In today’s times walking out your door to explore new opportunities is not rare. Potential threats such as high rents, complex legal procedures, low-financial budgets are of the least concerns as co-working spaces are on the rise across India. Dreams today can be achieved at a notch easier level than a few years ago.
Receiving a client at the reception, participating in networking and mentoring events, tequila Monday’s, Beer meetings are just a few perks in addition to services such as high- speed internet, conference rooms, stocked up pantries and of course a limitless supply of caffeine along with a multitude of other such services.
With Startups in India thriving exponentially, a need for cost-effective, efficient workspaces is increasingly becoming a necessity. In such a scenario Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister has voiced her support and asked MP’s to nurture and build a strong ecosystem to boost innovation in India and empower numerous entrepreneurs by setting up co-working spaces in their respective constituencies.
Not just start-ups even giant corporates are letting employees work from co-working spaces near their homes. It helps save massive travel time, costs and can be especially valuable when moving to cities to cater to outbound clients. A lot of these spaces are occupied in large numbers by SME’s in addition to start-ups and entrepreneurs leading to a rising demand of co-working spaces. People who use co-working spaces have a positive outlook towards it, they feel more connected to what they’re doing, they have more job satisfaction and feel part of a greater community at large.
It would be modest to claim that collaborative work spaces are in it’s nascent stage, waiting to get under the limelight. With over 200 spaces already in the system the heat is intensifying amongst industry leaders, who are threatened by a massive influx of a plentitude of such spaces creeping into our industry at an exponential rate. Even non- metro cities such as Faridabad are witnessing a rise in co-working spaces with Ideashacks being one of the first to launch.
With the recent arrival of America’s most valuable co-working space WeWork, the competition has intensified amongst existing players. Innov8, Awfis, 91Springboard, BHive, ONE Co.Work, Colab are a few popular existing companies in India who also provide a premium range of services along with quality collaborative ecosystems.
Awfis, with its multiple operational centres, provides it’s customers access to instant real- time booking, which can be done just a few hours prior to arrival. Innov8 on the other hand is a leading Y Combinator company that also provides major incentives for women entrepreneurs, encouraging them through their #innov84women platform. Another leading Bengaluru company BHive is known for building a vast network through their events they undertake for entrepreneurs and also connecting their entire community using Facebook’s Workplace. And yeah it also provides high speed internet with a 99.9% uptime! Surely a major selling point for many. WeWork is one of the fast growing international company with a 2200 seater space recently launched in Bengaluru. It is infused with a blend of corporate houses, startups, freelancers and is a major hub for networking and head hunting too. It’s premium services certainly makes it a popular choice amongst many.
In such scenarios taking to rivalry marketing is not uncommon. In the E-commerce industry Amazon and Flipkart are constantly seen targeting each other, whether it’s an Independence Day sale ad on the front page of The Times of India or on social media.
In the past we’ve also seen Chennai based Freshdesk take on CRM giants Salesforce with a series of satirical ads on municipality buses around Dreamforce, the largest annual CRM event by Salesforce. The campaign was aptly called “Sorry we didn’t launch earlier” a message to all Salesforce customers who were believed to have wasted their money and resources since Freshdesk was not available earlier. To add to the drama Zoho, another competitor took to the skies to mock Salesforce too. The message read “#Outsmart Einstein. Zoho CRM” and “zoho.com/outsmart”.
In another instance, Flock, essentially an app meant for team collaboration and communication was seen taking on industry leaders Slack! From devising easy migration capabilities to using ambush marketing, Flock was seen going all guns blazing to take over the throne. We’ve seen ambush marketing present across multiple industries and soon it’s becoming a trend in the Co-working space too.
ONE Co.Work, a leading Delhi based space did not shy away from boldly claiming “We Work and Innnovate as ONE!” Clearly sending a message during their launch in Bengaluru to competitors WeWork and Innov8 that they are ready for any form of rivalry.
Companies are now striving hard to differentiate their product in terms of the quality of space they offer, amenities and by providing a 360 degree ecosystem where start-ups, entrepreneurs and great ideas can thrive.
But what is attracting international players to enter the Indian markets? While foreign entrants want to set base in India and understand the local markets, co-working spaces prove to be great learning modules for both the provider and the receiver. With the government increasingly supporting such spaces, it is easier for them to be a part of the competition. And with India expected to have over 11k+ tech startups by 2020, the excitement to enter the market is tremendous for overseas brands. Every one wants a piece of the freshly baked pie.
But marketing warfare in India is usually won by one major influence, price. And with multiple brands entering the field, pricing strategies are going to be the key influencers. With services such as swimming pools, gyms, access to healthcare, payment processing, IT support, etc. maintaining attractive prices while competing with industry leaders is a major hurdle that co-working spaces need to tackle.