With millennials comprising nearly half the country’s working population, it should come as no surprise that the gig economy has seen significant growth. This has led to an increase in demand for flexi- and co-working spaces in the country, with these workspaces accounting for 14 percent of total leasing in 2018, crossing 7 million square feet.
Another factor enabling the increase in demand for co-working spaces is the growth of the startup ecosystem, with over 5,200 startups spread across Tier-1, 2, and 3 cities. Leveraging this huge opportunity, there has been a rise in domestic and international players like WeWork entering the country. The space also witnessed some big acquisitions with Gurugram-based co-working startup Innov8 being acquired by hospitality chain OYO in an all-cash deal worth about Rs 220 crore.
Riding this wave, Bangkok-based Whizdom Club has just entered the Indian market with the vision of building inspirations hubs across the country. The flagship brand of property developing giant Magnolia Quality Development Corporation (MQDC) Whizdom’s projects are sustainable and are designed for a younger generation.
Building spaces for growth
With offices in Thailand, China and now India, Whizdom is aiming to create co-working spaces for university students, young professionals and startups. The space offers world-class infrastructure along with mentoring and incubation support with partner TurningIdeas to ensure every entrepreneur who joins Whizdom is able to bring his or her ideas to fruition. The mentorship will include incubation and acceleration; business-related guidance with growth strategy and connects, soft skills and self-development, as well as coaching for mental and physical well-being; relationships, social fatigue.
This is part of MQDC’s vision to position Whizdom Club as a global platform for young entrepreneurs, students, startups and even SMEs for them to get all the support they need; to develop leaders and young talent for the future.
Speaking to YourStory, Chulamas Jitpatima (Amy), Director, MQDC India Real Estate Private Limited said, “We will measure our success by the success of our customers i.e. the startups. We would be happy to help them with everything from ideation, their business plan, funding, growth and scaling their business. Our target group are students and startups both early and mature. Whizdom itself is an aspirational lifestyle brand. We are an inspiration hub (co-working place) and we want to inspire everyone that gets to experience be it offline or online they should get inspired is the core of our USP.”
Winning over the India market
MQDC initiated their plans to enter India in 2017, sensing the huge opportunity give the population, demand for space and the young demographics.
“The other players are doing a great job and we want to create a space and be known for providing mentoring and end-to-end support as the go-to helping hand. Also, as a global property developer, we want to help startups and the young generation expand their connections beyond India
We will also be staying away from the promotions and freebies kind of model,” says Ms Jitpatima, Director, MQDC India Real Estate Private Limited.
She added that Whizdom Club aims to be a one-stop-shop that creates sustainable relationships and not just a uni-dimensional transactional relationship. “You can bring your friends and family to enjoy the beautiful cafe and play zone, where there will be events including live performances. In one line, we will be an inspiration hub and lifestyle space.”
Whizdom Club opened its first space in South Delhi last week and will open spaces mainly in the NCR region and later in other cities.
As a plan of the launch strategy, they had launched a competition (Whizdom Innovation Challenge) to support startups. This included a special session on ‘team building & motivation’ was conducted by experts. This was followed by a two-day pitching class by Hubba, a startup accelerator in Thailand which houses a database of over 400 Thai start-ups. They offer custom reports on industry trends, founder chemistry assessment tools and conduct Thailand’s yearly ecosystem health check to chart future opportunities you can take advantage of in Asia.
On Day 1 of the workshop, entrepreneurs were provided a platform to pitch their business ideas. The observations and recommendations from an expert panel helped the entrepreneurs to hone their pitching skills for Day 2, where they made their pitches to an international jury.
Among the 5 participants of Whizdom Innovation Challenge, 'RealTell' bagged the 'winner' title during the finale at Bangkok.
The shortlisted startups had the opportunity to gain introductions to customers, investors, access to workshops & experts/mentors and a stall at TechSauce, one of the largest startups events globally.
The startups also get 1 year of free space at the India facilities.