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BW Businessworld

Fun And Aesthetics At Work Places

Shailesh Gupta didn’t stop at admiring global offices of top multinationals, he created great spaces in India

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An IIT graduate, a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor, 29-year-old Shailesh Gupta is brain behind the country’s top co-work space. In 2015, he, along with co-founder Ritesh Malik, conceptualised a professional co-work space called Innov8 to cater to the ever growing demand for such offices.

Although co-workspaces began coming up around three to four years ago, it’s only recently that they have gained their full glory.  

“We always admire global offices of Google, Facebook and others, because that is the kind of work environment with a fun quotient that we long to operate in. The office spaces in India have done little to nurture the creativity of young minds,” says Gupta, who wanted to build a less stressful, yet professional space for people to operate from, especially entrepreneurs. Innov8 founders started their operation in heart of the capital, at the iconic Regal building in Connaught Place, the world’s sixth most expensive office market space.

What’s disruptive about Innov8 is that it has these incredibly beautiful work spaces. The company’s real estate is aesthetically pleasing and inviting.

Today, Innov8 is operational in Delhi, Chandigarh, and Bangalore and plans to expand in five major cities by the end of this fiscal year, including Mumbai, Noida, and Gurgaon with seven new centres. As the company charts out its growth plan, it has appointed Gupta,  who has been a part of it since the beginning, as the CEO this year, to steer it in the right direction.

“I still remember when I approached Shailesh to join Innov8 as a co-founder. It was his love for India that made my job of convincing him much easier. He has been instrumental in scaling up Innov8, and together we will build Innov8 into a global workspace company,” says co-founder Ritesh Malik, who hails Gupta’s experience in growth, strategy and product thinking as key attributes behind the success of Innov8.

Launched three years ago with two centres, today Innov8 is a profitable company that will end 2017 with 11 centres. The company’s busiest centre in Koramangala, Bengaluru, is 35,000 sq. ft. and can house over 500 people. The waitlist to work there stretches beyond 200; the waitlist for people wanting to get into their Connaught Place, Delhi, work place stands at 140. Apart from keeping the cash flow intact, the company has been able to raise angel funding from influencers such as Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Google’s Rajan Anandan, among others.

Before co-founding Innov8, Gupta had successfully conceptualised three startups and served in various positions across organisations such as GE, ITC, Planning Commission and others.

“There is a huge responsibility to deliver to the customers. We need to continuously evaluate the resources at our disposal and make the right decisions. It is about persistence. I want to create the biggest and the most successful startup out of India. We are focussing on sustainable growth,” says Gupta, who claims his company to be the only co-work space, running profitably across all the centres in India.

‘Sustainability’ is the mantra for Gupta. The surging demand for co-work space has led to fierce market competition with companies struggling to create a sustainable co-work space business model. But Gupta’s approach to the situation is simple: he wants to build a great product in a practical and doable fashion.

“If you look at the entire co-work space industry, it is only three to four years old. It is still at a nascent stage, and having multiple players will only add value to the ecosystem, especially in terms of awareness and its transition from being a fad to a serious activity,” says Gupta, who personally takes care of feedbacks and quality checks.

Growth potential: By 2025, about 42 per cent of India’s population would be living and working in urban centres. With this growth in urban population, there will be a far greater demand for shared workspaces in less than a decade. The potential market size for the co-working segment across India currently stands in the range of 12-16 million and it is anticipated that by 2020, co-working space will overtake the traditional office format.