The office space format has come a long way since it was regarded solely as a place of work at a convenient location, with plain desks, chairs, and cabins comprising the overall set up. Over the past few years, we have seen the workplace evolve significantly in terms of space utilization, design, architecture, and tech innovation. Co-working spaces are no longer limited to only budget tight startups and freelancers. In the present time, it has become an attractive choice for many mid to large-sized enterprises. Prominent MNCs are now working out of co-working spaces and opting for co-working spaces for their expansion in different cities. Taking this concept to a new level, Neetish Sarda & Harsh Binani launched Smartworks in 2016.
The aim at Smartworks is to provide a completely managed and configured office spaces with world-class facilities and a collaborative community environment. The core of the business strategy is better employee engagement, employee happiness, and wellness in the workplace. Smartworks has worked on driving collaboration while establishing ways to increase productivity and this enthusiasm has been the driving factor that sets it apart. It’s a unique capability that stems from absorbing global best practices, coupled with hands-on real estate experience forms the foundation of its management strategy.
Smartworks – About and How it works
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The market for co-working space is on a growth trajectory in India with many players entering the sector as there is immense potential. Smartworks, in this space, differ from other companies as the focus is on flexible, managed and configured workspaces targeting enterprises with longer tenures. Smartworks creates a way of life that goes beyond being ‘just an office space’ with a laser focus on employee happiness and productivity across our facilities in the country.
It offers tailor-made offices and combines top-notch real-estate design, technology, and hospitality to create vibrant communities in the workplace.
With their rich experience and knowledge of real estate, the team can offer a readily configured workspace to clients within four to five weeks as compared to the traditional workspace providers who take nine to ten months to deliver the same.
Smartworks, as a venture, have a holistic approach to keeping members engaged and productive. Various services and events are ranging from its in-house F&B services, hobby clubs, corporate grooming sessions, yoga classes to live bands.
As a part of the Smartweekenday campaign focused on member happiness, Smartworks organizes regular events ranging from fitness, ‘shared-knowledge opportunities, food trails, skill-building workshops, leadership series, music, and dance therapy, bringing pets to work, to learning new courses and languages.
Smartworks App- It has an in-house smartphone application that facilitates collaboration & networking to increase work efficiency across centers. The app also reduces downtime as it offers real-time tech support and ensures issues are resolved as soon as possible.
Visitor Management System – Installation of the Visitor Management System ensures effective processing and tracking of your guests. Accuracy and security are well taken care of through digital registration and identification.
IoT based Meeting Room Bookings – Smartworks has an indigenously developed a meeting room solution that rides on the new age tech-IoT to efficiently manage meeting room bookings, generate utilization analytics, insights and can be white-labeled as per the customer needs.
Smartworks – Target Market Size
The growth of the co-working market is gaining momentum at a rapid pace. The reasons behind this growth are manifold, the foremost being the reduced cost of working out of co-working spaces instead of leasing entire buildings. The market size of co-working spaces across the country is expected to be 13.5 million users by 2020, entailing half of its contribution from enterprises that are expected to take up 10.3 million seats. Most of the industry players entering the picture instill India as a flexible space market across the Asia Pacific region.
Over the years of Smartwork’s operation, the team has analyzed the demand patterns and identified large enterprise segments to be ripe for the growth of co-working spaces. Smartworks has leveraged this opportunity and worked towards providing an unmatched office experience to large corporations and big MNCs including Fortune 500 companies.
The market demand is driven by agility, affordability, community collaboration and increased focus of established corporations by varied needs and Smartworks has been a pioneer in delivering these crucial aspects.
Smartworks have the potential to cater to 97% of the office market demand in the country, and today this customer segment forms more than 90% of its clientele. It has grown threefold since our inception in 2016 –both in numbers and revenue.
Smartworks – Founders and Team
The founders of Smartworks are Neetish Sarda & Harsh Binani. In April 2016, Smartworks made its foray into the Indian market with its differentiated offering of ‘managed office spaces.’ To enhance Smartworks leadership further, the team onboard Harsh Binani, it’s Co-founder who comes with a strong background in strategy and operations from McKinsey& Co’s Chicago office.
