We­Work woos global mid-size firms to set shop in In­dia

Business Standard - - COMPANIES - ALNOOR PEERMOHAMED

SoftBank-backed co-work­ing space provider We­Work says it is help­ing medium-sized and even large-sized firms, which are part of its global clien­tele, to set up shop in In­dia.

While In­dia is al­ready home to large tech­nol­ogy giants such as Google, Mi­crosoft, Face­book, smaller firms, too, are eye­ing the coun­try's tal­ent base. Now, even firms with rev­enues of $500 mil­lion are turn­ing to In­dia for its vast base of tech tal­ent. “Sev­eral of our cus­tomers in dif­fer­ent mar­kets come to us ask­ing us to help them come to In­dia and like­wise to other mar­kets. Be­cause of our com­mu­ni­ty­based ap­proach and un­der­stand­ing of our cus­tomers, we can help them meet like-minded people and not just of­fer them space,” said Chris­tian Lee, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at We­Work Asia. JBrown, a London-based real es­tate bro­ker­age, that is a cus­tomer of We­Work glob­ally, is now us­ing its space in In­dia. Sim­i­larly, San Francisco-based ZenDesk has be­gun oc­cu­py­ing seats here. We­Work is also in talks with China’s OFO Bikes, a bike-shar­ing ser­vice that re­cently raised $700 mil­lion in a round led by Alibaba, that it should come to In­dia.

More than op­er­at­ing a global chain of co-work­ing space, We­Work says its goal is to build a global com­mu­nity of work­ing pro­fes­sion­als and com­pa­nies. In mar­kets where it al­ready has a large pres­ence, cus­tomers use its cen­tres to ex­pand to other cities or coun­tries. We­Work ex­pects the same in In­dia.

With its first co-work­ing spa­ces in In­dia al­ready up and run­ning in Ben­galuru and Mum­bai, the com­pany says it wants to ex­pand to all of In­dia’s ma­jor met­ros in the com­ing year. We­Work In­dia aims for 700,000 square feet of of­fice space in that time, with its next centre com­ing up in Gu­ru­gram.

In In­dia, We­Work has seen good re­sponse from en­ter­prises, both global as well as lo­cal, as op­posed to re­sponse just from start-ups and other small com­pa­nies. “The skew of en­ter­prises for We­Work In­dia is some­what more than what we have glob­ally; al­most 4050 per cent of our mem­bers are en­ter­prise users. It’s not lim­ited to global en­ter­prises at all; it’s just that they may be grow­ing a lit­tle faster here,” said Karan Vir­wani, di­rec­tor at We­Work In­dia.

Even global giants that have al­ready had a pres­ence in the coun­try for a long time, such as Mi­crosoft and Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel, are util­is­ing its space in In­dia, thanks to ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing We­Work else­where in the world.

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