Shared office or co-working spaces have tripled over a period of one year to become one of the fastest growing segments in the commercial real estate. Not just small enterprises and startups, but even big corporate companies prefer to use them for their millennial talent. DC explores how a few of the city’s young entrepreneurs are capitalising on a trend quickly paving its way into the Chennai work culture.
Plush office space, swanky furniture, upscale décor may not be affordable for all startups, freelancers or new businesses. There’s has been a remarkable increase in shared-offices or co-working spaces. Many youngsters and new age entrepreneurs are choosing to step aside from flourishing family business or lucrative jobs to set up co working concepts. Turn to page 20
“Coworking is not just for small and medium enterprises, big corporates are migrating into this trend”, says Shray Rattha the man behind Chennai’s high end co-workspace. Shray is also the director of his family business who are into clothing, hospitality, healthcare, infra & housing development0.
“Some of the big fortune 500 companies and Indian corporates are using co-working as a new age space to nurture young talent. I see a huge upswing in the future of co-working culture”. It took little time for Shray to quickly enter other cities and set up similar models there.
Ashwin Shankar, with his brother Shravan, were one of the very first to set up this concept in Chennai in 2014. A lack in flexibility of such places from their own startup experience led them to start one and now they have 7 centres across the city.
“Our locations offer a mix of flexible plans of use, monthly and shorter duration, and provide you with workspace, meeting and all other facilities you want in a workspace”, says Ashwin a techno junkie, and a specialist in cloud based applications. “We have a mix of private and co-working options as well to cater to various requirements, both operational and budget based”.
Shravan is also the founding core member of an international platform for sustainability practitioners, based in Japan.
Coming from a family of actors and business magnets, Anaina, could have easily chosen a career in acting or joined her father in his leather business but instead she preferred to start a cool co working space with her sister in law Sahala Maryam. As students both Sahala and Anaina found it difficult to get a space to execute their academic projects or group activities. This was the inspiration behind their model of a shared space where people could use it for multiple purposes like school projects, group studies, work, meetings, workshops as well as host events.
“The design of the space is fluid in nature and can be easily transformed to suit your need”, says Anaina. “You can hold a pop up here or a boardroom meeting”, she crediting Sahala for it as she is an architect and the brain behind the design. “I basically handle the PR and events here”, she adds.
Ankit Samdariya, an MBA from Harvard Business School, was instrumental in building community-centric lifestyle shopping centres with portfolio spanning across 5 cities in India. He is now the CEO of a collaborative work-space platform situated at a newly launched mall in Chennai.
“Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs, freelancers and emerging enterprises with high-energy and high-amenity work ecosystem that make them more successful”.
With new entrants coming into the field every other day, none of the above feel any threat from competition. “The market is huge and there is something for everyone be it big corporate or small and medium enterprises”, they agree. “The idea in the end is to provide an ideal work environment with state of the art, affordable and flexible structures which helps the users to unleash their creativity and establish their venture in a most profitable manner”.