Smartworks eyes ambitious expansion plans in the country
Smartworks — the managed and flexible office space provider — is eyeing ambitious expansion plans in the country, with the strategy to tap large companies paying off for the firm.
Amid an upsurge in demand for such spaces after the pandemic and the trend expected to sustain, Smartworks expects this number to rise to 6 million square feet by the end of this fiscal year and 20 million sqft in the next 36 months.
Smartworks is looking to double its capacity in Bengal from 200,000sqft at present.
It is also targeting a presence in eastern cities such as Ranchi, Patna and Bhubaneswar.
“When we commenced operations, co-working was perceived as having small offices, a floor in a building catering to start-ups or SMEs. However, we realised that while co-working is a big segment, in India, the managed office space that caters to enterprises offers a bigger opportunity. So, we thought of creating a flexible model for such enterprises,’’ Neetish Sarda, founder of Smartworks, said.
This strategy has yielded results with Smartworks that commenced operations in 2016-17, turning profitable in 2019. It now has over 450 clients, 95 per cent of which are enterprises like Microsoft, Amazon, EY, Starbucks, and Samsung to name a few in different locations.
Sarda disclosed that while Smartworks raised Series A funding of $ 25 million from Keppel Land, Singapore in 2018-19, it may go for another round of equity infusion in the next financial year.
He admitted that the firm might also look at an initial public offering (IPO) though this may happen in the next three to four years.
His growth plans come at a time when corporates are seeking more flexible or managed offices (a workplace that is entirely managed by another operator), thanks to the pandemic.
“The pandemic had a seminal effect on how occupiers reviewed their real estate strategies. Given the still-evolving situation around return to the office and a hybrid workplace strategy, cost optimisation, specialised services, and flexibility are key perspectives for occupiers as they plan ahead,’’ says a CII-JLL report.
The report added that the flex space industry found the initial days of the pandemic tough and a still prevailing and extended work from home scenario continuing to impact center-level occupancies.
“The sector, however, has pivoted during this period as demand from enterprises and big corporates has seen a surge’’, it observed.