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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Book a plug-and-play office for ₹300 a day

25 August 2021

Book a plug-and-play office for ₹300 a day

  • Posted by awfis

Now, hire an office space for the price of pizza.

Targeted at nimble and sprouting start-ups across the country, Awfis Space Solutions has launched a mobile-based application to book office space with Wi-Fi and other basic facilities at ₹300-500 a day in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Promoted by Radha Kapoor, daughter of Rana Kapoor co-founder of YES Bank and emerging entrepreneur Amit Ramani, Awfis provides 1,500 office cabins, table space and meeting rooms for as low as one hour to 11 months across seven centres in three cities. The promoters have made an initial investment of ₹65 crore and plan to enhance capacity to 3,500 seats by March.

The company has drawn plans to set up 10,000 seats across 60 centres in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata by end of this year. It plans to raise $40-50 million (about ₹330 crore) by the end of next year to fuel growth.

Awfis has also tied up with Trident, Hyatt and Lemon Tree to list 100 meeting rooms at select locations on its platform.

Speaking to BusinessLine Ramani, CEO and Co-founder, said the just-in-time office space concept has already received good response with 12 start-ups in Bengaluru hooking in through Awfis.

“In fact, some of the venture capitalists before investing are insisting the start-ups to use our services as they do not want them to splurge capital in deposit, rentals and maintenance of own office space at the initial stage,” he added.

This apart, he said, Awfis is also in talks with top insurance company and audit firm to lease out space for their marketing staff.

It has also signed strategic partnership to provide allied services such as accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, healthcare and insurance.

Interestingly, Ramani said about 60 high networth investors, who invested in real estate boom have approached Awfis for partnership as it assures steady return for them.

“Unlike other office space providers, we do not insist on one year rental agreement or take any security deposit in advance. With the planned 10,000 seats, our business has the potential to generate revenue of ₹10 crore a month and break-even with 40 per cent occupancy,” he said.

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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