New Delhi startups get cozy with shared workspaces as IT sector expands
Every weekend, the partiers flood into a New Delhi restaurant and dance club called Social, a three-story destination on the edge of Hauz Khas Village, one of the city’s most popular nightlife neighborhoods.
After nightfall, the bar is busy and the dance floor is full. The lines regularly stretch out into the street. The dancing goes on until 1 am.
But just a few hours later, the watering hole will be clean, the tables will be cleared of silverware and plates and the nightclub will have been transformed into a cozy office where no one gets fired for drinking at work.
Everyone shares desks at Social: photographers, designers, journalists, software programmers. They bounce ideas off one another, hire one another and collaborate to expand their businesses. Everyone is either a freelancer or working for a small startup.
As India emerges as one of the biggest markets in the world for tech-based startups, workspaces are transforming from traditional and hierarchical to relaxed and barlike.
“It’s the millennial personality,” says 29-year-old Dinsa Sachan, a freelance journalist who works out of Social. “People don’t want to bow down to random bosses in their offices. They are seeking more meaningful work. So, I think co-working spaces are like a melting pot for individuals like these.”
The first co-working offices began springing up in India about three years ago. Today, there are at least a dozen in New Delhi — though Social is the only one that also functions as a restaurant — with similar numbers in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, where most Indian startups are based.
With more than 4,200 new technology companies, mostly phone apps or websites, by the end of last year, India now has the third-largest startup industry in the world, behind the United States and United Kingdom, according to The National Association of Software and Services Companies, or NASSCOM, an Indian industry research company.
Foreign-based investors are opening their coffers, and now comprise most of the money being pumped into Indian startups, NASSCOM says. Funding for Indian startups is growing at more than 125 percent a year, with an additional $700 million estimated to be invested before February 2017, according to a 2016 report by InnoVen Capital, an Asian venture capital firm.
It’s the millennial personality. People don’t want to bow down to random bosses in their offices. They are seeking more meaningful work. ” Dinsa Sachan, a freelance journalist in New Delhi
An entrepreneur (left) shares his workspace in a bar cum cafe in New Delhi.