Profitability in the coworking sector

Profitability in the coworking sector

Contrary to popular belief that startups dominate the coworking space, Amit Ramani, CEO and founder, Awfis, states that SMEs and large corporates are driving the growth in this sector

Amit Ramani, CEO and founder, Awfis
Amit Ramani, CEO and founder, Awfis

How profitable is the coworking sector in India?   
Coworking will potentially be a US$2.2 billion market by CY 2022. Its penetration will improve from 0.7% in 2017 to 5.7% in 2022. The number of seats will grow from 96,000 in 2017 to 1,140,000, while the average monthly price per seat will increase from US$132 in 2017 to US$190 in 2022. Overall, the market will grow 17x in the next five years. Our company has been tripling its revenues year-on-year. In FY17, the revenue was ₹18 crore, which rose to ₹56 crore in FY18. In FY19, we expect a revenue of ₹170 crore.

Awfis, Vashi, Mumbai

There’s a tectonic shift happening among the corporates. How have coworking spaces contributed to this phenomenon?
Coworking segment plays an important part in the corporate economy, since it offers multiple benefits including providing a conducive and flexible working environment. It also fosters shared economy i.e. sharing common resources on the open floor. This helps reduce fixed costs for startups, freelancers, large corporates, MNCs, etc. The Indian coworking sector is treading on the path to become one of the top three markets in the world. This goes to prove that coworking spaces are here to stay and grow. Contrary to popular belief that start-ups dominate the co-working space, SMEs and large corporates are driving the growth of this sector. Approximately 50% clientele of an Indian coworking operator constitutes large corporates. Having said that, startups continue to be a huge area of opportunity for us. For 2019, we are looking to transform coworking into a mainstream segment as technology evolves and millennials join the workforce. The entrepreneurial spirit is permeating into tier II cities, which paves the way for us to set shop. In fact, last month we inaugurated our first centre in Chandigarh.


Given that co-working spaces house several companies, how do you balance your own branding in the design?
Design is the key differentiator for us and there is a bit of Awfis in every nook and corner of our centres. Be it our brand colours or design aesthetics, an Awfis centre is easy to differentiate from others because of its uniqueness that gets carried forward to the kind of furniture setup, meeting rooms, lounges and even meeting pods and phone booths. From flexible seats to premium cabins, we cover a range of office settings to accommodate the requirements of individual professionals, freelancers and businesses. While we maintain a consistent infrastructural design, businesses do bring their design guidelines to customise the offices as per their working needs. We believe in building communities that blend through companies, designations, gender and age demographics, while still allowing them to feel inspired by their own company identity.


How has the brand harnessed the reign of technology?
At Awfis, we use new-age technological solutions to improve workspace experiences and ensure seamless customer interaction. To achieve this, we have integrated systems that enhance convenience for our members like our ‘visitor management system’ that tracks a visitor’s entry into the Awfis premises and sends notifications on email as well as the mobile of the concerned member, who may accept or reject the visitor’s meeting request from their work-desk itself. Similarly, several of our member companies are opting for our ‘attendance management system’ and access control for their employees to track productivity levels real-time. We are use advanced technology for blocking and mapping seats to know exact availability as well as to enable development of a proprietary system for location tracking to study the amount of time spent by members at different places within the centre during a day. This helps us work towards creating methods that can further improve productivity.

Awfis, Pune

What is the distribution chart of Awfis’ customer portfolio?
Awfis has a diverse clientele that is constantly expanding across India with a revenue distribution of 40% from SMEs, 40% from corporates and 20% from startups and independent workforce. We have an enormous customer base, ranging from Fortune 500 companies as well as India’s emerging startups, with over 1,300 corporates and more than 18,000 professionals across 63 centres.

What lies in Awfis’ future?
Awfis is rapidly expanding across key metros and tier II cities and intends to double its presence in the next 12 months. With the growth of the coworking segment, our priority is to deepen the penetration in existing markets and enter new cities with focus on tier II locations. We are already present in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Chandigarh. We will foraying into cities like Kochi, Indore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur soon. Awfis currently has more than 30,000  seats across metros and is aiming to grow to over 40,000 seats across 15 cities in 2019.


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