Published: 27th August 2018
Co-working, co-learning: Some spaces in Hyderabad that you should definitely check out
There are many players from the co-working industry that are setting up shop in Hyderabad. We tell you about five such spaces and why they are keen on expanding in the city
Gone are the days when owning an office was a milestone for a company. If it still is for a few, then it certainly comes with its own hassles — housekeeping, maintenance, equipping it with modern facilities and upgrading it as and when required, parking, security and beyond. Managing spaces is like running a company in itself. Enter co-working spaces. Initially a hit among freelancers and entrepreneurs alone, it is now preferred by even international companies that are looking to branch out without the commitment of an office. And Hyderabad being a hotspot for corporates, start-ups and all those who aspire to make something out of their lives, co-working spaces are vying for a space of their own in this promising city. While a few of them offer funky interiors, others have a creche facility, especially for women entrepreneurs and even humanoids. We speak to five such spaces who have set their foot in the City of Nizams or are about to, to offer all the dreamers and doers a place to work from.
Sprouting ideas together
Art attack: iSprout Vijayawada will be inaugurated next month while an additional 900 seats will be added to the iSprout Purva centre
Homegrown brand iSprout was started by Sreenivas Tirdhala and Sundari Patibandla in April 2017. Tirdhala wanted to start an incubation centre for start-ups, but looking at their plight of struggling to find a place to work out of, he started a co-working space instead. iSprout truly believes in going the extra mile. "We provide end-to-end services for start-ups. Lawyers, CAs, payroll management, taxes, we help with everything," he says. The focus is on the interiors as well. With a wall-mounted cycle and inspirational quotes like 'I feel good today', iSprout sure knows how to liven up the atmosphere. "This is because we want everyone who comes here to feel inspired," Tirdhala says with enthusiasm. iSprout Profound, their first centre in Kondapur is 12,000 sq ft and has a seating capacity of 200, while their second one in HITECH City is 90,000 sq ft and has a seating capacity of 1,800. As both their centres are running house full, they have set their eyes on Vijayawada next. "I am from a small village in Telangana and it has always been my dream to start something here, in my own state," concludes Tirdhala emotionally.
Co-working spaces will play a critical role in boosting the start-up and corporate ecosystem in the coming years
Sreenivas Tirdhala, Director, iSprout Business Centre
Be a desk jockey
Space jam: Rent A Desk has meeting room spaces and private offices as well
With desks as low as `350 per hour, it's easy to guess what Hyderabad-based Rent A Desk's USP is. Or to put it in co-founder Syed Anees Jafri's words, "It's the power of the package we offer, which is all-inclusive." Another positive is tastefully done interiors and their presence in central locations like Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills. With three centres in Hyderabad already, Jafri says that more centres are on the cards before they think about expanding to other cities like Pune and Bengaluru. "The biggest advantage of working in a co-working space is that you meet other people and network with them," he points out. Co-founder Syed Kazim Hameed appreciates the Telangana government, particularly Cabinet Minister K T Rama Rao for encouraging the start-up culture in the Deccan state. "They have definitely improved the ease of doing business," he states. Hameed also points out that even Fortune 500 companies, MNCs, SMEs, students and others prefer spaces that are fully-equipped and come with no additional real estate or maintenance headaches. A dedicated team of 15 people is working on the expansion and other areas at Rent A Desk to carve a niche of their own in this co-working space industry.
Two together: The founders of Rent A Desk, Syed Anees Jafri and Syed Kazim Hameed
Let's go to the awfis
Colour pop: Awfis recently raised $20 million in seed funding and aims to expand to cities like Vijayawada and Amravati soon
Amit Ramani founded Awfis in New Delhi in April 2015. Currently, they have as many as five centres in Hyderabad's HITEC City, Gachibowli, Rai Durg and other areas, and they wish to expand to Financial District and Begumpet soon. Their two revenue models — straight lease model and revenue sharing model, where they partner with the landlord to set up the space — are what sets the co-working spaces of Awfis apart. "It creates a win-win scenario for both of us. It also mitigates our risk because we need to simply concentrate on operating the space," says Ramani. The founder believes that what makes them unique is their flexibility and transparency and that they are extremely value-conscious. Also, like every sensible company, they pay attention to the smaller needs of those who work at their co-working spaces like booking cabs or facilitating courier services. "While the whole work-life balance has gone out the window, what we believe in is work-life integration," says Ramani, adding that even small-scale events can be organised at their spaces.
Hyderabad is definitely a key market for us and within the next 12 months, we will expand to 6,000 seats here
Amit Ramani, Founder, Awfis
Working hard, working smart
Rapt attention: Smartworks’ centre in Hyderabad was 70% pre-booked by eight companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Tata Communications and others
Smartworks’ Hyderabad centre was launched this June in HITEC City and is spread across 86,000 sq ft with a seating capacity of 1,700. The launch was even more special because it was announced that the Made in India humanoid, Mitra, will be deployed at this centre permanently. And while this is unique, another fact that sets this Kolkata-based co-working space apart is, "the R&D that goes behind every space we come up with. We do our best to understand the demographic, companies that exist, how unique the location is and so on. We really try to get to know the city," says Smartworks' founder, Neetish Sarda, who started Smartworks in April 2016. He also informs that as per reports, the co-working industry has grown to eight million in less than two years and it will reach the 40 million mark within the next three years. "Hyderabad is doing superbly well in this space and it has certainly outperformed predictions," says Sarda. Keeping up with trends, they plan to double their space in the city by the end of this year.
Launch time: Made in India human-robot Mitra with Neetish Sarda, Founder, Smartworks
Just get up and go work
On screen: GoWork's growth pace is 37% month-on-month. Their centres are pet-friendly as well
GoWork’s first centre of 4.5 lakh sq ft with a seating capacity of 7,000 is one of the largest co-working spaces in the world. And soon, they will be opening a new centre in Hyderabad as well. Sudeep Singh, Chief Evangelist and CEO of GoWork believes that, "people don't understand that the co-working industry essentially falls under the hospitality industry. Until we grasp this, we will never be able to move ahead," he says. And it is because of this understanding that their spaces boast of facilities like a creche, sleeping pods, frustration zones and more. They also completely own their assets which assures their clients that they are here for the long haul. Singh foresees that the trend will soon move towards managed office spaces because, "big companies are realising the value of dedicated office spaces where they don't have to worry about housekeeping and other such aspects." The focus is also on Tier II and III cities because companies are looking at reducing the cost of travel and office expenses, he opines.
We want start-ups, SMEs and corporates to exist in the same room and build networking opportunities
Sudeep Singh, Chief Evangelist and CEO, GoWork