Softbank-backed co-working space provider WeWork says it is helping medium and even large sized firms that are part of its global clientele to set up shop in India as they look to tap the country's growing market and talent base to build products and services here.
While India is already home to large technology giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, smaller firms, too, are eyeing the country’s talent base. Now, even firms with revenues of $500 million are turning to India for its vast base of tech talent.
“Several of our customers in different markets come to us asking us to help them come to India and likewise to other markets. Because of our community-based approach and understanding of our customers, we can help them meet like-minded people and not just offer them space,” said Christian Lee, managing director at WeWork
JBrown, a London-based real estate brokerage, that is a customer of WeWork
globally, is now using its space in India.
Similarly, San Francisco-based ZenDesk
has begun occupying seats here. WeWork
is also in talks with China’s OFO Bikes, a bike-sharing service that recently raised $700 million in a round led by Alibaba, that it should come to India.
More than operating a global chain of co-working space, WeWork says its goal is to build a global community of working professionals and companies. In markets where it already has a large presence, customers use its centres to expand to other cities or countries. WeWork expects the same in India.
With its first co-working spaces in India already up and running in Bengaluru and Mumbai, the company says it wants to expand to all of India’s major metros in the coming year. WeWork
India aims for 700,000 square feet of office space
in that time, with its next centre coming up in Gurugram.
In India, WeWork
has seen a good response from enterprises, both global as well as local, as opposed to response just from start-ups and other small companies.
“The skew of enterprises for WeWork
India is somewhat more than what we have globally; almost 40-50 per cent of our members are enterprise users. It’s not limited to global enterprises at all; it’s just that they may be growing a little faster here,” said Karan Virwani, director at WeWork
Virwani says that even global giants that have already had a presence in the country for a long time, such as Microsoft
and Discovery Channel, are utilising its space in India, thanks to experience using WeWork
elsewhere in the world.
is helping global firms come to India, it says the reverse is also true. Several Indian companies
with tiny sales offices across the globe are now looking at WeWork
as their space provider.