Startup Street: myHQ Wants You to Co-Work on a Budget, out of Pubs
The interiors of Goregaon Social, the pub under the scanner.
The interiors of Goregaon Social, the pub under the scanner. (Photo: Facebook/Goregaon Social)

Startup Street: myHQ Wants You to Co-Work on a Budget, out of Pubs

This week on Startup Street, we look at a co-working space startup that’s looking to shake things up and make the space more exciting by letting you work out of cafes, lounges and pubs. Google’s Launchpad accelerator has selected its first batch of startups from India. And Foodpanda is eyeing discounts as it looks to play catch-up.

Here’s what went on.

Can a Subscription-Based Co-Working Model Thrive?

(Source: myHQ website)

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India’s co-working space is getting crowded. And myHQ, a New Delhi startup, is trying to stand out with its subscription-based model after recently closing a funding round.

“myHQ has a visit-based subscription model and there’s no monthly rental, no deposit and no lock-ins. With a subscription, the user has access to all myHQ locations,” Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Vinayak Agarawal told BloombergQuint in an email interaction. “Unlike other co-working spaces, myHQ is building a chain of work-friendly spaces by taking up curated spaces inside well-designed cafes, lounges and offices.”

Whether it’s a pub which isn’t operational during the day or a café which has unused inventory – myHQ exclusively focuses on such spaces and converts them into hassle-free work zones.
Vinayak Agarawal, Co-Founder and CTO, myHQ

The advantage in this, Agarawal said, is that the startup has a very asset-light model, which in turn can help it provide customers with a cheaper alternatives to the likes of WeWork, Awfis, Innov8 and CoWrks.

“Most of these established co-working providers charge Rs 10,000-20,000 per seat, which is expensive for the Indian mass market,” Agarawal said. “On the other hand, our sub-Rs 5,000 pricing makes us the most economical option in the market and gives us a great product fit for this audience.”

Because of the flexibility of our subscription plans and our economical price point, we’re in a unique position to cater to the large untapped market of freelancers and mobile white-collar working professionals.
Vinayak Agarawal, Co-Founder and CTO, myHQ

Last month, the startup raised $500,000 in a round led by Anupam Mittal of People Group that’s behind The round also saw participation from Sachin Bhatia, the co-founder of the dating website Truly Madly and the travel company MakeMyTrip, Nitish Mittersain of Nazara Tech, Singapore Angel Network and Outbox Ventures, among others.

myHQ plans to use the funds to expand outside the Delhi-NCR region where it already has 60 locations. The plan with the new round of funding, Agarawal said, is to “expand to over 200+ spaces across 2-3 cities.”

The startup is operationally profitable now and its gross revenue is growing at 30 percent month-on-month. Agarawal said that the lean model of operations helps them break even and achieve profitability very quickly. It also makes scaling up easier as the startup can go live with a new space in less than 10 days.

The demand for co-working spaces in India is rising. Co-working offices took up two million square feet space in the first three months of 2018, surpassing the tally for last year, according to a report by real estate consultancy Knight Frank. This is set to rise threefold by 2020, the report said.

Meet Google Launchpad’s First Batch of Indian Startups

Internet giant Google has selected ten startups for its inaugural Launchpad Accelerator programme in India that will provide the companies with mentoring, equity free support and cloud credits.

The first class will kick off on September 10 at Google's office in Bengaluru, the company said in a recent blog post. “Launchpad Accelerator India is Google’s three-month program that begins with a 2-week intensive mentorship bootcamp in Bengaluru, followed by customised virtual support for the remaining duration.”

(Source: Google India)

Applications for the Accelerator were opened in July 2018. The key criteria for selection was that startups provide a solution for an India-specific problem using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The shortlisted startups are doing incredible work in areas ranging from enhancing employability and earning-abilities of the blue-collar workforce, to using satellite imagery to support farmers’ decision making process.
Paul Ravindranath, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator India

The Ten Startups Selected for the First Class Are

  • CareNx: Smartphone-enabled fetal heart monitor for early detection of fetal asphyxia
  • Wysa: AI-based chat therapy for mental health
  • MultiBhashi: Simplified language learning platform for blue-collar workforce and the next billion Indian online users
  • Genrobotics: A semi-automatic robot for manhole cleaning directed to bring the practice of manual scavenging to an end in India
  • OliveWear: A connected health ecosystem of doctors to give personalised maternal care to pregnant women
  • Signzy: An on-boarding solution ensuring digital trust using AI and blockchain to provide smart e-verification and risk prediction
  • SlangLabs: Software platform for building multilingual voice interfaces for mobile apps, which enable app interactions via voice and touch
  • ten3THealthcare: An early detection system for preventable clinical adverse events by monitoring real time, remote, and continuous vital signs of patients
  • Uncanny Vision: Focused on vehicle analytics, people analytics and object analytics using high accuracy AI-based deep learning models
  • Vassar Labs: Using sensors, satellite and crowd-sourced data to provide decision-making support in sectors such as water supply, agriculture and education

Google runs its Launchpad Accelerator globally and has supported at least thirty Indian startups, including BabyChakra, Drivezy and Taskbob. It claims to have helped them collectively raise over $70 million and drive revenue growth of almost 500 percent.

Also Read : Concept of co-working spaces catching on in India

Foodpanda Is Offering Discounts to Catch up With Zomato, Swiggy

(Photo Courtesy: Foodpanda’s Facebook page)

Ola-owned Foodpanda India is looking at discounts to boost sales at a time when other players in the country’s red-hot food delivery space are beefing up their services through acquisitions and capital.

The food delivery startup has launched an initiative called ‘The Crave Party’ across its priority markets where it is offering desserts at Rs 9, popular categories of snacks starting at Rs 19 and biryani starting at Rs 79, according to a media statement. “Users will see specialised collections on the app for various such offerings during the campaign.”

Also Read : Google rolls out training for game startups from India, Southeast Asia

Through the initiative Foodpanda aims to boost its order volume tenfold. “Foodpanda has designed the offerings keeping the emerging trends and sentiments of the consumers in perspective, and at the same time aligning them with the business objectives,” the statement said.

The turf war for India’s food delivery space has been intensifying with market leaders Zomato and Swiggy turning unicorns. While Swiggy has Naspers and DST Global on its side as marquee investors, Zomato has backing from billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial. Ride-hailing giant Uber too has introduced UberEATS across the country. RedSeer estimates that the market is worth over $700 million.

Foodpanda was acquired by Ola’s parent ANI Technologies in December last year, committing a $200 million fund infusion. In February this year, it said it would spend Rs 400 crore to improve its network and hire 25,000 riders.

The latest campaign will also leverage Ola’s network by reaching out to its customer base. “On the technical and logistical fronts, we aim to hire the right set of people needed, leverage Ola’s prowess and ensure that the last mile is covered with strong customer support,” chief executive officer Pranay Jivrajka said in a statement.

Foodpanda said it will also be building a fleet of 60,000 delivery riders in the coming two months “to meet the demands of the campaign and ensure a seamless ordering experience for the consumers.”

(This story was originally published on BloombergQuint and has been republished by The Quint with permission.)

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