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Co-working space provider Awfis raises $20 M from Sequoia, others

Athira Nair
25th Jul 2018
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Amit Ramani, Awfis founder and CEO

New Delhi-based co-working space provider Awfis has announced raising $20 million in Series C funding. Existing investor Sequoia Capital was joined by Innoven Capital and The Three Sisters Institutional office in this round. The startup now has more than $50 million in total funding.

A press release from the company states that the fresh capital will be used to deepen the Awfis network across India. They will also launch new and innovative products/services and improve the technology platform.

Founded by Amit Ramani, Awfis was incubated by TTS:IO with $11 million in April 2015. The company claims that in the last fiscal year, it scaled up to 25,000 seats across 55 centres with more than 15,000 members, as compared to 5,800 seats in 20 centres with more than 4000 members in July 2017.

The press release says that Awfis’ customer base includes more than 1,200 companies, including India’s leading startups/MSMEs and Fortune 500 companies. Their clientele includes Vodafone, Mercedes Benz, RBI, Hitachi, ShareKhan, Zomato, and Practo among others.

A Knight Frank report adds that despite the demand for co-working space, there are several challenges that have to be tackled; for instance – changing the conventional mindset of a client who would want to book a meeting room based on the touch and feel factor, rather than an app.

However, Awfis has gone an extra mile. With more than 100 strategic partnerships, Awfis enables its community members to access service providers in accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, healthcare, insurance etc.

Abhay Pandey, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital, India, has said in the press statement, “We are thrilled with the demand side traction for Awfis product, especially from SMEs and Corporates, thereby validating our hypothesis of a massive market opportunity. Awfis has generated tremendous momentum with its unique supply acquisition models. It is re-creating the workspace landscape for the benefit of both tenants and landlords. Sequoia strongly believes in the opportunity created by Amit and the team, and will continue to back Awfis to retain its leadership position in the Indian shared workspace market.”

Awfis follows an asset light ‘managed aggregation’ model - partnering with space owners who have unused commercial space and transforming them into workspaces. This includes under-utilised spaces in hotels and malls.

Awfis has inked lease deals totaling to 0.25m sq. ft. in the last 60 days across Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Noida.

The company currently has a total footprint of 1.5 million sq. ft. across its 55 centers across nine cities. In the future, the company intends to maintain 60 percent of inventory under managed aggregation model and the rest under straight lease model.

Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO of Awfis has stated, “With the growing demand for co-working spaces, there is a focus on transforming under-utilised real estate assets and providing affordable workspaces for entrepreneurs. The additional capital will aid us in expanding our footprint in India with more than 100 centers with 40,000 plus seats in the next 12 months. Our priority is to deepen the penetration in the existing markets, and enter new cities with a focus on Tier II locations.”

Awfis competes with WeWorks, Cowrks, 91Springboard, Bhive, and Smartworks, among others.

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