Coworking: This startup makes shared workspaces more affordable for SMEs; launches new offer

16 September 2019

Coworking: This startup makes shared workspaces more affordable for SMEs; launches new offer

  • The Financial Express
Coworking spaces in India will be hosting 13.5 million users by 2020 as the demand for flexible offices – including coworking spaces and serviced offices – is growing faster in the Asia Pacific than anywhere else in the world.

 Coworking space provider Awfis in order to boost its enterprise and SME customer base will offer a 15 per cent discount on work desks (cabins, flexible & fixed seats), 20 per cent discount on meeting rooms and another 15 per cent discount on Awfis Mobility Solution products such as Awfis roaming, National Pass, Virtual office spaces, Bulk Meeting Room Hours etc., for Mastercard business cardholders. The offer would be applicable across the company’s 63 centres in 9 cities.“Coupled with Mastercard’s long-standing experience in electronic payments globally, the association targets to offer tailor-made solutions to drive thriving business opportunities, the company announced in a statement. The partnership with Mastercard allows Awfis “to reach out to the widespread user base through their extended network, which will, in turn, benefit from this collaboration with enhanced opportunities on offer,” said Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis.

The development gains significance given the increased focus of the government on helping the MSME sector grow with respect to technology adoption, solving for delayed payments issue along with providing mentoring and handholding in scaling online. “MSMEs are a vital force for propelling India’s journey from cash to digital, and Mastercard’s commercial card business caters to this growing segment,” said Aman Ahuja, Vice President, Market Product Management, South Asia, Mastercard.

Coworking spaces in India will be hosting 13.5 million users by 2020 according to 2018 estimates by real estate services company JLL as the demand for flexible offices – including co-working spaces and serviced offices – is growing faster in the Asia Pacific than anywhere else in the world. “In India, the growth of flexible office space is expected to grow at 40 – 50% in 2018,” according to a JLL report. Around half of 13.5 million users will be from enterprises and would likely acquire 10.3 million seats. Freelancers and SMEs would have 1.5 million users worth of demand even as startups are likely to have a demand of nearly 100,000 seats by 2020.

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Awfis Fortifies its Partnership with Mastercard

Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal

24 February 2021

Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

With Covid-19 being the center of all our conversations with stakeholders in 2020, marketing has emerged as the nerve center of a brand’s pandemic response, across sectors. With a need for flexibility and strong internal relationships to navigate changing circumstances, it is imperative for organisations to realise crucial role that marketers play in connecting various parts of any business. From consumer insights and brand positioning, to building engagement and transparent communications, marketing teams, globally have delivered heightened value amidst the pandemic.


Adopting new-age channels of communication

In 2020 brands across sectors invested heavily in online marketing activations as compared to prior years, where marketers seemed to prefer a resource split between traditional and online methods of marketing. Even within digital marketing, content marketing was utilised as a key avenue to engage potential consumers beyond the product and maintain high brand recall. As we make our way into 2021, the marketing media mix will become more skewed towards digital media. While the overall marketing spends for real estate have reduced significantly, there is a shift from high investment channels like print, electronic and OOH to digital for its cost-effectiveness. Conventional marketing will continue to see decreased spend even post Covid but digital will see a considerable increase in spends by 50-60% in the future as brands will learn to look at it as the best marketing tool promising ROI evaluation. Most companies who haven’t experienced the power of digital media yet will use this time to lay the groundwork to engage with customers digitally be it through mapping the customer e-journey, creating 360 views or enabling online payments to attract more customers in the absence of site visits.

In 2021, a prominent trend will be the utilisation of machine learning to filter audiences for targeted campaign outreach. Implementation of machine learning in campaigns will help brands to improve both targeting and messaging by marketing to micro-segments with very well identified needs or interests.

Transparency and continued engagement amidst unprecedented times

This year, information sharing emerged as a key trend within campaigns with the growing universal inclination of customers towards sanitization, hygiene and social distancing. Marketers who were able to remain transparent of their policies and processes whilst keeping the end consumers informed about how their brand will ensure maximal safety amidst these times, emerged ahead of the curve. Brands need to be more cautious than ever in their communication with customers, emanating empathy and transparency in just the right amount. Marketing as the custodian of the brand has taken a centre stage in all kinds of communication going out to customers, partners and stakeholders across multiple channels ensuring consistency in the brand voice. The marketing team has become the first responders, whether it is crafting new ways of communication or being part of a Central Response Team to provide consistent messaging to customers. It can be the anchor, the voice of stability in such uncertain times.

In line with the above several brands adopted influencer marketing and advocacy as a key medium of customer outreach to maintain authenticity whilst also building brand equity.

Marketing will become the primary channel for demand generation

With limited budgets, zero business travel and social distancing norms in play, this is the time for marketing to hustle and step up to become the primary demand generation engine for the organisation. Sales will depend on marketing to enhance their reach and bring prospective customers closer to the table. In line with this in 2021, brands will curate 360-degree campaigns that extend beyond traditional advertising mediums and reflect across teams such as customer service and human resources, which deal with the two most integral stakeholders of any brand.

