is constantly increasing because such spaces provide companies with an option to save costs, increase productivity, augment the work experience, and provide flexibility. These players are curating unique experiences and engagements for building tenants by providing state-of-the-art amenities like gyms, cafés, creches and managing the complete building ecosystem by bringing alliances, events and community focus to the occupants,” said Arpit Mehrotra, Managing Director, Office Services (South India), Colliers.
Flex space operators continue to focus on customisation and provide on-demand workspaces, attracting small and large occupiers alike. “COVID-19 emerged as the chief designer of office spaces of the future. As the threat of the virus recedes due to acquired immunity, and the progressing vaccination drive, many offices have/are preparing to come back to normalcy, albeit in a new normal – the hybrid model,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Group. ANAROCK is the country’s leading real estate services company.

Interestingly, in this new work environment, co-working spaces have emerged as the best mode for adopting a hybrid model at offices, as per an ANAROCK-LinkedIn survey.

Co-working operators agree. Large corporates are requesting employees to come to work for 2-3 days a week on rotation basis. “This has created surplus space in their existing offices and they are moving to co-working or managed offices post expiration of their lock-in,” said Aditya Verma, Founder & CEO, The Office Pass(TOP).

“We continue to see an increase in demand for flex space as a result of the numerous benefits it offers employees and businesses. Whether it’s lower fixed costs, greater customisation options, flexibility to scale or simply access to a culture of community, collaboration and networking, our spaces enable organisations to ensure a smooth transition back to work,” said Karan Virwani, CEO, WeWork India.

Operators plan expansion

The trend is evident from the space-taking and expansion plans of operators. “At WeWork, we plan to expand our portfolio by a million square feet in 2022, with over 50 percent of the planned development already pre-committed by enterprises… Meeting the demands, we have leased more than 1.7 million square feet of office space to large enterprises and smaller firms in the past year and foresee this trend to continue,” added Virwani of WeWork India.

Another large player, Awfis, has transacted 30,000 seats in the last five months and “has crossed pre-pandemic seat sales,” said Amit Ramani, CEO and Founder, Awfis. In January 2022, Awfis reached the marquee 100-centre milestone and is optimistic about the growth of flex spaces in the country.

“In line with the same, Awfis aims to double its capacity in 2022 with 200 centres by continuing to expand in emerging Tier I cities like Lucknow, Nagpur, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi, and Jaipur, alongside metros. We are also soon crossing the 150 centres and 90,000 seats mark — by end of April 2022,” added Ramani.

Other operators like Smartworks, IndiQube and Simpliwork are already looking to expand and are signing deals.

Occupiers have exercised caution while taking up traditional workspaces. “Occupiers have started asking their employees to be back in office in a phased manner. They are also opening their workspace in a hybrid manner — neither completely remote, nor completely work-from-office,” said Mehrotra of Colliers.

“Enterprise customers who were primarily fence-sitters pre-COVID-19, have come to realise the crucial role that co-working spaces play in providing flexibility and meeting their now evolved workspace needs. In fact, given the uncertainty of the times we live in companies do not want to bear the added cost of running multiple offices and are therefore opting for a decentralised model that cuts costs, and helps maintain business continuity, while enabling access to talent across the country, more efficiently,” added Ramani of Awfis.

As a result of the demand and expansion, there are indications that rental values are firming up across centres. Moreover, to meet the health and safety protocols, co-working operators are transforming by way of digitalisation. This includes the installation of automated attendance, voice-controlled features, sensor-activated disinfectants and digitalised ventilators, among others.

The momentum to continue

The momentum is likely to continue for the rest of the year. And operators and market experts are hopeful that the space taken will increase from these levels. The need for customisation and a hybrid working model will continue to have a direct impact on the absorption trends. Moreover, the concept of neighbourhood centres will gain popularity.

“The demand will be driven by new co-working centres that will open not only in the CBD area of the city but also around residential neighbourhoods (to cater to the work-near-home market),” added Verma of TOP.

“Going forward, we are likely to see developers of commercial office assets across the country align with such operators and carve out specialised spaces for them. The expansion plans of major players and the increasing appetite for this format from occupiers, property owners, and co-working operators would be fuelling the growth,” said Puri of ANAROCK.

This story appeared in the 1 May, 2022 issue of Daily Advent and was originally published  at : Co-working continues to register growth amidst office opening- Money Control