How Awfis, other co-working startups are changing commercial realty sector/ Working Together, Affordably

27 August 2018

How Awfis, other co-working startups are changing commercial realty sector/ Working Together, Affordably

  • Business Standard

With shared offices in vogue, Awfis plans to add more than 100 centres in 12 months areas

Like many of his classmates in IIT-Kharagpur, Sanil Gupta had a dream of starting something of his own. After working in various companies for around four years, when he set out to realise his dream in 2016, he faced a problem that he had not planned for.

“People give examples of Apple and Amazon and say the starting place doesn’t matter, but for me working from home was not an option,” said Gupta, who now works with a three-member team from the Pro-working Centre of Awfis at Golf Course in Gurugram. For Gupta and many other entrepreneurs, the growth of companies providing co-working space like Awfis has helped them realise their dreams as renting a commercial space at a key location in top cities in India usually did not fit in their budget. Also, the co-working space format has brought a healthy work culture while opening doors for collaboration.

Founded by Amit Ramani in 2015, Awfis, recently raised $20 million in Series C funding from investors Sequoia India, InnoVen Capital and The Three Sisters: Institutional Office. The company says the investment will be used to expand its centres, launch new products and enhance existing technology platforms. In the past three years, the company claims to have leased 55 centres with over 25,000 seats in nine cities.

According to Ashish Sharma, CEO of InnoVen Capital, Awfis has built a competitive advantage over others through a differential supply side acquisition model.


Given several advantages of a shared workplace over a traditional office, the sector will likely witness robust growth in the coming years.

The shared-office industry, which started with start-ups as its primary focus, is witnessing a positive change with many large companies and SMEs eyeing co-working spaces to set up their work centres.

A recent study by real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that 13 million people in India will be working out from shared offices by 2020, and the industry will attract investments of up to $400 million by the end of this year.

Property consultant CBRE also sees a bright future for the sector in India. In a report released in 2017, the firm had stated that the co-working office space segment in India is expected spread over 10 million sq ft by 2020, with 2017 alone witnessing an absorption of nearly 1.5 million sq ft.

Revenue model
Awfis says it is making some profit for the past six months. It expects to achieve company-level profitability in September.

Apart from rentals that form the major chunk of revenue, the start-up generates a significant amount through a range of mobility products.

Generating revenues in the co-working industry, according to Awfis, is easier when compared to other industries. “Unlike other businesses with the higher cost of acquisition where the revenue starts flowing in from the 2nd or 3rd year, an Awfis product is such that we start making money within 3 weeks of customer occupying the space,” said Ramani.

The company refused to divulge the revenue figures but said its revenue grew four times between April 2017 and April 2018.

Road ahead

Seeing a huge potential in the sector, Awfis has set ambitious targets for the next year.

The company aims to add more than 100 centres with over 40,000 seats in the next 12 months while foraying into cities like Chennai, Kochi, Indore and Ahmedabad.

However, with the rising competition and fall in the number of new start-ups, any co-working start-up will find it tough to fill all its seats.

At present, more than 200 co-working start-ups are operational in India. The space is currently dominated by the likes of WeWork, CoWrks, Awfis, 91springboard and Innov8.

While Awfis claims to be the largest with total space of 1.5 million sq. ft., WeWork and CoWrks are among the fastest growing with properties of around 700,000 sq. ft.

“The current demand is a third of the total space they have taken up. They will struggle to fill the remaining space. Occupation will gather pace in the next three to five years,” Amit Goenka, chief executive and managing director at Nisus Financial Services, had told Business Standard about WeWork and CoWorks.

Expert take

Office landscape is transforming

Ramesh Nair Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India : The shared workspace segment has grown exponentially in the past three years. Co-working spaces have already taken up close to 2 million sq. ft. of office space, surpassing the cumulative total absorption from 2017 in the first half of this year. The trend will continue for the rest of the year.

Co-working space providers are conscious of the requirements of the new-work generation — futuristic spaces and homogeneous environment that facilitates networking and enhances work productivity.

Awfis has been among the front-runners in bringing this new phase of change. We are confident that co-working spaces will transform the workspace landscape in India.

