WeWork India is back in growth mode: CEO Karan Virwani

Speaking at TechSparks Mumbai, Karan Virwani, CEO of WeWork India, said the co-working company will continue to add 20,000 desks year-on-year for the foreseeable period.

WeWork India is back in growth mode: CEO Karan Virwani

Thursday March 23, 2023,

2 min Read

At a time when WeWork Global is cutting jobs to reduce costs, its Indian franchisee is back in growth mode with plans to add 10 new locations by August across six key metro cities. 

“Our dream is to have an India IPO story and continue to grow our top and bottom lines. Almost 20,000 desks year-on-year, which is over million-and-half square feet, in the foreseeable period is something we can easily do,” Karan Virwani, CEO of WeWork India, told Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory, at TechSparks Mumbai. 

Started in India in 2017 by WeWork Global in partnership with real estate firm Embassy Group, WeWork India was making 20% to 25% of margin on its break even. “We were able to restructure and re-size our business such that around 65% occupancy covers our corporate costs. We are 80% to 85% occupied right now,” said Virwani. 

The company, which last raised Rs 550 crore from BPEA Credit in December, said it did not receive any capital infusion as part of SoftBank’s investment in WeWork Global, totalling $18.5 billion.

“We were never flush with money. We were lucky to get one round of funding of $100 million from WeWork Global in the middle of the pandemic (June 2020) because we were the best-performing region globally,” said Virwani.

He added that the company owed its vendors nearly Rs 500 crore before the pandemic as part of its capex investment and other leases. “When we got the $100 million in the middle of the pandemic, we first paid our vendors… we got a massive amount of goodwill for this.”

With companies asking employees to return to the office, WeWork India is working with an increasing number of legacy companies, including public sector units, legal firms, and others, tapping into the hybrid offering of the co-working space provider. 

“Today, you can enter WeWork at Rs 500. The remote-first worker can avail of WeWork when they need a break from their home… we have taken the barrier away from costs. Top-tier Indian MNCs and startups are cautious about the culture and experience of employees. We have built for that, and the experience and quality are global,” said Virwani.

Edited by Suman Singh