Hyderabad: Co-working space provider Awfis Space Solutions is seeing growth opportunities in the tier-2 space, across the county. The company has drawn out plans to expand its presence in tier-2 markets such as Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Indore in the next 12 months.
Amit Ramani, founder & CEO, Awfis told Telangana Today, “With the smart cities programme implemented by the Central government, tier-3 cities will also grow in future. But it may take 2-3 years for these cities to emerge as places where co-working space can be created. However, tier-2 cities offer a huge and immediate opportunity. We will enter into six tier-2 cities within next one year.”
The company also plans to establish over 100 centres with 40,000 seats across Mumbai, National Capital Region, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Pune in the next 12 months.
The company has created a nationwide network of 55 centres with 25,000 seats across nine cities including – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai and 45 micro markets. Awfis aims to increase the seat capacity in Hyderabad alone from the current 2,000 to 5,000 by the end of 2018.
Companies such as Vodafone, Hinduja Group, Reliance, Mercedes Benz, Hitachi, ShareKhan, Zomato and Practo operate from various Awfis centres. While SME sector is severely underserved, they form about 50 per cent of Awfis clients, while 30-35 per cent is represented by corporates.
When asked about the sector patterns, he explains, “IT and ITeS industry is a major growth driver for co-working space across India. There is an inherent quality of this industry, which seeks flexibility of operations, which co-working spaces provide. They usually enter into long-term agreements with us as long as nine years. We are also seeing several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) opting for our spaces as well as large companies opening their branch offices or India liaosoning offices. Startups and freelancers are also quickly adopting this model.”
Ramani adds, “We have a micro-market approach where we want to be in every single micro-market of the top seven cities of the country, creating co-working spaces in every 10 km radius in future.”
On the energy efficiency measures that Awfis is taking, he says, “We build our centres on sustainable perspective. The materials that we use are sustainable and support green energy. The challenge is that since we occupy one floor of the building, in most of the places, unless the whole building adopts solar, we will not be able to do it individually. But, we are looking at getting our centres certified on wellness grounds-on aspects such as air quality, lighting, ambience by providing better environment for occupants.”
At a time when data security is gaining prominence, he said, Awfis is making sure there is high data security. The data is on the cloud securing client data safe. Rakspaces are also given to clients so that they have both ownership and access to it. In the case of enterprise clients and large SMEs (where companies plan to take over 50 seats), data security is becoming a prime expectation and Awfis is meeting their requirements.
Awfis is also increasingly looking at creating standalone workspaces across the country rather than taking just a portion in a large building. It has such centres in Vasant Kunj and Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area of Delhi, Sector 44 of Noida, Lower Parel (Mumbai). “We have a combination strategy to go with standalone facilities as well as taking a portion in other buildings, depending on the micro-markets we operate,” he informed.
Saying that there is depth in the domestic market and India offers enormous opportunities, Ramani adds, “India is a growing market and about 1,00,000 people are using co-working spaces and this number could touch 10,00,000 by 2021-22. In the next 24-36 month we will focus on Indian market before looking at overseas opportunities. The market here is still largely untapped. There is further room to grow.”