The entry of WeWork is expected to give competition to a large number of players in the coworking space including BHive, Innov8, CoWork, Awfis and others
New York-based co-working space giant WeWork officially opened its doors to India this week, with the launch of its first workspace in Bangalore which can house 2,200 people.
The launch will be followed up by two more centers in Bangalore in Koramangala and Whitefield, the company added.
WeWork is the world's largest player in co-working spaces having attracted over USD 2 billion in investments. The entry of WeWork is expected to give competition to a large number of players in the coworking space including BHive, Innov8, Awfis, 91Springboard, CoWork and others.
The first giant workspace called WeWork Galaxy can cater to over 2,200 people, with ancillary amenities such as a swimming pool, a gym, access to healthcare, payment processing, IT support, payroll and legal, education and training.
The company plans to reach out to startup entrepreneurs, freelancers, SMEs, in order to populate its centers. WeWork also works with large corporates such as Microsoft, Bacardi, and Samsung, among other 450 enterprise members globally. Co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in 2010, WeWork is backed by investors such as Fidelity Investments, SoftBank Group, Benchmark Capital, Goldman Sachs and T. Rowe Price.
The company plans to target the corporate employees who want to work from outside office occasionally. “Companies today are offering its employees the flexibility to work out of shared office spaces. We intend to cater to the needs of this evolving segment and tap this new trend,” Juggy Marwaha, Lead – WeWork said. Marwaha was earlier managing director of real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle, South India.
The sector has also attracted interest from investors. Awfis in April bagged USD 20 million in funding. The Office Pass recently raised USD 245,000 in seed investment from a group of individual investors. Innov8 in February also raised angel funding from Venture Catalysts and other individual investors.
Last year in 2016, WeWork doubled its global membership with over 80,000 members utilizing the space, community, and services.
The company is adding about 10-15 locations per month worldwide. It claims to have about 149 physical locations, offices in 188 locations, across 45 different cities in the world.
“There has been a macro shift toward a new way of work—one focused on a movement towards meaning—and WeWork is accelerating this movement. We have seen that more than 70 percent of WeWork’s members collaborate and more than 50 percent do business together,” Karan Virwani, director - WeWork (India) said.
The company claims that over 100,000 members collaborate in-person and digitally through an app that lets members connect and work virtually with other members around the world.
After Bangalore, WeWork is expanding into other cities – Mumbai and Delhi.
“For WeWork, 2017 is a year of great expansion in the Asia-Pacific. We want to strengthen our communities here as we enter new markets. We’ll soon bring WeWork to Mumbai and Delhi as well,” Ole Ruch, Managing Director, WeWork Asia-Pacific, said.
According to a research report by real estate consultancy Colliers International on India’s co-working space market, more than 1.2 million sq ft were leased by co-working companies in 2016, accounting for 3% of the overall leasing volume. The report estimates that by 2020, these companies will increase the leasing space to about 8 to 9 million sq ft.
“We foresee that the concentration of co-working spaces will intensify further in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Gurugram, thanks to the availability of adequate infrastructure and opportunities for start-ups in those cities,” the report states.Growing at a rate of 40-50 percent, the investor activity in this space is about to treble. According to a study conducted by another real estate consultancy JLL, the co-working industry in India is expected to receive USD 400 million in investments by 2018.