Will 2017 be the year of the co-working space?

17 January 2017

Will 2017 be the year of the co-working space?

  • Your Story

Co working spaces have now become the growth hub of the startup ecosystem, but the concept had its humble beginnings, a little over a decade ago. The idea then was simply to utilise basic infrastructure and resources that working from home could not provide.

But as the number of entrepreneurs grew, so did a hunger to collaborate, and to generate and exchange ideas. Soon it became clear that these spaces had tremendous potential to provide a network much needed for the growth of businesses.

Today, most co-working spaces are a cornucopia of services and benefits. Technological support, fundraising and networking opportunities, mentorship, basic amenities such a stocked pantry, cultural and de-stressing activities, a friendly non-competitive atmosphere, and a sense of community, make up some of the common benefits provided by all – this is of course, excluding the wide range of offers on renting desks. All co-working spaces, however, have one common offering – a hassle-free environment for the optimum growth of a business, which makes these spaces a hive for the busy bee entrepreneurs to co-work in.

Here are some notable co-working spaces present across the country with their unique selling points and their contributions to a flourishing startup ecosystem:

Awfis

With 14 operational centres in NCR, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, Awfis houses a diverse community of members ranging from SME’s, large corporates, and solopreneurs across industries. They provide Uber-like real time bookings anywhere between one hour and 11 months prior to requirement, giving their users a flexibility of booking ‘just-in-time’ through their mobile app.

Awfis-2

What is Awfis’s USP?

We have tie ups in multiple cities for meeting rooms with hospitality players like Lemon Tree Hotels, Hyatt, Trident, Marine Plaza, Sarovar, Beatles, Red Fox etc. Our pilot project, called ‘Mobile Awfis’, in Gurugram, allows our members to book the van from the app and be productive even while on the road. Our eight-seater mobile van is fully equipped with work desks, meeting table, high speed Wi-Fi, teleconferencing, printing, CCTV, pantry, washroom, appropriate lighting, and ergonomic furniture for a comfortable and productive work environment.

A picture of your startup diversity

Awfis currently has members from sectors like e-commerce, Food tech, digital marketing, healthcare and wellness, Edtech, Fintech, travel, legal, and many more.

Do you have an incubation programme and screening process for the startups?

There are no set membership criteria, but we do focus on diversifying our community to provide more networking and collaboration opportunities to each of our members. We have a great mix of startups, SMEs, corporates, and freelancers from various industries working out of our centres.

Pricing

Daily: Starts at Rs 300/-

Monthly: Starts at Rs 4500/-

(This is an excerpt from the story ‘Will 2017 be the year of co-working space?’ published in Yourstory on January 17, 2017. You can read the full story at https://yourstory.com/2017/01/co-working-spaces/ )

How real estate expertise helped Amit Ramani build co-working startup Awfis

22 February 2021

How real estate expertise helped Amit Ramani build co-working startup Awfis

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

The idea of starting Awfis had been on Amit Ramani’s mind since his consulting days in the USA when he was working with Bank of America. On returning to India, he saw that SMEs and startups were constantly faced with the challenge of having decent infrastructure at cost efficient prices.

His goal was to start a business to provide new-age and technology-enabled workspaces that offer a superior alternative to owning conventional offices. Speaking about starting up a co-working space, Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, tells YourStory,

“We felt that commercial real estate operated in an archaic fashion with spaces being offered by developers and conventional business centers with long-term commitment and upfront deposits. This resulted in SMEs and startups having to settle for office spaces that are sub-standard and at inaccessible locations.”

Launched in 2015, Awfis has grown from 5,800 desks across 20 centers in 2017 to 35,000 seats across 70 centres now. Currently, Awfis has more than 28,000 community members and 1,500 partner companies spread across 10 cities in India.

Amit says the Indian commercial real estate market was fragmented and he saw an opportunity to partner with the landlords in a win-win situation that works well for the landlord, for Awfis, and also the end consumer.

He says, “With my experience in strategic planning, design management, facility planning, and workplace and business process improvement, coupled with some deep understanding of the Indian real estate ecosystem, I was convinced that with the right team, I could turn my idea into a successful business venture.”

Prior to starting Awfis, Amit was the COO of Nelson Global, a top global design firm, where he led the company across 37 locations and 600 people. With over 15 years of experience in areas of master planning, strategic planning and design, the thesis behind Awfis came off as a natural progression to him.

