Mumbai thriving on space crunch

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As startups mushroom across India’s financial capital of Mumbai, demand for coworking space for startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and corporates has shot up. Other Indian cities have seen a similar demand.

Mumbai is seeing several coworking space operators expand. WeWork, a NewYork-based coworking space operator now has presence at several places in the city like Bandra Kurla Complex(BKC), Andheri East, Thane and Vikhroli and have announced their Navi Mumbai and Worli centre to be located at Seawoods Grand Central and Vaswani Chambers.

Regus, Innov 8, Work Square and many others have also set up base in Mumbai, aware that high rental costs and commuting woes means there would be business prospects for them. Regus is an older co-working space aggregator. Work Square, a new entrant, provides coworking space at Lower Parel and Powai.

Dharam Mehta, general manager-India (West), WeWork says, “Keeping in mind the growth and expansion of new business hubs in Mumbai and as large corporates look at consolidating businesses to maximize their productivity, the demand for coworking spaces is no longer limited to freelancers or startups. By strengthening our presence in Mumbai, WeWork will be poised to support local startups and enterprises in contributing to the global business ecosystem.”

Adds Mehta: “Moreover, seeing the constant shifts as well as growth in demand for workspaces industry, people don’t want to just spend their time working in silos but are seeking greater interaction and collaboration. They want to work out of spaces that inspire them and help them connect and network with people. With our steady expansion plans in India, WeWork is here as a solution to cater to these rising demands.”

WeWork Bandra Kurla Complex coworking space in Mumbai is 90 per cent occupied, said a person closely working with WeWork in India. It offers 16 full floors to Mumbai’s professionals, designed with an international standard of business in mind. It has private offices, conference rooms, and coworking space where companies grow together.

Cost

As for the cost of working of WeWork BKC, it is Rs 18,000 per person per month for the hot desk, Rs 25,000 per person for a dedicated desk, Rs 40,200 per month for a one-seat private office, according to information on their portal. For larger private offices the rental rises in multiples of the number of persons to be seated like Rs 3,88,900 per month for 10 seats. For 10-20 seats the cost is economical at Rs 427,800 per month.

The rental is lower in Thane, Vikhroli and Andheri East than at BKC. WeWork has nine locations planned in Mumbai out of which six are operational and have over 12,000 members and 18,000 desks across three locations (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru). WeWork aims to double the number of its locations in India to 20 across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and reach 35,000 desks by the end of the year. It also plans to take its operations to Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad by next year.

“We transform buildings into dynamic environments for creativity, focus, and connection. More than just the best place to work, though, this is a movement toward humanising work. We believe that CEOs can help each other, offices can use the comforts of home, and we can all look forward to Monday if we find real meaning in what we do,” said a WeWork official.

Entrepreneurs and employees Financial Chronicle spoke to had good experiences to share about co-working spaces. “Coworking spaces like WeWork, Numa and Innov8 are a blessing for first-generation entrepreneurs. It is only due to co-working spaces that I could grow my business to cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Singapore within a span of five years. The work atmosphere is fantastic and the overheads are cost effective up to a particular scale of business. We are now able to cater to clients from Northern and Southern India as well as South East Asian countries,” Setu Shah, founder & CEO of Mumbai-based Prose Intergrated said.

“It’s the best thing for an entrepreneur as you get all things like phone, internet, work station, refreshments – without investment. It helps to grow your business,” said a entrepreneur whio declined to be named, adding: “The atmosphere is fantastic and alive; we have Numa in Bangalore, another coworking space provider to cater to our clients in South India from Chennai and Bangalore.”

Coworking spaces are used by both large enterprises and startups. Those using the services believe coworking facilities are good for those having global ambitions as work space can be rented abroad without much trouble. For instance, a WeWork member in Mumbai can use WeWork New York – or facilities at any other US city – when visit the US on business. All that is needed is an advance request to reserve a desk.

Founded in 2010, WeWork is headquartered in New York City, and is present in 23 countries. It provides shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises.

“WeWork works on membership basis and there is a WeWork mobile app to communicate your requirements,” said a person closely working with WeWork in Mumbai.



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