Co-Working Spaces are Trending in India
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