At Smartworks, Harsh has envisioned the overall strategic roadmap for the company, driving product development, customer experience, technology, and marketing. He is passionate about building a healthy work culture not only for Smartworks but also for all our member companies. Analytical, straightforward, and focused, he ensures that Smartworks is on a fast growth track and delivers value to all our clients.
Both Harsh and Neetish, are determined to make “Smartworks” the largest network of new age, managed office spaces in the country indexing on customer experience, design, technology, and community.
Smartworks – How did it start?
“My journey with Smartworks has been full of new experiences and challenges. My exposure to futuristic workspaces of the likes of Google and Microsoft in the US and Singapore as a college student helped me realize the probability of similar workspace disruption in India, which can maximize overall employee engagement and productivity.” Said Neetish.
At that time, India was undergoing tremendous workspace transformations and moving away from the conventional office format. Upon thorough research, Neetish found out that the pace of transition to smarter workspaces in India was way behind as compared to the West, due to limited workspace design innovations and infrastructural flexibility. This is when he decided to create an unparalleled office experience for Indian office goers, which is both accessible and affordable. He wanted to create a vibrant workspace with employee engagement sessions, corporate grooming workshops and recreational spaces for the aspirational workforce of today.
Since then, there has been no looking back, Smartworks created a new market altogether by putting together the best elements of conventional office space and a co-working space. The company’s laser-sharp focus on large enterprises has emerged as the preferred choice for enterprises when it comes to managed office spaces. Smartworks is building vibrant workspaces with the vision to make office fun again. The positive work environment translates into a place of productivity, engendering extra energy and better output.
Currently, the 95% commercial real estate absorption is attributed to enterprises in India. Analyzing the market potential, Smartworks has positioned itself as an enterprise-focused service, and the central idea behind this is to capture the bigger market.
Smartworks – Name, Tagline, and Logo
The name ‘Smartworks’ has been derived from our firm belief that excellence is a product of working smartly day in and day out. It’s tagline, ‘Workspaces that work for you’, indicates how well its workspaces work for all the clients irrespective of their size, nature of business or demography. The motto was simple ‘Create office spaces where people ‘want’ to go, not just ‘have’ to go!”. It’s office spaces are a combination of beautifully designed infrastructure, state of the art technology integration and amenities that are available to the members.
Smartworks – Startup Launch
Initially, when Smartworks had just launched, the team’s focus was on startups and freelancers. But after much research, they figured out that enterprises make up for the maximum market, and therefore they changed their strategy. Today, more than 90% of Smartworks revenue comes from enterprise clients.
Here are the three-pronged strategies that have led to the performance and growth of Smartworks in all these years:
Bringing large enterprises in the purview of coworking spaces
The very first decision to shift our focus from startups to large enterprises is what defines the story of Smartworks. It was a difficult decision, though, but turned out to be a wise one when the team looks back now. Smartworks started to completely revolutionize the way offices function in India. And it became imperative to cater to large enterprises that have tremendous potential for this industry and can help Smartworks establish its name in the market. And in just over three years, the team has successfully established Smartworks as a preferred Managed space office provider in India for large enterprises.
Investing in large facilities with faster turnaround time
Enterprises typically face significant challenges around new office space acquisition at the right location and its development. Business requirements of enterprises are unique, precise, and they look for long term leases where the location is the key priority. Smartworks invest significant time and research on such profitable buildings and take them on lease for 9 to 10 years. By doing this, Smartworks takes away all such challenges from the enterprises and provides them with completely fitted out/configured space within 4-6 weeks, which compliments their brand ethos and requirement. It matches the preferences of its clients, which has made Smartworks, the first preference/choice for large enterprises.
Focus on design and environment for productivity
Gone are the days when an organization would choose workspaces only because of its cost-effectiveness. The infrastructure and the experiential environment in a workplace plays a crucial role in keeping employees engaged, empowered, and happy. Artistic touches in workplace design like flooring, wall arts, graffiti, comfortable seating options, bio-phallic architecture, gaming zone, vibrant cafes convey the personality of a coworking site than any larger investments made by the companies. Attention to design and architecture in workspaces gives a big boost in employee productivity. In line with that aim, all Smartworks offices today are state-of-art smart buildings, all tech, and services enabled. The vibrant, colorful, and environment-friendly workspace is designed to suit the needs of the workforce of today, with more open spaces and lesser cabins- this ensures more communication and collaboration.