Embracing Agility

The year 2020 was privy to unprecedented times that disrupted all existing business plans, causing businesses across verticals to realign themselves to fit into the new normal. In line with this the year 2021 too, will be the year of constant re-invention. Brands who manage to stay ahead of the curve by adopting emerging trends and catering to the ever-evolving customer will emerge as successful.

This story appeared in the 5 January , 2021 issue of Financial Express and is authored by Sumit Lakhani, CMO, Awfis. This article was originally published at :  Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal – The Financial Express

Shared workspaces: 5 factors driving growth of flexible workspaces in India

30 April 2018

Shared workspaces: 5 factors driving growth of flexible workspaces in India

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Shared workspaces are rapidly becoming a norm in India; a trend that has successfully altered workspaces globally.

Shared workspaces are rapidly becoming a norm in India; a trend that has successfully altered workspaces globally. Infrastructure & networking opportunities, work-place flexibility and convenience, ever-increasing commercial real estate prices and increased acceptance of unconventional office settings are some of the many factors that are driving this demand.

With the fast adaptation of ‘shared workplace’ culture, even large enterprises are gravitating towards such spaces to consolidate their business. As per industry predictions, 2018 will see the shared workspace sector receiving investments worth USD 400 million. A report published by CBRE group highlights that shared workspace segment in India is expected to touch 10 million sq. ft. by 2020. Moreover, by 2020, the shared workspace industry is anticipated to overtake traditional format offices.

Here’s a look at some of the considerable factors that would be driving the demand and absorption of shared workspaces in India:

1. A win for real estate players

Contrary to conventional office buildings, shared workspaces are relatively utilised by a large number of tenants without any security deposit or lock in period and for a flexible time period. Shared workplace operators can expand in emerging and peripheral locations through a revenue sharing model that fits well for developers with high vacancy in non-performing buildings or micro markets. Turning the underutilized real estate space into an opportunity, these spaces yield higher earnings as a result of the income generated from the large occupants like big corporates etc. The decision to collaborate with such workspace providers heavily depends on the location, attractiveness, functionality and quality of amenities that the workspace is providing.

2. Flexible Workspace and aesthetically appealing activity based settings

Flexible workspaces provide one the agility to work anywhere within the workplace and do not require a dedicated desk of their own with multiple settings adapting to various workstyles. Flexible desks are community focused enabling greater interaction among fellow members yield greater productivity through agile working. Large corporates prefer flexible desks for their extended sales and branch locations with 15-20 member teams which provides a lower capital and operating investment, higher collaboration among teams and better access to potential customers. From flexible workstations, new age cabins, activity based setting including comfortable couches and beanbags, shared workspaces are building an endearing experience for community members with added amenities, collaborative culture and curated events. Shared workspaces today have replaced the dreary aesthetics of conventional offices to become a hotbed of creativity and productivity characterised by compelling design elements.

3. Co-work to network

Networking is an inherent part of shared working. More than providing just a space, one can meet like-minded people with whom they can co-create and develop their company’s next big idea. With developments in technology, mobile working and flexible operations, shared workspaces are an ideal solution for executing productive meetings. Companies are designing theme spaces and break out zones where teams can collaborate for innovative ideas to originate. Activity based settings provide a combination of areas for employees to take a break from work as well as exchange ideas with other co-workers. A well designed workplace plays a key part in inspiring its users to engage, collaborate and ultimately be productive. The complexity of urban centres like Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai with its traffic challenges and large disconnected central business district and residential zones provides a unique opportunity for shared workspaces to be used as an attraction and retention tool to get talent from a diverse base of demographics catchment areas. The 2020 real estate strategy for any scale business will draw lessons from shared workspaces to create spaces that are motivating, accessible, and deliver a customised solution that inspires the workforce to come to work.

4. Value for money

In India’s top metropolitan cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, shared workspaces can lead to approximately 20-25% cost savings as opposed to conventional office spaces. To cater to emerging businesses, start-ups and freelance professionals, shared workplace operators primarily try to address the on-demand needs of occupiers. Community members benefit from high quality technology infrastructure, strategic location, prime office solutions and amenities by choosing to work out of a shared space. The challenges are varied across various metro cities in India. In Mumbai the deposits are higher than other cities leading to higher upfront cost of leasing. Commuting remains the biggest challenge in Bengaluru. In Hyderabad, the supply of an office space cannot match up to the demand and in Delhi the tenant demand of high quality office spaces is growing stronger by the day. The ability of shared workspaces to achieve higher density, shared amenities & services with flexibility on tenure and number of seats eases the challenge of cost of ownership with extremely low entry point of flexi desk costing as low as Rs. 400-500 per day; adding up as a huge cost savings for occupiers.

5. New Kids on the blocks – Millennials

India is the youngest start-up nation in the world where 72% of founders are less than 35 years of age. Millennials matter because they account for over half of the population in India and by 2020, they will form 50% of the global workforce. Shared workspaces are where they prefer to work because it maximises their productivity with right exposure, network and community engagement without any organizational boundaries. Adoption of shared workspaces will be on the rise where top talents will breed on the coolest quotient of their office space.

