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

Create healthy work environment with creative workspace

18 February 2019

Create healthy work environment with creative workspace

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

A healthy work environment through a blend of active urban setting as well as a stress-free ecosystem with sustainable measures can go a long way in improving employees’ productivity, say experts of workspace design.
Praveen Rawal, Managing Director of Steelcase, Southeast Asia and India, Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO, Lodha Group and Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, share a list of tips:

* Creativity enhanced by technology: We’ve reached an era of peak screen time. Right now, screen time limits our impact with the physical environment, but that’s changing. Help is coming from our workplace and technology. Our spaces will become less about passively consuming what’s on our screens and more about how we interact with technology and tools.Incorporate technology to design and create an environment which will enable colleagues to work freely in-turn enhancing productivity.

* Design by data: Data has entered the work environment, adding significant value to the conversation between designers and customers. Does everyone need their own workstation or private office? Or would more private enclaves and collaboration spaces better serve the team? Sensors in the workplace can help organisations learn how often people are at their desks and what kinds of spaces will best support their people.

* The digital effect: Combining aesthetics with algorithms, multiple traditional offices and co-working spaces are infusing technology and digital tools to facilitate a conducive environment, ease in day-to-day functioning for businesses and employees as well. From smart access, smart spaces to smart meeting rooms, making use of a dedicated one app solution for a range of tasks such as QR-based visitor management, booking a conference room etc. to enabling parking allotments based on an organised number plate system through smart cameras, further aid in streamlining experiences in office spaces.

* Celebrate communities: Designers are explorers searching for inspiration in buildings being renovated into more creative workplaces. By connecting new work culture in a meaningful way to the collective identity of the location, community and brand, designers are creating authenticity in the workplace in the world. Additionally, to foster innovation and community building, office spaces are enabling collaboration through multi-use grand lobbies with activity-based settings to encourage networking, informal meeting zones etc. Such amenities also culminate in creating authenticity in the workplace and boost productivity as well.

* Biophilia 2.0: The innate desire to connect and bond with nature is experiencing a resurgence because of the balance we need from our digital world and the benefit nature’s restorative qualities provide our wellbeing. Synergising elements like embedded greens, infusing revitalising exterior elements, complying with sustainable standards and ensuring use of material and colours that offer calm and comfort, are majorly attracting the millennial workforce.

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Awfis to triple number of co-working seats to 12,000 in Pune

06 November 2018

Awfis to triple number of co-working seats to 12,000 in Pune

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Co-working operator Awfis plans to expand aggressively in Pune by tripling its number of centres to 21 over the next one year driven by huge demand for shared office space in the city from startups and corporates, a top company official said.
Awfis, which was founded in April 2015, entered Pune market 18 months back and has established seven centres with a seating capacity of over 4000. Now, it has chalked out a plan to add 8,000 seats more by opening 14 new centres over next one year.

Overall, the company has 55 centres, comprising 25,000 seats, across nine cities. A seat costs anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 in its centres.

It posted a revenue of Rs 57 crore last fiscal and the same is expected to reach Rs 170 crore this financial year.
“Pune has proved to be an ideal eco-system of startup entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporates, where Awfis is determined to continue its growth trajectory and provide best in class shared workspaces to facilitate businesses. We aim to open 14 new centres over the next one year, taking the total capacity to 21 centres and 12,000 seats in this city,” Awfis founder & CEO Amit Ramani told PTI.
“We have recently tied up for one centre in Pune with over 600 seating capacity,” he said, adding that the company would soon lease space for other centres.

Awfis has opened its workspaces across all key business centres in the city and is catering to clients such as Vodafone, Hinduja Group and Michelin Tyres.

The company aims to create a strong ecosystem for corporates, SMEs and startups to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the region.

Sumit Lakhani, Chief Marketing Officer, Awfis, said “Pune is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing cities in India and is seeing a lot of demand for superior workspaces by MNCs, SMEs and startups.”

Awfis currently has centres in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh. In wants to expand operations in Tier II markets to achieve its target to establish over 200 centres with 1,00,000 plus seats by 2020.
The company had in July raised USD 20 million (about Rs 137.57 crore) from a few investors, including Sequoia India, for expanding its operations and could raise more if required. Since inception, the company has raised USD 51 million.

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Awfis to expand co-working space four-fold by 2020; to be profitable in FY19

28 September 2018

Awfis to expand co-working space four-fold by 2020; to be profitable in FY19

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

With rising demand of shared office space, co-working operator Awfis has chalked an aggressive plan to expand its business by four times to 200 centres comprising one lakh seats over the next three years.

The company had in July raised USD 20 million (about Rs 137.57 crore) from a few investors, including Sequoia India, for expanding its operations and could raise more if required, its founder and CEO Amit Ramani said.

Awfis, which was founded in April 2015, will become profitable at entity level from next month, while centres are already making money, he added.
“We currently have 55 centres in 9 cities, comprising about 25,000 seats with a member base of over 15,000,” he told PTI.

Its centres are in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh.
The target is to reach 100 centres and 42,000 seats in the next 10-12 months, Ramani said. “By 2020, we are targeting to reach 1,00,000 seats in about 200 centres,” he added.
Asked about the revenue, Ramani said the company achieved a topline of Rs 57 crore last fiscal and the same is expected to reach Rs 170 crore by end of this fiscal.

On further funding, he said the company has recently raised USD 20 million in series C funding from marquee investors Sequoia India and Innoven Capital as well as TTS:IO. Since inception, the company has raised USD 51 million.

“We have been successful in attracting institutional investors’ money,” Ramani said.
Besides cities where Awfis has presence, he said the company plans to enter tier II cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Indore.

“Our priority is to deepen the penetration in existing markets and enter new cities with focus on tier II locations. By 2020, we will have more than 50 centres each in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR,” he added.
With the growing demand for co-working spaces, Ramani said there is a focus on transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing affordable work spaces for entrepreneurs.

Awfis provides co-working space in a price range of Rs 5,000-15,000 per seat.
Ramani said the company has developed a tailor-made mobile application that enables users to find, review, book work spaces in its centres on real time basis.

“We are now focusing on mobility solutions, like national pass, virtual office, Awfis roaming and bulk meeting room hours, that have been designed with the aim to enable professionals to work seamlessly from anywhere,” he added.

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