Awfis: Changing the Working Culture of India

The coworking industry in India is at its peak and is slated to transform into a mainstream segment. The millennial workforce is ever evolving and over 13 million people are expected to work out of co-working centers by 2020 in India, with many corporates expected to allocate 10% of their office portfolio to agile workspaces (Source: CBRE). The industry is also expected to reach a valuation of $2.2 Billion by 2022, which sets the tone for a changing shift in working trends of the entire commercial real estate sector in India. Also, along with metros have witnessed great demand, tier II cities are expected to come to the fore, with studies suggesting that these markets are estimated to grow to 8.5 mn seats by 2020 (Source: JLL).

We interviewed Awfis Founder Mr. Amit Ramani to learn more that the coworking industry in India and the successful startup journey of Awfis.

Awfis HighLights

Startup Name Awfis
Headquarter New Delhi
Founders Mr Amit Ramani
Sector Co-working space/ Commercial Real Estate
Founded 2015
Parent organization Awfis Space Solutions Private Limited
Website Awfis.com

About Awfis
How was Awfis Started
Awfis - Name, Tagline, and Logo
Founders of Awfis and team
What is Awfis
Awfis - Revenue Model
Awfis - User Acquisition and Growth
Awfis - Startup Challenges
Awfis - Funding and Investors
Awfis - Future Plans

About Awfis

The core belief of Awfis is to bridge the existing Commercial Real Estate (CRE) gap in India by transforming commercial assets into Grade A workspaces and making them accessible at affordable prices. The aim is to provide a commercially viable solution to the workforce of India owing to the highly price sensitive and extremely rational Indian consumer. The company strongly believe that with their unique bouquet of product and services, they have been able to provide a feasible solution to Indian businesses, thereby creating an enriching work experience.

How was Awfis Started

Coworking as a segment has been prevalent in the US for the last 10-15 years where the founder, Amit Ramani, had prior professional experience.

The idea to launch Awfis and re-conceptualize the co-working segment in India struck him when he witnessed the status of the majority of the commercial spaces here. Extremely disorganized, a complete lack of transparency and the absence of a conducive environment for employees to work in, it led him to believe that co-working was the perfect solution for India’s market and to pave the way forward for a highly flexible workforce of our country.

Awfis’ name comes from the way ‘office’ is pronounced. The company has a tagline -  ‘where work meets life' indicating that they put strong emphasis on balancing work & life.

Awfis Logo

Founders of Awfis and team

Mr. Amit Ramani is the founder and CEO of Awfis. Amit has been a serial entrepreneur with 18 years of experience with a focus on building sustainable businesses that solve real world problems. Prior to Awfis, he served as the Founder and Managing Director of NELSON Asia, a company focused on providing design & build solution to global & Indian multinationals. Amit’s extensive experience in strategic planning, design management, and workplace & business process improvement has allowed him to work at different leadership positions as well as a speaker and guest author for reputed platforms.

  • Mr. Ramani is the member of the Young President's Organization (YPO) Delhi Chapter which is a group of top 200 business leaders and owners in the community.
  • He has been an active member of the International Facilities Management Association CoreNet for eight years, and serves on the board for the latter’s Charlotte Chapter.
  • His work has been published in the Journal of Corporate Real Estate and he has been a frequent speaker to industry forums such as CoreNet Global Summit on topics ranging from real estate strategy to developing effective work environments.
  • He is also an active member of RICS and NASSCOM.
  • His contribution to the field of real estate and facility planning has made him the recipient of the prestigious IFMA foundation award three years in a row.
  • He has also been a guest lecturer at Cornell University, New York University and Texas A&M.

What is Awfis

Awfis has been able to build a niche for itself within the ever-evolving coworking segment, largely owing to its unceasing commitment towards providing high-grade workspaces and amenities at an affordable cost. It understands India’s market and its key challenges from a commercial real estate perspective. The company has been able to successfully cater to client base by providing them with an integrated workspace solution and a hassle-free experience.

We see ourselves as their partners, not mere service providers. We have built a best-in-class mobile app that helps book workspaces & meeting rooms on ‘Just-in-time’ basis. We also have a range of ‘Mobility Solution’ products for today’s work-on-the-go population along with our newly launched product ‘Awfis Enterprise Solutions’ that caters to SMEs and mid & large sized corporates helping them set up their head offices & satellite offices with us.

Awfis - Revenue Model

The company primarily deploy two models i.e. the Straight Lease Model and the Managed Aggregation Model (MAM). Among the two, MAM has been able to give them an edge due to its unique proposition wherein Awfis partners with space owners of underutilized commercial spaces and strikes a ‘no minimum guarantees’ deal - where space owner makes the investment on fit-out infrastructure and builds out a center. The profits from the center are shared with higher percentage going to space owner. Capital efficiency is an advantage of MAM, which enables us to multiply our growing capacity by almost 4-5 times. Currently, 60% seats are under MAM and we intend to increase this to 70 – 80% in the coming year.

Awfis - User Acquisition and Growth

Awfis was launched wayback in 2015 in New Delhi with one center in Vasant Kunj. Having grown steadily over the course of the last few years, they have expanded to 30,000 seats across 63 centers in just 4 years.  In July 2017, the company had 5,800 desks across 20 centers. This clearly indicates a growing audience

Our biggest marketing channel has been our customers itself, who, with their positive feedback and positive word of mouth, have been our biggest strength to us. We have managed to consistently gratify our user base by enabling complete transparency while enhancing relationships with both internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, staying true to our belief “where work meets life”, we are providing our members a platform to interact, collaborate and do business within the community.

The company also provides access to over 1000 events and experiences annually to its community members so as to maintain work life balance and have fun while working.

Awfis - Startup Challenges

Awfis has managed to successfully establish itself with an extremely strong foothold in the rapidly evolving co-working sector.

A homegrown brand, at Awfis, we have a deep rooted understanding of our consumers’ needs and are growing year on year at a quick pace. We identify underutilized assets, partner with land owners and deliver Grade A workspaces. We have efficiently deployed our resources to meet our business requirements without hampering the quality of workspaces provided.

Their entire product portfolio is such that it keeps us ahead of the game. Awfis’ success mantra of providing ‘Value driven services for Value focussed companies’ has enabled it to spearhead the growth of this sector in India and made Awfis synonymous to co-working.

Awfis - Funding and Investors

Awfis has raised a total of 51 from different investors as below-

Date Stage Amount Investor
2018 Series C $20 million Sequoia Capital, Innoven Capital & TTSIO
2017 Series B $20 million Sequoia Capital
2016 Series A $11 million The Three Sisters : Institutional Office & Mr Amit Ramani

Awfis - Future Plans

Awfis is currently spread across 63 centers in 10 cities with over 30,000 seats. For the last FY, it earned a revenue of 158 crore and expect it to increase to more than 300 crore for the next fiscal year. It targets to double its seating capacity every year to reach over 2,00,000 seats by 2022 and they're well on course to achieving that feat. In terms of our user base, the company serves over 1500 companies, of which revenue from SMEs account for 40 percent, corporates 40 percent and 20 per cent from startups and freelancers.

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About Lakshya Singh

I am a visionary content creator and internet researcher.
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