Author Vishwas Mudagal joins hands with a techie to build a startup co-working space


GoodWorks not just provides space but also offers incubation and access to mentors and investors to deserving startups

Sharath Kumar, a 25-year-old working at a software company in Bengaluru, doesn’t own the home he lives in, doesn’t own the car he takes to work every day, and sometimes the clothes he wears are rented. The world is increasingly following the 'don’t own it but share it' mantra when it comes to lifestyle choices.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers had pegged the global sharing economy at $15 billion, but it is projected to hit a whopping $335 billion by 2025. And it, therefore, isn’t surprising that the world for co-working is also fast growing.

Joining this trend of sharing is GoodWorks CoWork, started in January this year by serial tech entrepreneur and author Vishwas Mudagal and software engineer and tech entrepreneur Sonia Sharma, who has worked with different companies in the IT sector and several startups.

Sonia Sharma and Vishwas Mudagal

Starting up

Speaking of why she chose to start a co-working space, Sonia says,

“I loved working with startups and after nearly a decade of startup experience in various domains, I decided to go ahead with GoodWorks Co Works to help budding entrepreneurs grow their business without the hassle of sweating about operations and support services. Through GoodWorks CoWork, we aim at creating a perfect ecosystem and community for startups, and nurture their growth.”

Apart from a co-working space, GoodWorks Co Works is also into outsourced product development and is a UX design studio. They help customers design and build robust products such as mobile apps, software products and games.

Started in 2013 the main objective is to becoming a powerhouse of innovation in both technology and design for clients across the globe.

“We wanted to bring our vast experience in building high-end products and creating R&D teams with a ‘design first’ approach. We positioned ourselves as the ‘product’ guys in the ‘services’ industry,” says Sonia.

Building an ecosystem

Bengaluru is a breeding ground for startups and it is important that the entrepreneurs in the city have a supportive ecosystem to succeed. GoodWorks Co Works provides entrepreneurs consulting services for core business functions such as marketing, accounts and finance, HR and recruitment, technology, design and UI and UX, in addition to other facilities.

“We want entrepreneurs to focus on their business and product development and ease out the burden of setting up other admin activities,” adds Sonia. Both Sonia and Vishwas are also looking to pump in an angel investment between Rs 20 lakh and 1 crore every year into three startups they see real business and a sustainable revenue model and growth potential.

Funding and workings

The initial funding of Rs 25 lakhs for setting up GoodWorks was pumped in by Vishwas. The space clocked in a revenue of $500,000 in FY 2014-15, which grew to $2.5 million in 2015. It is cash positive at the moment and isn't looking at funding for now.

“As part of our diversification drive, GoodWorkLabs will fund and incubate a few startups in the next few years, and help them succeed,” adds Sonia.

It has an in-house team of management consultants to help get the basics in place for a startup.

“Startups can book a time with our experts to discuss problems and issues related to HR, finance, marketing, design and branding faced by the company. We will also act as mentors to the startups selected by us and support them through every step of their startup journey,” says Sonia.

Selection parameters

GoodWorkLabs selects startups that demonstrate an idea that solves ‘real’ business problems and must be able to sustain itself. The startups will receive intense mentoring and training over a period of time and they are expected to iterate rapidly.

They are targeting technology and design startups, small business owners and entrepreneurs to join the GoodWorks CoWork community. It is not meant just for networking, but also to enable collective learning and create avenues for meeting prospective investors, technology experts and thought leaders.

“So we’re open to any startup, entrepreneur or small business owners passionate about their new venture. Our space provides all the facilities needed to run a company smoothly without logistical hassles,” adds Sonia.

The space and future plans

Currently, GoodWorks has one co-working space in Whitefield, Bengaluru and their next co-working space will be opening in Kolkata in a few months. They hope to slowly expand to other metro cities as well.

“We’re also in the initial stages of identifying multiple locations for similar spaces across Bengaluru as well,” says Sonia.

The co-working space market seems to be exploding. Awfis Space Solutions, South Asia’s network of collaborative co-working spaces, last month raised $20 million in Series-B funding from Sequoia India.

Some of the big names are Blume Ventures-backed BHIVE, Y-combinator-incubated Innov8, InstaOffice, and AltF Coworking. There also is the New York-based WeWork, with a presence in 15 countries, that is set to open its first centre in Benglauru.