Bengaluru based IndiQube aims to launch a co-working cum co-living property by 2019-end.

We focus on a holistic experience in our communes Indiqube Chairman Rishi Das to TNM
Atom Interview Monday, July 15, 2019 - 22:39

“We go beyond just space and provide opportunities for businesses to focus on their goals.” This is what IndiQube — a co-working space provider based in Bengaluru that is into managed office spaces, prides itself on. 

When Rishi Das, Co-founder and Chairman of IndiQube, set up the CareerNet Consulting office space from scratch, he had first-hand experience of the strain on resources for a startup. He realised that the business world was full of entrepreneurs who needed to find the ideal space to grow their business, without having to worry about the everyday hassles of setting up and running a company efficiently. IndiQube was born out of that need and from the very beginning, has been focused on being a growth catalyst for evolving companies. 

In 2011, we realised that after every two years, we were changing office for CareerNet because we were growing so fast, says Rishi. When you move out offices, you spend a lot of money on infrastructure. So we thought why don’t we pick up a large building which is like a built-to-suit campus and move there. We had a lot of clients coming from the US. 

As planned, we picked up about 40,000 sq. feet of space and 60,000 sq. feet we gave to different companies. When these companies came in, they started asking for more. They wanted to use the other facilities like internet lease line, EPABX systems, boardroom once a month, training rooms and so on. Whatever amenities we created for our own requirement, most of these companies wanted to use them. This is because they were smaller companies and did not have the economies of scale to build a lot of that and requirements were also not very consistent. They were happy on a pay-as-you-use kind of a model. While doing all of this, in a 12-month period, in 2014, we realised there is a big gap in the market and if we come up with an offering around this, it can work fairly well. 

So we (myself along with my wife Meghna) formalised this business, and January 2015 is when the business started. 

Types of customers 

We have broadly 4 segments of customers, says Rishi. One set of customers are very early stage companies, typically less than 20 people which includes freelancers also and micro-enterprises. Most of these companies are bootstrapped. They have not raised any money, even angel investors are not there in most of them. 

Second segment is the funded startups typically like Series A and Series B, going up to Series D. This is where the bulk of our business comes from. 

Then we have another category called the Offshore Development Centres (ODCs). Typical captives, Bay-area funded companies like Rubrik, ThoughtSpot. These are companies with less than $2 billion market cap in US who are looking at a good engineering centre in India. 

The fourth segment is the corporates like E&Y, Stanchart, Grant Thornton, Samsung, KPMG, including Fortune 500 companies. 

Our average building sizes are 1 lakh sq. feet typically which can accommodate about 2,000 seats. We have also created dedicated spaces going from 100 to 300-400 seats. 

We are able to provide personalisation to all these companies typically depending on their nature of business. 

According to Rishi, maximum traction is in the second category, i.e. funded startups because we are seeing a lot unicorns coming up. Huge funding is coming to those kind of companies. Today, we are inundated with queries for 500 to 2000 seats. These are late-stage companies which have emerged in the last 2-3 years. 

Partnerships / Collaborations

Our focus is to provide any enterprise that is coming into our communes a holistic experience. We have partnerships for food with Freshmenu, Curefit. Similarly for beverages, we have partnerships with Lavasa, Cafe Coffee Day, Chai Point. 

We have partnerships with Reliance in IT infrastructure. We have partnerships with Tata, Airtel for offering any kind of internet solutions. Multiple partnerships have been struck to ensure that the experience that our clients are getting is holistic, and we also ensure that the mobile app should be the primary interface for accessing any of these services.

Co-living cum Co-working property

The thought that came in was how we can reduce the carbon footprint, that is, if any employee is coming to the office, how can the distance be minimised. We are looking at the co-living concept. We are taking a holistic approach and the whole idea is to create a concept of reducing the commuting distance to work. Idea is you stay where you work. 

One building which we are doing now is in Hebbal, it is a 1.5 lakh sq. feet building and another one is in Silk Board. This is looking at 2-3 months kind of stay. 

Flexible Workspaces

For companies that are very small typically 8-10 seats, we provide a level of flexibility that you can change your capacity on a monthly basis. You can scale up or scale down on a month’s notice. The kind of flexibility we provide to these companies is that when they come to IndiQube, they commit to us for 3 years. We ensure that we provide space in the same micro-market or cluster. 

Bengaluru has almost 15 clusters (Koramangala, HSR Layout, etc.) where we see that a lot of IT, startup activity is there. This is our promise that we will give an option within a 2-km radius and we are continuously taking more buildings which is why we are able to do it. 

Secondly, we have a pyramid of customers which is quite heterogenous. We have companies who have taken 20, 50, 100 and 200 seats. So the 20 can move to 50, 50 to 100 and so on. ThoughtSpot came with 4 seats and in two years, they are at 350 seats today.  

Apart from flexible workspaces, IndiQube provides other services such as transportation, valet parking, concierge, research, HR services, legal help, etc.which ensures a hassle-free experience for employees working out of IndiQube offices. 

Business size and Locations

IndiQube has successfully penetrated deep into the startup hub of Bengaluru with 30+ office spaces strategically located at prime locations with around 3 million sq. ft. of cumulative workspaces. IndiQube has 4 office spaces in Pune and one each in Hyderabad and Mumbai. It is looking at new markets for expansion viz. Delhi and Chennai.

Funding and Growth plans

We raised a round of capital last year from WestBridge Capital which is a $15 million equity round. We have currently close to 3 million sq. feet of space which is signed up and we have 1.5 million sq. feet space which is delivered. Close to 25,000 to 30,000 people are already working out of our communes and we are looking at doubling this number by the end of this financial year. 

Evolution of this sector

I think we have reached a level in the last 4 years in this industry where people are now looking at a permanent and large space, says Rishi. Now, long stay-large size is the key driver and that is how the industry is getting the scale. 

The larger corporations are looking at this very seriously. We have signed up E&Y who are expanding with us. The large companies have realised that this model is here to stay and gives them fundamentally higher value from all perspectives. 

Startups are going to be there but scale and consistency in this business is going to be driven by the larger enterprises or the emerging unicorns like Paytm, Redbus and so on. 

I would say this is like the 2.0 of commercial real estate in a lot of ways.

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