Not just start-ups, Internet firms to go for co-working spaces

23 January 2017

Not just start-ups, Internet firms to go for co-working spaces

  • The Financial Express

It isn’t just start-ups that prefer co-working spaces. Big firms, too, are attracted by the value-added services these places offer

E-commerce firm Snapdeal shut down its Malad office in Mumbai last year in October, to move to a new office in Andheri West. However, the only difference was instead of moving into a space owned by the firm, the team moved into a co-working space run by Awfis. Currently, about 90 Snapdeal employees work in Awfis’ office.

If earlier the role of a co-working space was well-defined, so was its clientele that largely comprised start-ups which, after taking their first step in the world of technology, wanted a rather cheaper roof over their heads. Not any longer. In fact, even companies in the business of providing co-working space have realised how large firms too are eying a spot in their offices.

Innov8, which will be opening a new co-working space in Bengaluru soon, claims to have created the space keeping in mind the demand of large firms. “There will be many private offices in the upcoming space in Bengaluru to meet the needs of bigger companies,” said

Russell Longjam, head of marketing, Innov8 Co-working. At Awfis, Snapdeal isn’t the only big internet firm to shift its team to a co-working space. Online classifieds firm OLX also has a 10-member team operating from Awfis Bengaluru. Meanwhile, a traditional firm such as BNP Paribas—a financial services company—too, has joined the co-working space revolution.

“Compared to setting up one’s own office, which would require a company to invest in rental, and other basic office infrastructure, booking a couple of chairs in a co-working space requires less investment. Hence, now large firms such as Snapdeal and OLX amongst others have started using the shared space,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

Headquartered in Delhi, Awfis Space Solutions currently has 14 offices with 3500 seats. The co-working space provider has rolled out many packages for companies depending on their needs. For example, the rent of a cabin for a month with four to six seats is R9000-14000 a month. It also sells fixed seats (specific seats with alloted desktops) at R8000-10,000 a month, while flexi seats are being leased out for R4500-6500, a month.

“We plan to increase the number of seats to 7000 by March 2017 and 25,000 seats by 2018,” added Ramani.
Similarly, OneInternet is another firm which provides co-working space in locations such as Connaught Place in Delhi, besides Gurgaon where it has a 7000 sq feet office area and Bengaluru where it runs an office space of 25,000 sq feet. In a prime location such as Connaught Place, the company charges a rental of R7500 for a cabin with two seats. It also runs several packages for short duration, apart from selling individual seats.

“For instance, at a price of R8999, excluding taxes, a person can book one seat for 18 days,” said Himanshu Bindal, founder, OneInternet. While 80% of companies using OneInternet are start-ups, the rest are small and medium enterprises.

According to Bindal, OneInternet offices have 95% occupancy during the day and 75% at night. Day rentals come for a lower price. For Venture Catalyst, which operates a co-working space in Mumbai, these spaces also work as a centre for cross pollination. “On one hand you have start-ups setting up their operations, on the other there are companies which provide human resource services and accounting services to the same set of start-ups setting up operations,” said Apoorv Ranjan Sharma,co-founder and president, Venture Catalysts.

However, with too many players in the game now, co-working spaces have evolved beyond providing just a space and basic office amenities to offer value-added services.

“We have tied up with Amazon Web Services. The tie-up allows us to provide free credit to start-ups, further allowing them to use the cloud service. Additionally, we have facilities such as personal gym, break out spaces, etc,” said Bindal.

Meanwhile, Awfis claims to have cut deals with restaurants such as Haldirams and online food apps such as Fassos, apart from holding different food festivals. “These tie-ups allow the employees to avail discounts at various restaurants,” explained Ramani of Awfis.

Even as more players continue to emerge in the business of co-working, for Ramani and his contemporaries who started early in the business, the real game is about scaling up operations.

Agrees, companies like The Workforce Consulting Group, a human resource consultancy. “Instead of keeping the entire team under one roof, working out of a co-working space allows us to split the team so that they can be near key clients, which increases efficiency. Also, using a co-working space brings down the cost of operations by 50%, which is an added advantage,” said Ruchi Vijay, co-founder, The Workforce Consulting Group. Vijay’s team is based in Awfis’ office in Delhi.

(This Awfis coverage appeared in The Financial Express on January 23, 2017 under the title ‘ Not just start-ups, Internet firms to go for co-working spaces.’ You can read the full story at: )

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

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

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial
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

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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