Hosting the likes of Zomato and Livspace, this Delhi-based coworking space clocks Rs 18 Cr per annum
Coworking spaces, an unheard of concept just a decade ago, have become a preferred option for many startups and companies whose millennial workforce enjoy the perks of non-traditional office spaces.
Riding the trend is ABL Workspaces, founded in 2017 by husband-wife duo Ankur and Akshita Gupta. Based in Delhi, the coworking space provider has a total of 10 centres—with another four underway—and 2,700 seats, each priced between Rs 6,000 and 1,6000 per month.
In a conversation with SMBStory, Co-founder Ankur Gupta speaks about the inception of the brand, the journey so far, and their future plans.
How did it all start?
Ankur started his entrepreneurial journey as a builder in the real estate sector. With the slowdown caused by policies such as the demonetisation and GST, he started searching for other options he could explore. He found coworking spaces to be an interesting segment that held a lot of potential as it was not fully tapped in India.
This led to the inception of ABL Workpaces.
He therefore teamed up with his wife, Akshita, and set up ABL utilising a space that was already with them in Green Park, South Delhi.
In the initial years, the challenge was to ensure optimum utilisation of the space without it looking or feeling cramped. “Also, since it’s a service industry, operations were a bit of a challenge but we overcame them quickly,” Ankur says.
The founders have funneled their own savings as well as investments from friends and family into the coworking space. Ankur notes that they intend to raise structured funding in FY 2020-21 to expand across geographies beyond Delhi-NCR.
ABL Workspaces has 10 buildings across Noida, Green Park, and Connaught Place, but these are not owned by the company. Rather, it works on three different models: lease, revenue sharing, and profit sharing. Occupants include employees of Bira, Lodha, Livspace, and Zomato, among others.
The coworking space’s mobile application is currently being beefed up with better technology that provides ease and intelligence in usage. Ankur says,
“We have developed systems and processes with deep levels of automation, wherein the orders for day-to-day operations are placed directly through the ERP. The vendors upload their invoices directly into our system and we all get regular automated notifications about their payment status.”
Additionally, ABL Workspaces is planning to introduce facial recognition to access the space, setting the temperature, and changing lighting, in order to make the office environment more interactive and employee-friendly.
At a time when data theft is posing a great concern to companies, ABL Workspaces allows its clients to bring in their own equipment and install their own servers to ensure that data is protected and privacy is not compromised.
Location, location, location
Ankur points out that 2019 witnessed nearly 19,000 coworking spaces and 30,000 flexible workspaces worldwide. With more and more people and businesses adapting to the coworking trend, there are now more than three million people working from shared workspaces globally, with the market value of flexible workspaces estimated to be around $26 billion.
Amidst the crop of notable names like Workafella, WeWork, GoWork, Innov8, and Incuspaze etc, ABL Workspaces, Ankur says, has carved a niche by prioritising the location and space from which it operates.
He adds that location is of utmost importance to the brand, which ensures that the building has good connectivity, is on the main road, and has clean and comfortable surroundings.
“What sets us apart from other coworking spaces is we strive to deliver the best to our clients without compromising on anything. And to achieve that, we design for their comfort and provide for their convenience. The premium interiors, our services and locations are things we are most proud of. Other than this, we have a friendly environment.”
In the near future, Ankur not just wants to build a few centres for coworking but gradually expand to diverse sectors like co-living to build an ecosystem. He adds ABL Workspaces clocks a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore per month and Rs 18 crore per annum.
Expansion is on the cards for the coworking space provider. “We are doing the spadework in other cities concurrently. We have already identified some properties in Bengaluru,” Ankur says.
ABL Workspaces is targeting to reach 15,000 seats by 2021.
(Edited by: Evelyn Ratnakumar)