Smartworks – Business Model and Revenue Model
Smartworks primarily functions on the lease model, where it takes large bare-shell spaces on a long-term lease from landlords. These spaces are then configured as per the client requirements the space for enterprises and other companies looking for an agile co-working space. Our minimum lease term is for three years, and on an average, a client takes about 280 seats, which is 10,000 sq. ft. area. So, we are into a large format play, unlike a regular co-working space. The idea is to move beyond providing space as a rigid commodity and offer workspace as a service based on varied requirements.
Smartworks – Startup Challenges
Initially, one of the hurdles that Smartworks faced was challenging the preconceived notions of MNCs and Indian enterprise giants, who were reluctant to leave their comfort zones and trust a coworking space with their operations.
The team then went on to focus on providing not just an office space, but a holistic office experience. Right from the infrastructure, technology, employee engagement activities, configured offices, we catered to every demand of our customers. At Smartworks, they believe in providing cutting-edge innovation and technology. This decision proved to be a game-changer for the venture because it could successfully add value to its client’s work life in terms of lending vibrancy, boosting productivity and ensuring employee happiness.
“Today, we feel proud of how we have revolutionized the whole office experience for our clients and have become India’s largest provider of agile workspaces with a growing footprint.” Added Neetish.
Smartworks – Funding and Investors
Smartworks has raised $25 million in Series-A funding from Singapore-based real estate giant Keppel Land, on a minority stake. With this strategic investment, the venture will be able to scale up even more rapidly across India’s Tier I cities where it has its presence and further invest in building up our next generation product, improving client experiences, as well as boosting our talent and technology.”
Smartworks – Growth
Smartworks is headquartered in Noida, India is the only homegrown agile workspace provider that has become profitable in India. It has presence across all top 9 metros cities in India with 29 centers in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata with the total footprint of 3.8 Mn sq.ft. Smartworks today has its presence across 29 locations in 9 cities in India and has emerged as the market leader in Chennai and Pune on a consolidated basis with a growing footprint of 3.8 million sq.ft. at pan India level.
The team has consistently built high-quality workspaces dovetailed with impeccable hospitality, design, and technology. Moreover, their key focus areas remain designing, productivity and employee engagement programs to elevate member experience.
Smartworks’ presence and expansion in all these cities is a testament to its lucrative business model and our massive growth journey over the years. It has recently raised $25 Million from Singapore-based real estate giant, Keppel Land in series-A funding. Smartworks now aim to utilize this strategic funding to expand its footprint and to workstation counts across the cities where it already has a presence.
Smartworks – Awards and Recognition
The awards that Smartworks has won over the years are:
- Coworking Leader of the Year 2020 (South) Award by Realty Plus, an Exchange4media group publication in Realty Plus Coworking Summit and Awards 2020.
- Coworking Brand of the Year 2020 – Pune by Realty Plus, an Exchange4media group publication.
- ET Most Promising Entrepreneur of India at The Economic Times Promising Entrepreneurs of India 2019 event held on March 29, 2019.
The recognitions under its name are:
Smartworks made it to Linkedin’s List of Top 25 Startup companies to work for in 2019.
Smartworks has also participated in the following conclaves as a keynote speaker:
- ET Global Summit 2019.
- ET GBS Summit 2020
- 11th Edition of CII Realty & Infrastructure Conclave- Commercial Real Estate: Building a Sustainable Future.
- APREA and NAREDCO’s Real Estate and Infrastructure Investors’ Summit- India – The renewed investment frontier
- 10th Realty Conclave: Excellence Awards – West – Offices Parks Investor Strategy – Flexibility vs location
Smartworks – Future Plans
In the series of growth, it has recently leased out India’s largest coworking facility in Koregaon Park, Pune. It is a 5 Lakh sq.ft. facility and will be operational by 2021.
“As the entire co-working/ agile workspaces segment grows in India, we believe that constant innovation, customization, as well as customer happiness, will help distinguish Smartworks and its service offerings from other coworking firms in the country. Over the next 4-5 years, we aim to expand to 20 million sq. ft. and provide office solutions for over 200,000 working professionals.” Concluded Neetish.