Co-Work­ing Spa­ces are Trend­ing in In­dia

Voice&Data - - COVER STORY -

Co-work­ing spa­ces are bring­ing about a par­a­digm evo­lu­tion in the startup ecosys­tem. En­trepreneurs us­ing these spa­ces be­lieve that co-work­ing spa­ces not only save the ef­fort in set­ting up an of­fice but also lead to ex­pand­ing the net­work, and as a con­se­quence you tend to hire faster, get work done faster, get feed­back faster and above all can tar­get at grow­ing faster.

As per startup market tracker Tracxn there are 61 co-work­ing spa­ces in In­dia, of which 16 were set up in 2016. The im­pact of this boom­ing market can be felt from the news that sur­faced in Septem­ber, this year. One of the top 10 most val­ued star­tups glob­ally, New York-based WeWork, a tech en­abled plat­form of­fer­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive of­fice ser­vices for en­trepreneurs and small busi­nesses, for­ayed in In­dia this Septem­ber. WeWork signed an op­er­at­ing agree­ment with In­dia’s lead­ing of­fice space de­vel­oper Em­bassy Group. The two companies have plans to build a 6 mil­lion sq ft net­work over the next five years, be­gin­ning with Ben­galuru, Mum­bai and Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion (NCR). Em­bassy will draw upon WeWork’s tech­nol­ogy, de­sign and global net­work of com­mu­ni­ties and also in­vest around $150 mil­lion into WeWork In­dia. WeWork is be­lieved to have en­tered In­dia at a time when col­lab­o­ra­tive of­fice spa­ces are be­com­ing pop­u­lar with the num­ber of in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sion­als among the ur­ban work­force ris­ing rapidly.

Re­cently, Mum­bai-based Hubtown, for­merly known as Ack­ruti City, part­nered with In­dia’s of­fice space provider Aw­fis Space So­lu­tions to cre­ate a co-work­ing of­fice at Akruti Trade Cen­tre, a com­mer­cial prop­erty owned by the real es­tate firm in Mum­bai’s And­heri East. Aw­fis Space So­lu­tions will con­vert the 12,000 sq ft space into a 200-seater of­fice area tar­get­ing star­tups or those look­ing for a flex­i­ble workspace for a lim­ited pe­riod. In this part­ner­ship, Hubtown, which has en­tered into a rev­enue shar­ing model with Aw­fis Space So­lu­tions, ex­pects the con­cept of shared workspaces to catch up in the next three to four years and says that it is look­ing at repli­cat­ing the model in other build­ings as well. An­other major client is SoftBank backed e-com­merce major Snapdeal, who has booked a com­plete floor, with a ca­pac­ity of about 90 seats. Aw­fis ex­pects more star­tups to fol­low suit.

Amit Ra­mani, CEO and Co-Founder of Aw­fis Space So­lu­tion, is so bullish on cowork­ing spa­ces that he has now de­cided to con­vert un­der­uti­lized spa­ces into grade A of­fice spa­ces. Re­cently, Aw­fis con­verted its Lower Parel in­dus­trial mill into a pre­mium co-work­ing space and has also con­verted a shop­ping cen­ter in Mum­bai’s com­mer­cial hub Powai as a co-work­ing space. Cur­rently, Aw­fis op­er­ates in Mum­bai, New Delhi and Ben­galuru, and in the com­ing months, it plans to ex­pand to Pune, Hy­der­abad and Kolkata.

Early Movers Find Suc­cess

Shivani Kakkar, Co-Founder of Ben­galuru’s workspace provider CoWorkIn­dia, has an­other per­cep­tion on the ben­e­fits of such spa­ces. She says, “CoWorkIn­dia was cre­ated to usher in the ‘fu­ture of work’ in In­dia. We fore­see a fu­ture of free­lancers, re­mote work­ers and dis­trib­uted work at a gar­gan­tuan scale. In the fu­ture, you would walk or cy­cle into your neigh­bor­hood co-work­ing space

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