Co-working spaces attract PE funds

17 October 2017

Co-working spaces attract PE funds

  • The Hindu Business Line

In April, Awfis, the country’s largest co-working space provider, announced that it has raised $20 million (₹130 crore) from Sequoia Capital. This, so far, has been the biggest fund-raising in the segment.

Co-working spaces — where professionals of multiple companies operate simultaneously — has seen a rise in the country.

And if market sources are to be believed, the number of such space providers has jumped 400 per cent to 350 till FY17, from just 80 in FY16. PE firms are also said to be evincing interest in the segment.

According to Neetish Sarda, Managing Director, Smartworks, the second largest co working space provider, his company is also in talks with PE funds for raising capital to fund expansion. “Ideally, we would look at raising ₹100 crore plus. Apart from the capital, PE funds would also bring in expertise,” he told BusinessLine.

Growing market

A report by real estate consultant firm CBRE says the co-working space in India is expected to touch 10 million sq ft by 2020, with 2017 witnessing absorption of nearly 1.5 million sq ft.

“Leasing activity by shared office operators more than tripled in 2016 to 0.7 million sq ft as compared to 2014 (when it was a little over 0.2 million sq ft),” the report mentioned.

Delhi-headquartered Awfis Space Solutions and Kolkata-based Smart Work Business Centre Pvt Ltd control nearly 70 per cent of the co-working space market in the country, sources said.

Spaces are primarily spread across cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Noida, Kolkata and Gurgaon.

Global players are also showing interest in this segment with American co-working space company WeWork — the eighth most valuable global start-up — entering India by taking up spaces in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Expansion mode

Flush with funds, Awfis now plans to expand to Chennai by December while it will also explore smaller Tier-II cities like Jaipur, Chandigarh and Indore. It already has one million sq ft of space.

According to Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO, the plan is to take it up to two million sq ft by March 2018 and to 3.5 million sq ft by December 2018.

Kolkata-based Smartworks has around 450,000 sq ft. It plans to add another 250,000 sq ft of space focussing on Hyderabad and Chennai by the end of this year, apart from adding new spaces in cities where it is already present.

It will also explore Tier-II cities like Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Coimbatore and Ahmedabad. “By the end of this fiscal, we will look to have 1.2 million sq ft of space,” Smartworks’ Sarda said.

Typically, a co-working space provider leases an office space and rents it out, charging according to the number of desks and hours used. But newer revenue models are also being explored. For example, community-based offerings, canteen services and office rewards programmes are being considered.

The other way could be to provide convenience services or have tie-ups with other companies and get facilities at a discount like tying up with a PC maker (who is also a tenant) to provide desktops / laptops for the office and so on.


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Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey

23 February 2021

Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

Survey conducted in June, July across 7 metros and 1,000 employees; 3/4th of respondents willing to work from home

Awfis, India’s home-grown flexible workspace provider, unveiled the Awfis Remote Working Report, to offer a glimpse into the changing needs and preferences of the urban Indian workforce concerning their place of work post the Covid-19 lockdown.

The online survey has highlighted various challenges and opportunities that employees have faced while working remotely.

The pandemic is only the tip of the iceberg that the country’s cash-poor airlines — both regional and national — have run into

The survey was conducted over a period of two months (June and July 2020) across seven metros in India, and analysed inputs from 1,000 employees across diverse industries.

According to the survey, 74 per cent of the respondents are willing to work remotely, and 80 per cent pointed out that their job roles can be performed from a remote environment.

It revealed that 29 per cent of respondents reported saving ₹3,000-5,000 a month as a result of working from home, which was otherwise spent on commuting, clothing, and food, among others.

Sixty per cent of the employees usually spend more than an hour in commute to and from office. Therefore, due to work from home now, on average, an employee saves 1.47 hours of travel time every day. This translates to time worth 44 additional working days in a year.

Key challenges

Work from home has its challenges, too. The survey said 27 per cent of the employees felt they lacked opportunities for engaging with colleagues and developing strong networks. The inability to meet and collaborate may have impacted employees’ creativity.

The survey also said 43 per cent of the employees reported the inability to maintain their work-life balance while working remotely.

While 47 per cent of the employees surveyed report a lack of comfortable desk and chair, 71 per cent felt they would be successful in working from home if they had a dedicated work space.

