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'We Want to Bring Underutilized Real Estate to a Usable Kind of Format' The largest player in co-working spaces in South-Asia recently received an investment of USD 20 million from Sequoia India.

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Awfis

Co-working space is one of the hottest sectors right now and many companies are leveraging this hottest trend to cater to a wide set of independent professionals. One of the major advantages of working at a coworking space is flexibility and an affordable budget for a workspace environment.

When Awfis started in 2015, their focus was to create a platform that allows booking a meeting room space or a cabin on the move through a technology platform. The idea of the startup was to look at the underutilized real estate and essentially bring that on to a usable kind of format.

The largest player in co-working spaces in South-Asia has recently received an investment of USD 20 million from Sequoia India. Set up by Amit Ramani, the co-working space aims to target 10,000 seats by July 2017 and 25,000 seats by March 2018.

Ramani spoke with Entrepreneur a fortnight ago about the company's plans. Below are the edited excerpts.

People Are Not Looking At Space In Square Feet

Talking about the news of investment, Ramani said that the company has seen a huge demand in the market for co-working spaces and have created a shared economy platform that leverages technology.

"Awfis is transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing an affordable and exciting new age work environment for today's entrepreneur. We believe that this will facilitate a change in preference of the conventional office user from traditional offices to new age co-working spaces. We are thrilled with the market response and are confident that this funding will further enable our goal to have an "Awfis' available anytime/anywhere in all major cities," he said.

He further insists that with changing demand side people are not looking at space in square feet.

"Earlier people wanted 20,000 – 30,000 sq. ft of space but those days are gone now. With SME, startup community and corporate looking at their real estate spend carefully; the demand has converted into 40-50 seats," he added.

Go After Underutilized Asset and Bring Demand To It

For Ramani, it doesn't matter if Awfis is branded as a co-working space, business center because at the end of the day its working.

"If you look at today, Ola and Uber have transformed the whole mindset of shared economy space wherein asset like a taxi which is lying underutilized is used by the technology platform to combine the demand and the supply of the ecosystem. So the same logic applies here just that the category co-working per say is a way for a category to get created but ultimately what it is doing is reducing the car ownership or second car ownership for people. They are going after underutilized asset and bringing demand to it," he explained.

Mindset Have To Be Changed

Ramani believes the major challenge with a co-working space is to change people's mindset because everybody is indulged in this idea that when I create my business the first thing I will do is open my own office.

"Today if you look at the millennial they are not bothered about getting their own office, they are excited about the work that they can do. So, People's ability to work is changing," he added

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

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