How this entrepreneur landed BYJU's, Bira, and Fusion as coworking space clients and made Rs 20 Cr revenue each year

Started by Sanjay Choudhary in 2017 with a vision to provide a sustainable ecosystem for young innovators, Incuspaze has also recently collaborated with SIDBI to cater to startups and MSMEs that are associated with it.

Coworking spaces today have become popular among startups, and are seeing an exponential growth in India. The country has become the second-largest market for flexible workspaces in APAC, second only to China.

Further, medium and large-sized businesses are also making use of coworking spaces and the affordable infrastructure they offer.

The coworking industry is still growing, and the rise of young innovators is fuelling the demand of coworking spaces among startups and MSMEs alike.

It was the vision to provide a sustainable ecosystem for these young innovators that inspired entrepreneur Sanjay Choudhary to start Incuspaze, a premium co-working space, in 2017.

Sanjay Choudhary, Founder and CEO, Incuspaze

Sanjay tells SMBStory:

"We launched our first centre in Gurugram and then went on to further expand our horizons. In a short span of three years, we can proudly say that we are one of the fastest growing co-working spaces in the country with a substantial presence in both tier I and tier II cities."

Incuspaze says some of its biggest tenants includes brands such as Fusion, Bira, Byju’s, National House Building Council (NHBC), The Tech Tree, and more.

It also collaborated with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for its property in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

In an interaction with SMBStory, Sanjay tells us more about Incuspaze and how it is making end-to-end services available for startups and MSMEs.

Edited excerpts of the interview:

SMBStory: Why was Incuspaze started? What was the need?

Sanjay Choudhary: The potential of the Indian youth has never ceased to amaze me and I started Incuspaze with a self-funded amount with a vision to provide young innovators a platform to actualise their dreams.

After exhaustive R&D, I realised that one of the most pertinent issue faced by new entrepreneurs was the lack of a complete ecosystem at one place that allowed them to work individually and also as a team, without the hassle of dealing with everyday logistics within a set budget. Realising this need-gap, Incuspaze was born with an aim to create a self-sustainable ecosystem for startups.

We have also initiated a peak performance programme to optimise the overall performance of new ventures. It is a 360-degree approach comprising associated programmes like Investor connect, Mentor Connect, Startup Connect, and Partner Connect, that help startups grow their business.

Conference room at the Incuspaze coworking space at DLF Cyber City, Gurugram

SMBS: What is the pricing strategy and current revenues?

SC: We’ve kept our pricing extremely competitive and in accordance with industry standards. Our per seat prices vary depending on the geography the centre is located in and the audience that we are targeting. To ensure each of our member gets the best out of their association with us, we offer multiple plans that allow prospective clients to choose from a wide selection of services that they would like to avail.

Our USP lies in the fact that we also build customised spaces for members that require a large seating and then convert the remaining space into a common co-working area, allowing larger teams to work together without the hassle of managing a big space.

We now have twelve centres, with current revenue run rate of Rs 20 crore per annum.

SMBS: What is the Search, Build, and Manage model you follow?

SC: The Search, Build, and Manage model essentially means that when we have a client that requires a substantial space, we search for available properties according to their requirements, build the space as per their specifications and then manage it end-to-end.

For example, say company ‘X’ has a team of 50 members and is looking for a well-managed space in Cyber City, Gurugram. They need a two to three hour access to a conference room every day that seats 15 people and interiors that are crisp, clean and resonate with their brand colours. Also, they have a per seat budget that should include internet access, private meeting room access and daily support in terms of tea, coffee, cleaning, electricity etc.

Our approach to this client is to find a space in Cyber City that is conveniently located with ample access to public transportation – ideally seating about 100 people. We would then corner off the seating for 50 people and design interiors of that space keeping the clients brief in mind. The remaining space is designed in a standardised manner. The cornered area is handed off to company ‘X’ and the remaining is offered on a per seat price to freelancers, startup owners, and others. The entire project is managed and maintained by Incuspaze completely.

Incuspaze's coworking space at Apollo Premier, Indore

SMBS:  What is the nature of collaboration with SIDBI?

SC: We are co-working partners with SIDBI and we help manage the space called @workspaze that was launched in August 2019 in Connaught Place. This space specifically caters to startups and MSME’s that are associated with SIDBI. We synced our ideologies with SIDBI to facilitate a hassle-free coworking environment for MSMEs and provide resources to build strong connections with other industries, create ideas and develop business, whereas other aspects of support are managed in-house by SIDBI.

SMBS: What facilities are available to small businesses? 

SC: Small businesses that are associated with us have access to all the usual office facilities like meeting rooms, conference rooms, event spaces, private rooms etc. The usage however, varies according to the plan that they take with us. We also extend benefits such as discounts and offers through our strategic partnership with brands like Oyo, Ola, Medlife, and Google Cloud Platform, to name a few.

SMBS: How does Incuspaze connect startups to potential investors and mentors? 

SC: We have a standardised program for this, led by Dolly Bhasin, Director, Innovation and Incubation. She holds a rich experience of over 26 years in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry. After qualifying and getting startup owners through the first level of mentoring, she helps them connect with relevant investors and mentors.

SMBS: What are the challenges in having small entrepreneurs and SMEs as clients?

SC: Small entrepreneurs and SMEs members are proactive about the events, partner benefits, and workshops and thus keep us motivated to explore something new constantly and organise event on frequent basis. On the other hand, since they are in the initial stage of their business and are striving to earn profits, we occasionally face issues with receiving payments on time. Also, there is a comparatively lesser lock-in period, which means there is less reliability in them staying with us.