The journey of shared workspaces has just begun across India’s business districts, office rentals are significantly rising leading all companies to rethink their real estate strategy. The ability of new age workspace operators to rethink, innovate and disrupt the traditional models of real estate to create solutions that will make workspaces flexible, accessible and affordable will lead to a surge in size, scale and reach of shared workspaces.

(By Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis Space Solutions)

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Awfis: Working on the move

20 February 2017

Awfis: Working on the move

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial



Express Drives: How was the concept of Awfis conceived?

Awfis: We started in July 2015 and the concept was initially to solve what has been the perennial problem in India, which is the ability to find a use of real estate on-the-go where shared space models have become prevalent in taxis, hotels etc. this was an area which lagged in any kind of new innovation. The idea was the ability for people to book a space on -the- move, in a just-in-time basis anywhere, anytime and in any quantity they wanted. We first built the technology platform about 16 months ago and listed ourselves as we call it as ‘low working centres’ which today we have 18 centres in different locations like Pune, Mumbai, , Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi and have close to 4,000 seats which are projected to go up to 8,000 seats by March 2017. We provide the convenience, complete transparency in terms of price, complete flexibility wherein a user can book a space from one hour to 11 months or more. There is no security deposit or long term commitment. In addition to the seats, users can also benefit from the different alliances we have where there is a reward programme for example a discount coupon at a Hard Rock Cafe. Next is the locations we have. There is no restriction of an employee of a client wherein he/she can operate through just one centre. Such flexibility with regards to alliances with different outlets benefits not just the founder but everyone.

To give you a perspective, our largest competitor, Regus took about 15 years to come to 9,000 seats and we will get there in less than 15 months from now. By March 2018, we plan to get close to 30,000 seats. Another difference is that we have been able to convert not just the startup community, but SMEs or Small to Medium Enterprises as well, which is the backbone of the business today and some large corporates like FICCI, BNP Paribas, Snapdeal along with others.

Express Drives: Is it restricted to a minimum cap of employees who need to be in an organisation?

Awfis: Whether you want to occupy one seat or 100 seats, the choice is yours as our model offers that flexibility. Because our growth trajectory is fast, we are able to accommodate our clients in one centre or the other. For example, a client came to us and asked for 100 seats the same day. We did not, at that moment, have the requisite number of seats in that location and we asked if another location could work till the time we accommodate. It worked in their favour. In fact, another client had 200 seats in Gurgaon who is now looking at other cities.

So, the ability to expand on the go is only available with a firm such as ours because firstly, we don’t ask for any upfront fees and secondly, because of our growth trajectory and our path, as a client, you will always have enough seats available. In some cases, we have spoken to a large insurance company where they have setup 50 core locations with us. So they will take 50 fixed seats and the remaining, say, 150 seats can be given to other clients. Then 50 locations get setup that way. So, in a crux, changing the paradigm of real estate is what we are doing. Because the consumption of real estate today there are 130 million people working nationwide and considering they would require 100 sq ft of space, you need 1.3 billion sq ft of space. There is a complete mismatch here. Even at 500 million, there is 20 percent vacancy. So, the paradigm is shifting, but the real estate companies are not realising this because it is a large commitment that they do. For them to change on-the-fly is very difficult, but with a model like ours, the paradigm for a client can shift. If I am an SME and I have to accommodate 10 people, I will look for 10 seats. No one would say they need 1000 sq ft. So, that is the paradigm shift is happening.

Express Drives: Coming to the Awfis vehicle, lets take an example of an employee who is travelling from Mumbai to Delhi and then is headed for Jaipur for official work. Can he speak with you and take your 8-seater on-the-go mobile office

Awfis: The vehicle has a national permit and this can be done in the said example. It is as simple as you book a Toyota Innova or any other vehicle from a fleet owner. For four hours the charges are Rs 4,000, for eight hours is Rs 7,500 and so on. All one needs to do is go on to our mobile application, register and book the vehicle. The minimum we book it if for four hours. The most effective use we are currently witnessing people using the vehicle for their meetings as well as their city runabout. In fact, one incidence was a High Court arbitration wherein all members were picked up from different locations who went to the Judge’s house and the arbitration was done in the vehicle. The vehicle is a 26 feet Force Traveller that can seat eight people and has amenities like a washroom, conference area, wireless connectivity etc. all that would be present in an workspace. We are in the process of modifying a Toyota Innova which would be a four seater conferencing space with similar amenities. We are also looking at a Volvo bus which would cater to more people on the move.

Ride Experience: The Force Traveller is a vehicle that can be modified easily to suit a person’s need. Some people who purchase a Force Traveller, do it from the purpose of internal modifications that offers more space and amenities. The vehicle can seat eight people comfortably and amenities including a washroom are a printer, a wireless high speed connection, a television and arrangement of tea or coffee. This vehicle is apt for people who are on the move and want to be productive during their commute rather than spending unnecessary energy on travelling to their work. The concept of Awfis nullifies the situation of an employee to work less effectively and in the process give better results to their employer.

(This Awfis coverage appeared on Express Drives – Auto portal of The Financial Express on February 20 2017 under the headline ” Awfis: Working on the move.” You can access the full story here: