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

  • The Hindu Business Line

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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Awfis taking its co-working spaces to small towns, malls

06 September 2018

Awfis taking its co-working spaces to small towns, malls

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working space provider Awfis is eyeing expansion into Tier-II towns and consolidating its presence in Tier-I cities.
But it is not just office spaces that the company is planning to tap.
Awfis will also utilise commercial spaces such as shopping malls, hotels and other unconventional asset classes as co-working spaces. Low rentals are one prime reason for the company to explore these alternatives, sources said.
Some of the Tier-II towns it is currently eyeing include Kochi, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad and Indore.
According to Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis is planning a 60 per cent increase in seats to 40,000 over the next 10-12 months spread across 100 centres.
Its current capacity stands at 25,000 seats, about 1.5 million sq ft, across 55 centres, which makes it the largest in the country.
“Commercial office spaces apart, we are also looking at idle capacities in unconventional asset classes like a shopping mall or hotel or even educational institutions where co-working spaces can come up,” he told BusinessLine.
Ideally, the company would look at taking up 25,000 sq ft, accommodating 500 seats and other facilities like cafeteria and meeting rooms. Awfis either leases space or opts for a managed aggregator model. Upcoming spaces will mostly focus on the managed aggregator model that includes rent-sharing JVs or management contracts.
“We are in discussions with some of the landlords who own such unconventional assets for conversion,” Ramani said.
Co-working space is expected to be a $2.2-billion market in India by 2022.

Unconventional assets
Awfis has already established a presence in malls that have seen a dip in footfalls and have under-utilised spaces, such as the top floors. It has set up co-working offices at Ambience Mall in Gurugram, Raghuleela and Heera Panna malls in Mumbai, and Nucleus mall in Pune.
It also has a presence at the Taj Deccan hotel in Hyderabad and at the DERBI Foundation, Dayanand Sagar University in Bengaluru. Approximately, 10 per cent (or 2,500) of its 25,000 seats are located in such unconventional assets.

The co-working space provider reported revenues of₹57 crore in FY18 with 85 per cent coming from primary activities such as seat rentals, meeting room facilities and parking space rentals. The remaining comes from canteen and catering services.
It is expecting a three-fold jump in revenues to ₹170 crore by the end of this fiscal (FY19). The company is expecting to report net profits (at a company level) from October onwards.
“Of the 55-odd centres that we have, 42-47 are profitable,” Ramani said.

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Awfis raises fresh funding of $20 mn from Sequoia, others

26 July 2018

Awfis raises fresh funding of $20 mn from Sequoia, others

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Awfis, a shared workspace provider, has 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. Sequoia Capital had earlier invested $20 million in Awfis as part of a Series B funding.

Awfis Space Solutions was jointly incubated by Amit Ramani and The Three Sisters: Institutional Office with a capital of $11 million in April 2015. The fresh capital infusion will be used to bolster and deepen the Awfis network across India, launch new and innovative products/services and further enhance the existing technology platform.

In the last fiscal year, Awfis scaed up to 25,000 seats across 55 centres, with a member base of 15,000+ as compared to 5,800 seats in 20 centres with a member base of 4000+ in July 2017.

The member base at Awfis includes a growing network of more than 1,200 companies ranging from India’s leading start-ups/ MSMEs to Fortune 500 companies, forming the largest co-working community in India. Companies such as Hinduja, Vodafone, Mercedes Benz, RBI, Hitachi, ShareKhan, Zomato and Practo operate from various Awfis centres.

Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis in a statement said, “With the growing demand for co-working spaces, there is a focus on transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing affordable work spaces for entrepreneurs. The additional capital will aid us in expanding our footprint in India with 100+ centres with 40,000+ seats in the next 12 months.”

Abhay Pandey, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital – India said: “Awfis has generated tremendous momentum with its unique supply acquisition models. It is re-creating the workspace landscape for the benefit of both tenants and landlords. Sequoia strongly believes in the opportunity created by Amit and the team, and will continue to back Awfis to retain its leadership position in the Indian shared workspace market.

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Malls and hotels open up to co-working spaces

09 July 2018

Malls and hotels open up to co-working spaces

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working players are taking up under-utilised spaces in malls, educational institutions and hotels to expand presence as start-ups and big corporates alike warm up to idea of shared facilities over owned premises.

Co-working biggies such as International Workplace Group (IWG), Awfis and The Hive are taking the collaborative workspace model to newer spaces for meeting the demand, set to triple in three years.

Win-win situation

“One of our key focus areas has been to work on a shared-economy approach to the business. Putting assets lying under-utilised to good use creates a win-win situation for asset owners, co-working players as well as end users,” Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis, told BusinessLine.

Afwis has set up a 200-seat co-working facility in Taj Deccan at Hyderabad and a 300-seat workspace in Bengaluru’s Dayanand Sagar Institute as also in malls at Pune, Mumbai and Gurugram. “Out of our 25,000 seats, 10 per cent are in alternative assets like these,” Ramani added.

Mall owners benefit

In malls, businesses do well up to the third floor beyond which the footfalls reduce. “We saw here an opportunity to use those assets and bring them to the mainstream. It creates higher revenue realisation for owners,” he said.

That’s precisely why IWG, the world’s largest serviced offices provider with brands Regus and Spaces in India, is watching malls and hotels closely.

It already has facilities in Delhi’s Vasant Square Mall, Bengaluru’s luxury UB City and Chennai’s City Centre besides others.

Harsh Lambah, Country Manager at Regus, said, “We are in discussion with many mall operators and hotels to create an opportunity for setting up co-working business. There is a collaborative opportunity with malls located in good micro-markets as it allows for easy access, availability of F&B and good parking.”

“Where there is a commercial tower with a hotel, it is part of our strategy to take up space there. For us, location is the key factor,” he added.

Revenue-share model

Most co-working spaces operate on the leased or shared revenue model with landowners, be it malls or hotels.

“It reduces our risk. We bring value driven customer demand, their asset is utilised and customers get good facilities. So it helps everybody,” Ramani said.

The Hive, another co-working services provider, is also present in VR Bengaluru, one of the biggest shopping malls in the city and also has a 50,000 sq ft of collaborative space integrated into VR Chennai mall.

The bullishness of these players stems from the increasing demand from freelancers, entrepreneurs as well as big corporates that also brings big bucks.

According to realty consultants Knight Frank, co-working companies took up 2 million sq ft of commercial office space in the first quarter of this year alone, which is more than the 1.8 million sq ft they took up in 2017.

“Approximately 50 per cent of the client roster of an Indian co-working operator is made up of big corporates. This can rise to as high as 80 per cent in the more premium priced offerings,” Knight Frank said in a report last month.


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