Co-working firm Smartworks raises Rs 175 cr from Singapore”s Keppel Land

New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) Co-working firm Smartworks Thursday announced raising of USD 25 million (about Rs 175 crore) from Singapore”s Keppel Land Ltd to fund its expansion plan of more than doubling the seating capacity to one lakh.

Founded in April 2016, Smartworks Coworking Spaces Pvt Ltd currently has 23 co-working centres, comprising about 43,000 seats spread over 2.3 million sq ft area, across nine cities.

“We have raised USD 25 million from Keppel Land. This is our first round of external funding. We wanted to have a strategic partner for growth. The fund will be utilised for expansion,” Smartworks founder Neetish Sarda told reporters here.

Sarda said the company has invested USD 20 million in the past three years to set up this business.

“This investment allows Keppel Land to enter one of the world”s fastest growing flexible office markets, opening doors for further growth through this collaboration,” said Tan SweeYiow, chief executive officer, Keppel Land.

On the expansion plan, Sarda said the company is targeting to reach 35-40 centres, comprising one lakh seats spread over 5 million sq ft in the next one-and-a-half years.

The company will also invest in technology and talent acquisition, he added.

Smartworks co-founder Harsh Binani said the company has already finalised leasing of 1.5 million sq ft area for expansion.

The company mostly focuses on large corporates and its clients take on an average 250-300 seats.

Smartworks charges on an average Rs 10,000 per seats, although the per-seat fee ranges from Rs 6,000 to Rs 30,000 depending on the location.

Asked about revenue, Binani said the company is expecting a turnover of Rs 300 crore this fiscal year as against Rs 100 crore last year.

Binani said the company is already profitable at an entity level with an Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margin of 9 per cent, which he said would grow significantly this fiscal year.

Smartworks has a presence in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.

Besides expanding presence in the 9 cities, Sarda said the company would enter tier-II cities such as Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore.

Its centres currently cater to over 400 companies including Amazon Web Services, Bacardi, DHL, Ernst & Young, Jaguar Land Rover, Microsoft Corporation and Samsung, among others.

The co-working segment in India is growing at a rapid pace and their operators are already leasing 15 per cent of the overall absorption of office space in 78 major cities. There are around 400 co-working players in the country.

Keppel Land is the property arm of Keppel Corporation, a multi-business company with key businesses in marine, property, infrastructure and investments. PTI MJH HRS