Fact Box
Founded: 2015
Funding: June 2018 (Series C): Received $20 million from investors Sequoia Capital, TTS:IO and InnoVen Capital
April 2017 (Series B): The start-up raised $20 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital

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Print Edition : Business Standard; Dated 27th August 2018

Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani live on Zee Business discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on Zee Business

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

25 August 2021

Amit Ramani Live on DD News discussion panel on Startup India movement

  • Posted by awfis

Amit Ramani (Founder & CEO- Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd) on Live Panel Discussion on Startup India on 16th Jan, 2016 on DD News

Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

25 August 2021

Awfis tapping into mobile workspace need

  • Posted by awfis

It finds a spreading market here among entrepreneurs and start-ups, prompting rapid expansion plans.

With the proliferation of solo entrepreneurs and start-ups in the country, it was a matter of time before office space became another opportunity to launch a start-up, catering to the mobile workplace needs of these professionals.

There are others in this place but the Amit Ramani-led Awfis Solutions intends to be a clutter-breaker, with a managed aggregation strategy. Instead of focusing on the peer-to-peer model, the company intends to create a niche through this strategy in the form of ‘pro working’ spaces.

The company, with initial funding of $10 million (Rs 67 crore), currently has a network of 1,500 seats in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. It aims to take this to 10,000 seats across 10 cities. Ramani and Radha Kapoor are the key investors in the venture; the proportion of investment by either is not disclosed.

Managed aggregation, Ramani explains, is a practice where Awfis manages the properties in its network integrating services and technology back-end. In other words, while on the one hand the platform serves as an aggregator of office spaces, it also provides technology back-up and manages these spaces, taking responsibility for the end-user’s experience.

“The way we are different from our peers is that we take ownership of the user experience. Unlike rent a cab services, where a part of the operation is beyond the portal’s control, we have our staff at the properties to ensure the experience is good. This addition to the sheer scale we have achieved since we started in September 2015 and plan to achieve this calendar set us apart from the existing players,” says Ramani, founder and chief executive officer. Awfis has partnered with real estate developers which have unutilised space and hotels with meeting rooms to let out. With the former, the partnership is either on a rental basis or revenue share. In the case of hotels (Awfis has already struck deals with the Trident, Hyatt and Lemon Tree groups), it is a revenue share model. The booking back-end of the hotels has been integrated into the Awfis mobile app, which allows users to be updated on availability and booking, real time. In the case of real estate partners, Awfis invests in the infrastructure and ambience.

It says it has created proprietary Grade-A, highly energetic and inspirational community work spaces (1,500+ desks, across seven Centres, operational across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru) and is working to ramp this up to 3,500+ desks across 15 ‘work innovation centres’ in these cities by March.

Each centre provides technology-enabled physical infrastructure — video projection, NFC cards, CCTV, high-speed internet, laser printing. Members get the benefits of using custom-sized multi-location workspaces on a flexible lease tenor, from an hour to up to a year (or more), depending on work requirements.

Additionally, Awfis has partnerships that provide its community members access to leading service providers in accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, health care and insurance.

Ramani says their experience shows that in the metros, properties break even at the operational level once they hit the 40 per cent occupancy mark over four to six months. It varies from city to city, given the difference in property rental rates.

“Additionally, our capex is not exorbitant because we have used synergies from our family companies like Nelson Asia, which provides architectural design and consulting services. We also have more properties seeing good occupancy. Of the $10 million initial investment, we have used around $3 mn so far and the rest will be used to scale up to 10,000 seats by the end of this calendar. For the next phase of expansion, we aim to raise $40-50 mn, for which we will go to the market by September this year,” adds Ramani.

At 10,000 seats, Awfis will then be the largest managed aggregator of office space in the country, he reckons.

Office spaces under this venture are available on a membership basis, as well as an on-off basis. The prices range from Rs 350 a day to Rs 11,000 a month for work stations; meeting rooms are available for anywhere between Rs 500 an hour to Rs 3,500 a day. Where the partner is a hotel, the latter’s rate applies.