Adited, Regus, Officingnow and Incuspaze are some of the co-working companies that have set up shop in Indore in the past few years.
The words ‘Never give up’ cry out from a poster on a black-and-white background as you enter an office space on AB Road in Indore. It’s 9.30 on a Monday morning. Within minutes, the seats and desks start to fill up. The ambiance oozes a positive energy with desks personalised with photographs, wall arts, quotes, as the smell of coffee wafts through the air. The warmth of co-working has come to Indore.
The last five years have seen Indore grow as a buzzing startup community that’s hungry for innovation and mentorship. It’s probably why the co-working space business that began a few years ago as just providing basic office infrastructure is now growing as a full-blown culture of working and networking.
What has changed in this city of foodies? Says Somesh Ojha, CEO of VendeSOL, “Co-working is the future. I have worked with eight startups in 10 years. Startups in Noida and Bengaluru are so comfortable with co-working because it helps them to keep updated with the market. Indore is now warming up to this culture because the operational cost is a practical challenge. We chose to rent space with Adited here since now we do not have to worry about admin, support, housekeeping and several such responsibilities. We have grown significantly with minimum investment.”
VendeSOL that provides inside sales, analytics and digital media services has a team of 11 people and they have acquired five seats at Adited.
Adited Founder Abhinandan Gupta believes Indore has the talent and the resoures for a great startup culture and co-working will only add to this. “Being an education hub and commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, Indore will grow exponentially in terms of innovative projects and startups. People are changing with trends now. Once they are made aware about the benefits of co-working, they are ready to change their regular work ecosystem and join the co-working community to share ideas, knowledge and build a network.”
This became apparent when their first office (Adited 1.0) reached its 100 percent occupancy rate in just three months. Now Adited 2.0 houses 30 more startups making it a community of 70 startups and freelancers in the field of web development, wedding photography, chartered accountancy, software development, graphic design and digital marketing companies.
But why would freelancers opt for a co-working space when they can work from the comforts of home? Shares freelance photographer and Founder of The Camerawala, Paridhi Jain, “Co-working has changed me really. I don't need to find inexpensive restaurants to meet clients since I use a conference room here. I am more efficient now. A good office space at a good location brings more number of queries turning into business.”
The fact that Regus – a global chain that offers co-working facilities in 3,000 locations in 900 cities and 21 countries – opened in Indore, says a lot about the acceptance of co-working here. Regus is also a popular name in the Indian space along with InstaOffice, Awfiz, BHive, Spaces, 91springboard, and Investopad.
A Colliers International report quoted by a YourStory article stated that there are more than 160 players in the co-working space who run more than 350 operational centres across tier-1 and tier-2 cities in the country.
Says Regus Country Manager Harsh Lambah, “The response has been exhilarating and unanimous from local and global companies in tier-2 cities, including Indore. The fact that we started the second centre within two years validates the acceptance Indore has shown for co-working space.” Regus had in fact set up its first centre in 2013 in Vijay Nagar and later opened at DNR 90 on MG Road.
Another chain to open shop in Indore is Officingnow that has centres across 30 cities in India. It provides offices for startups, individual spaces, interview rooms, examination centres, corporate meetings, corporate stays and brainstorming rooms. In Indore, Officingnow provides spaces in Jaora Compound to small businesses and startups.
However, startups in Indore are looking for more than working spaces and conference rooms. Entrepreneurs and students need incubation centres and mentorship too.
Incuspaze – a chain of co-working and incubation centers - fulfils such needs. Apart from Indore, it has centres in Gurgaon, Lucknow, and Mumbai. Founded by Sanjay Choudhary, an angel investor based in the UK, Incuspaze has incubated four startups so far while eight of its mentored startups have found investors.
Shares Sanjay, “We felt like Indore lacked a startup ecosystem and mentor-based incubators along with fundraising platforms. We aim to help early stage startups in brand building, gaining a larger vision, collaborating with other startups for expanding the vision of incubation–cum-co-working and find the right startups for investment.”
The co-working spaces in Indore charge between Rs 3,000 and Rs 7,000 per month per person depending on the facilities included. Daily passes are available for Rs 200 to Rs 500 per day per person.
What’s interesting is that the concept of co-working is not restricted in Indore to just rented space centres. There are startups that willingly provide mentorship to students, freelancers, apart from cafes that are encouraging this culture.
WittyFeed has a reputation in Indore for being the most eco-friendly startup and for having the swankiest office in town.
“As part of our activities to support community, we do allow people to work from our office for a certain period of time where there is no cost involved and they can use facilities such as high-speed internet, recreational spaces, mentorship, and networking. Our weekend events are always full-house and we are overwhelmed by students coming from various small towns to get guidance about starting up,” shares Shashank Vaishnav, Co-founder of WittyFeed.
Then there are cafes that are creating a startup-friendly environment in the city. Apart from giving away free wi-fi and white boards, cafes like Mangosteen, Mitti and Chai Kaapi are actively encouraging students and startups to work, share ideas and host events.
“I am currently working on a startup idea but renting a co-working space is too early for me. So I often bring my laptop to work at Chai Kaapi or Mitti cafe. A lot of founders and entrepreneurs hit these places and I end up getting some really good advice for my business,” shares 21-year-old BTech student Shreyansh Mishra.
“We have tried to give Mitti a vibe where one would love to eat and discuss ideas,” shares Ankita Agrawal, Founder of Mitti Cafe.
A JLL report predicts that co-working is expected to receive $400 million in investments by 2018, and is set to grow 40-50 percent to reach more than 1 million sqft of leased ‘alternative’ work spaces by the end of the year in India.
Now that entrepreneurs have warmed up to co-working in Indore, will investors be willing to invest in these spaces? Only time will tell.