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, not only metros are witnessing great demand in coworking spaces, but tier II cities are also 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 owner Mr. Amit Ramani to learn more that the coworking industry in India and the successful startup journey of Awfis.
|Founders||Mr Amit Ramani|
|Sector||Co-working space/ Commercial Real Estate|
|Parent organization||Awfis Space Solutions Private Limited|
What is Awfis
Awfis (Awfis Space Solutions Private Limited) 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. Awfis also offers a Virtual Office solution that helps you create a professional image for your business without booking an actual physical space. Besides, Awfis Mobility Solutions, lets one work from anywhere.
"We see ourselves as our client's 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" Amit Ramani says explaining Awfis' products
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, Tagline, and Logo
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.
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.
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 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 - Amit says
Awfis - User Acquisition
Awfis was launched wayback in 2015 in New Delhi with one center in Vasant Kunj. In July 2017, the company had 5,800 desks across 20 centers. Having grown steadily over the course of the last few years, they have expanded to 35,000 seats across 70 centers in just 4 years. 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 - Funding and Investors
Awfis has raised a total of $ 81 million funding from different investors as below-
|2019||Series D||$30 million||Chrys Capital, Sequoia Capital India & The Three Sisters Institutional Office,|
|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 - Growth / Revenue
Awfis is currently spread across 70 centers in 10 cities with over 35,000 seats. For the last FY (2018-2019), Awfis earned a revenue of 158 crore and expect it to increase to more than 300 crore for this fiscal year(2019-2020). 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.
Awfis has managed to successfully establish itself with an extremely strong foothold in the rapidly evolving co-working sector.
Awfis’ success mantra of providing ‘Value driven services for Value focused companies’ has enabled it to spearhead the growth of this sector in India and made Awfis synonymous to co-working. Awfis has become profitable at entity level from November 2018, and is planning to launch a public issue in 2022.
"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. The entire product portfolio is such that it keeps us ahead of the game." quotes Awfis founder Amit Ramani