New Delhi star­tups get cozy with shared workspaces as IT sec­tor ex­pands

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD -

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

ALTAF QADRI / ASSOCIATED PRESS

An en­tre­pre­neur (left) shares his workspace in a bar cum cafe in New Delhi.

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