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