The solution was about providing ready-to-use, plug-and-play workspaces, which can be booked through a mobile app. The objective is to make it convenient to use an office or a work desk on ‘just-in-time’ basis without the complications of a fixed tenure or security deposit. The comprehensive solution claims to be providing everything that an office user will require, at extremely competitive costs.

Over a period, the CEO says, the startup has evolved with the market and has also started catering to the B2B side of the business by creating customised and fully-integrated independent workspaces for large corporates and MNCs.

Awfis has become profitable at entity level from November 2018, and is targeting to launch a public issue in 2022.

In August 2018, it raised $20 million in its Series C round from Sequoia India, The Three Sisters Institutional Office and Innoven Capital.

The Series D funding for Awfis came in August 2019. It raised $30 million from marquee investor ChrysCapital, while there was also participation from its existing investors Sequoia India and The Three Sisters Institutional Office.

This story appeared in the 22 March , 2020 issue of Realty NXT and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at https://yourstory.com/2020/03/the-turning-point-amit-ramani-awfis-profitable

How Generation Z is reshaping the coworking culture

20 February 2021

How Generation Z is reshaping the coworking culture

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

The Generation Z has grown up in a world of smart devices that gives them ubiquitous connectivity and access to information across the globe at a quick voice command. These digital natives display unique, transformative consumption habits that have started to influence brands around the world.

Gen Z has an appetite for purpose and convenience and prefers opting for products or services at their own time and space. On the same lines, workspaces are evolving to become like any other on-demand platform such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, where the people are deciding how, where, and when they want to consume a product. The product is now being defined by their consumption.

According to research done by Business Insider Intelligence, Generation Z is more proactive, money-conscious, and pragmatic while demanding a fun and social environment that creates a huge rift in the way millennials prefer to apply their skills and work. This has necessitated the need for coworking space providers to introduce changes, suiting the needs and requirements of the newer generation.

While the 3 ‘COs’ of coworking—collaboration, community, and convenience—appeals to millennials, the Generation Z values another CO—consciousness. As a socially and environmentally conscious community, Generation Z is keenly in tune with the unfolding crisis of climate change. They value spaces that are sustainable and appreciate initiatives such as waste separation bins and energy-efficient spaces.

The importance of wellbeing, flexibility, and choices

This generation is inclined to have a fun social space but not without the reinforcement of a positive culture, mental well-being, and flexibility for those who are working in these new spaces. There is a pertinent need to create a well-designed office space that supports communal growth and work ethics, which goes beyond a single category of population and is suitable for all the generations looking to make coworking their workspace of choice.

This story appeared in the 16 March , 2020 issue of YourStory and is authored by Sumit Lakhani, CMO, Awfis. This article was originally published at : https://yourstory.com/2020/03/generation-z-reshaping-coworking-culture

