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'There Ïs Uberisation Of Real Estate'
Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis is quite optimistic about the future of coworking spaces
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There has been a shift towards creating beautiful, well-designed and functional spaces that encourage collaboration and create a sense of community. And so Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis has endeavoured to create a network of collaborative co-working spaces, launched new and innovative products and further enhanced the existing technology platform in the past one year.
With a recent funding of $20 million from Sequoia India, the scale of the business of AWFIS is expected to increase to 20,000 seats by March 2018 from its current 12,000 operational.
“The funding has enabled us to step-up our presence across the major cities – Chennai which will be operational in January 2018, Chandigarh, Kochi, among others,” says Ramani who apart from his own proprietary centres, also has a unique, asset light ‘managed aggregation’ model-partnering with space owners.
“There is uberisation of real estate and hence we are hopeful to grow in tier 2 cities as well. While 85% of these spaces are in Tier 1 cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, the remaining 15% are based in Tier 2 cities. It is about enabling a good working experience for the present generation professionals by taking care of all the important aspects to serve a customer – Engagement, Enablement and Experience,” feels Ramani.
With expansion plans to start spaces in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Indore in the next six months, Ramani feels that there is growth beyond the metros today. “Many planned smart cities fall under tier 2 and tier 3 locations with better availability of resources, connectivity, so business momentum is bound to grow for the industry,” he says.
Today about 50% of the AWFIS’ business comes from SMEs, 35% from startups and 15% from corporate. “While the SMEs are moving to Grade A spaces to tap bigger opportunities, we offer to create Indian solution for SMEs, startups as well as corporates by offering about 300 seats in one location to make it a community culture setup,” says Ramani.
So what does Ramani look upto in 2018? “There will be a paradigm shift in the way companies will operate in the future, and some of the best innovations will be an outcome of such true community collaboration. In an overcrowded space of 300 co-working spaces in the country, there is bound to have consolidation and a shift towards the new way of working. Productive and unconventional way of working will be an alternate as people will start demanding value added services within the spaces,” he concludes.