Commenting on the survey, Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis, said in an official release: “The current situation has given way to a new style of working — Work from Anywhere. Organisations and individuals are gradually adjusting to this new normal. To be effective, organisations across diverse industries need to understand the changing requirements and challenges faced by their employees and provide them with the required resources.”

He added: “By means of this survey, we were able to deconstruct the employee perspective and share critical insights that would help managers and organisations devise sustainable remote working strategies.”

This story appeared in the 1 September , 2020 issue of Hindu Business Line and was originally published  at : Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey – The Hindu BusinessLine

Awfis turns profitable, set to expand to 5 more cities

18 March 2019

Awfis turns profitable, set to expand to 5 more cities

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Awfis, the co-working spaces and solutions provider, has turned profitable in little over three years since its commencement .

The company, which could be considered a startup, has grown to 30,000 seats across 10 metros and cities with 63 centres up from 3,000. It is now looking at entering five more cities with its co-working spaces.

Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, said, “Awfis spaces and ‘Autonomous Work Space solutions’ have been now operational across 10 major metros and cities and we are looking at making entry into five Tier II cities during the year.”

These cities include Indore, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Jaipur. This will enable us to take our presence to 15 cities with over 100 centres with total seating capacity of 60,000 seats, he said.

Explaining how the company, which employs about 210 people, is working towards its growth plans, Ramani told BusinessLine, “We have turned profitable and expect to close the current financial year with revenues of ₹160 crore up from ₹1.2 crore, ₹18 crore and ₹56 crore respectively over the past four years. And we are on course for a turnover of over ₹200 crore logging about ₹17 crore per month.”

“Our plans is to grow the business at a rapid pace and take the company to an IPO within the next three years,” he explained.

Mentioning about its Autonomous Work Space Solutions, Ramani said “a registered user can check into and walk out of a workspace without any human interface and carry out his business. By simplifying processes, we have acquired a strong customer base which includes the likes of Amazon and Microsoft among 1700 other companies and firms.”

In India co-working space is poised for growth and the enormous opportunities it presents Awfis will enable us to consolidate and expand at a rapid pace. We had raised over $ 51 million and the growth momentum continues, he said.

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Co-working spaces major Awfis to double seats to 50,000 by July

01 November 2018

Co-working spaces major Awfis to double seats to 50,000 by July

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working space major Awfis is on a rapid expansion mode and now plans to double its seats from 25,000 and 55 centres to 50,000 and 100 centres by June-July 2019.

The workspaces provider has grown from its first facility three years ago to 25,000 seats, about five months ahead of its its initial planned March 2019 date, and is now looking at doubling the number each passing year.

Amit Ramani, Chief Executive Officer, Awfis, said, “We have scaled up to 25,000 seats across 55 centres from 5,800 seats in 20 centres in July 2017. Our network, which includes start-ups, small and medium enterprises and leading corporate entities such as Hinduja, Vodafone, Mercedes Benz, and Hitachi, continues to expand.”

Earlier this year, Awfis had raised $20 million in Series C funding from Sequoia India and Innoven Capital and The Three Sisters: Institutional Office TTS:IO led by Radha Kapoor Khanna. with the $20 million Series B funding from Sequoia, the overall funding exceeds $50 million.

Win-win situation

The co-working space as a category has been growing at a rapid pace as it is able to transform under-utilised real estate assets, including spaces in malls and some hospitality projects into efficient work spaces for entrepreneurs and corporate clients. This is a win-win situation for the real estate owner, for Awfis as also for those who take up space.

By 2020, Awfis is looking at 1,00,000 seats and taking this number up to 2,00,000 seats with 400 plus centres a year thereafter. The industry now estimated to be worth about $600 million is projected to grow to $2.2 billion by 2022, thereby offering immense scope for a services provider like Awfis.

The demand is coming not just from micro-markets in large metros and major cities but from a number of Tier II cities, where there is untapped demand.

Over the last 12 months a about 80 per cent of the business has come from small and medium enterprises and corporate entities. This trend is expected to continue, with start ups too accounting for a growing numbers, Ramani said.

Mentioning that they had raised more than $50 million, the funding available and the realty share model with owners will enable to to meet immediate expansion plans, Ramani said that “Last fiscal, we closed with a turnover of ₹55 crore and this fiscal is likely to see a turnover of ₹170 crore.”

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