Why Co-working Spaces Won’t Space You Out
A workspace of your own? Bad decision, thought some startup guys. The new thing is Co-working spaces. Check it out.
Startup couple Anand and Mehak Shahani don’t have money to burn. But as their content-driven wedding website, Wed Me Good expands, and they focus on building their app, a workspace becomes crucial. But a workspace with overheads draining away limited funds?
Bad decision. Junked.
Besides, who has time for housekeeping, err .. office keeping?
So, they opt for a co-working space.
The Shahanis operate out of 91 springboard, a co-working space in Gurgaon.
So, What’s a Co-Working Space?
It is a working space where startup teams can work after paying a membership fee, in return for services like internet, working space, meeting rooms, house-keeping, etc. Maintenance of all hardware, the work space including restrooms and coffee machines, is handled by the owner. Also, it’s home to some startup camaraderie.
A startup ourselves, we decided to check out a co-working space – like a ‘usual’ office, we found. Staid, even. No Google office, this.
And, surprisingly quiet. I confess my newsroom is noisier.
Katyayani Singh, co-founder of recipe based grocery company, Tigzie.com, is hammering away on her laptop. For her team of six, home was too small, and an office, too expensive. A co-working space was the smartest option.
GOT fans and students at Cornell University and UC Berkeley, Mahir Chadha and Devang Prasad too work out of this space. The duo, who are interning at Shopo, love the open atmosphere and says it has the ‘spirit’ of a startup.
Help At Hand
Manmeet Singh, Co-Founder of Quick Company, a startup that specializes in company registration, says he enjoys the informal ‘barter’ between start-ups here. He got sales support from a ‘neighbour’ startup. In turn, he helped them with product development.
Some prodding reveals the juicier bits of co-working - the guys at Quick Company say there’s a fair bit of ‘interest’ in the opposite sex working at other startups. One of their interns, is eye candy for a few women across the floor!
Manmeet says though he can now afford their own space, he is reluctant -
I love the two internet lines here. The meeting rooms here make it possible for us to meet clients. It gives a better impression than meeting at your messy house.
–Manmeet Singh, Co-Founder, Quick Company
What about distractions? 91springboard hosts 70 firms in a 20,000 sq feet space. Gautam Goli of TollMeQuick says its manageable, barring the odd celebration or heated conversation.
In fact, the Global Co-working Survey, 2012, noted that 68% respondents said they focus just fine while working in a co-working space.
Most small startup teams work in isolation. But at a co-working space, there’s a buzz. Meals and downtime are often spent socializing, even sharing work-issues at times. Clearly, co-working eases stress levels.
An IIM-A study on co-working cites, the Wiki of Co-working Survey, where co-workers rated the features they needed most from a co-working space, giving each a rating out of 5.
A collaborative environment got 4.1
Networking opportunities got 3.9
Meeting spaces got 3.7
24-hr access got 3.
Privacy scored just 2.8.
Most co-working spaces also offer mentorship support. Venture capitalists and other specialists are invited to help startups with a range of issues from funding, marketing, to scaling up, technology, etc.
91springboard has co-working spaces in Delhi, Gurgaon and Hyderabad, with over 75,000 square feet combined, hosting over 180 enterprises. It also has plans to open more spaces in Navi Mumbai and Noida too.
Pranay Gupta, Co-Founder, 91springboard says co-working spaces can work as incubators for startups. Angel investors do reach out for tie-ups with high visibility co-working spaces.
Pranay actually calls it a success when a startup exits 91springboard for a space of their own. It suggests that his co-working ‘nest’ has served its purpose well.
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