7 reasons why the coworking future looks bright

14 October 2019

7 reasons why the coworking future looks bright

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The past few years have witnessed an unparalleled success for the coworking juggernaut in India. This accelerated growth has stemmed from the revolutionary shift in the Indian traditional workspace to a more flexible, accessible and affordable coworking space. In the first quarter of 2018 itself, coworking had transacted about 2 million square feet commercial realty; way ahead of the 1.8 mn sq ft in 2017. The industry is expected to grow 3X by 2021, leading to massive opportunities for the coworking business in the country. Coworking has now established itself as a fundamental part of the CRE leasing activity and a full-fledged sector in its own right, giving tough competition to conventional office spaces. Additionally, fuelling this considerable progress is the rising entrepreneurial spirit, which is seeping into Tier II cities as well. Tier II markets are expected to grow to 8.5 mn seats by 2020. Thus, given the strong demand and impetus that it has been able to garner, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest that the best is yet to come for a segment which is still in the nascent stages of development. Also Read How coworking startup Bhive faced a near shutdown and scripted a turnaround Inherently collaborative and flexible by nature, coworking has observed many new trends and unique practices over the years. Fierce competition and ever-growing demand have led to several leading players putting on their brainstorming hats to ensure sustained market relevance and retain clients with value-added benefits. While the past few years have unearthed some strong trends, which have redefined the future of the segment, we expect the momentum to strongly continue in 2019 as well. Here are the top seven trends that we foresee will become the game-changes in the industry. Coworking players handholding developers in managing experiences The business relationship between a developer and a coworking space provider is now no longer confined to just leasing the commercial space. Not only are coworking spaces going beyond setting up workspaces and partnering with developers to enable them to get higher returns, they are also handholding developers by marketing and representing other floors in the building to clients on conventional lease. Coworking players are curating unique experiences and engagements for building tenants by providing state-of-the-art amenities like gyms, cafés, creches and managing the complete building ecosystem by bringing alliances, events and community focus to the occupants. Coworking players foraying into coliving Expansion and business diversity is the key to sustained growth for any company. While coworking space providers have successfully bridged the gap between supply and demand in India’s office spaces, this has now also extended to the residential real estate market wherein millennials are now getting used to the concept of coliving. This is a perfect arrangement to target millennials whilst solving the problem of traditional accommodation with all-inclusive amenities and community events. While this is still untested waters, we look forward to seeing more use cases in 2019 and evaluating its success. Deeper technology integration The traditional desk will likely be non-existent in the next three years, with wearable technology and AI gradually taking over coworking spaces and transforming them into autonomous workspaces. Smart access, smart meeting rooms and smart receptions have already forayed enabling cloud-based access system, facial recognition and real time security monitoring. Virtual assistants, AI powered ambience and temperature control and touch screen-based collaborations are improving user experience. The laptop and smartphone will become redundant as voice activated systems, wearable technology including wearable glasses, embedded chips, and wrist devices connected with Internet of Things (IoT) will take centre-stage and the connection of working professionals with fixed work desks will become a passé. Video technology and connectivity speed will ensure real presence without travel. Artificial intelligence will, in fact, even corroborate furniture shape, size and use as per user accumulated data. Rise of ‘work near home’ programmes The number of people preferring to live close to their workplaces or vice-versa is on the rise and “walk to work” is a trend that is quickly picking up in metro cities as it saves productive man hours instead of losing time to traffic congestion for hours while commuting to work. Owing to multiple locations, inter-city as well as intra-city, coworking spaces are the solution to reduce commute hour and provide both personal as well as business benefits. In order to provide more employee friendly policies, companies have been exploring the option of allowing employees to “work from home.” However, due to inherent challenges like a. Distractions at home b. Unavailability of right infrastructure (high speed internet, printer, desk space) c. Lack of social interactions/peer to peer engagements, there is a significant loss in productivity. This is prompting more and more companies to explore “work near home” – allowing employees to work remotely out of shared spaces while having access to effective office infrastructure. Adoption of flexible and mobile solutions The number of transactions for “just-in-time” usage of meeting rooms and mobility passes has increased three folds over the past two years, and for most players, it is growing at the rate of more than 12 percent per month. Businesses today are expanding to multiple geographies and servicing clients throughout the country. As a result, the workforce cannot always be expected, and required, to work out of a handful of central locations. The current workforce needs to be geographically dispersed as well as to be on-the-move as per the demands of the job. Millennials and Gen Z employees are seeking flexibility, mobility, collaboration and options that help them work real-time and untethered. Shared workspaces enable flexibility by providing solutions such as national pass, roaming and bulk meeting room hours to work out of any location, without any restriction and hassle of booking each time. Virtual offices benefit businesses based out of small towns, looking to setup a professional address or have a footprint in larger cities/ metros as their central business districts. Holistic enterprise solutions Shared workspace providers are foraying into creating and managing independent offices for enterprises along with running the coworking business. The process starts right from identifying a suitable space to construction, customisations and providing complete back-end support on technology and operations of the office space. This is a hassle-free way for an enterprise to outsource the designing, building and managing of their “own” office space thus allowing them to focus on running their business and not their office. Platform for collaboration Coworking spaces not only provide real estate solutions and hassle-free management but also offer an ideal platform for members to leverage business opportunities. With so many diverse companies sitting next to each other, the interactions are seamless and collaborations aplenty. Often times, the collaboration also happens between the coworking space provider and the clients sitting within through retailing and sampling of products and services. The clients get real time feedback from the larger community and opportunity to test the market with varied demographics. The workplace transformation has begun in earnest and will see some major transformations in the next 5-7 years as people’s lifestyles evolve, technology advancements take place at a fast pace, office commute times increase, and health and well – being takes centre stage. This will place the office worker at the heart of all office space solutions.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

Read more at: https://yourstory.com/2019/09/coworking-trends-future-startups-work-life