'We will expand Spaces in all major markets'

By Praveen Kumar S Published on Jul 28, 2018 02:43 PM IST

PART-2

Chennai: In this two-part series, country manager, IWG plc, Harsh Lambah continues to talk about co-working spaces, particularly about the Indian market and IWG's expectations.

"IWG entered (India) in 2005. It (co-working spaces) is a very scalable business. We have more than doubled our centres in three to four years and we are looking to double once again in the next three years," said Harsha Lambah about the Indian market.

IWG offers its customers the feature of being able to avail any of their 3,300 workspaces all around the globe if needed. About the feature he said, "We have two other services that we offer customers. One is virtual office where any entrepreneur who works from home, who wants an office can reach out to us. They can work at that office for five days a month. Another service is 'business world' where a customer can access any of our workspaces globally or in India. It is a monthly payment plan of Rs 5,000 plus taxes. They can go to any Spaces office globally."

He added that IWG is focussed on offering both workplace and workspace solutions. The firm at the moment is present in the London Stock Exchange with a market cap of about 3 million pounds.

Asked how big Spaces is at the moment, Lambah said, it is not huge but growing rapidly. "In terms of the entire company, we have less than 100 Spaces outlets out of the total 3,300 offices owned by IWG. But we are growing very fast. We have decided to be 'the' platform provider and that is why we have different brands. Whatever the customer wants, we can do that. Customers can find choice within the IWG family rather than looking outside.

Core difference between Regus and Spaces

Speaking about the core difference between Regus and Spaces, Lambah said is about how professional or customisable the office is. "Spaces is 40,000-1 lakh sq ft, while Regus is from 8,000-15,000 sq ft. The concept itself requires a lot of space. That is why Regus is better suited for tier-II cities at the moment. Spaces is clearly suited for all the major metros and we will be expanding Spcaes in all major metros."

"The customer sometimes doesn't really know what they want. That is why we take them to the tour and show them everything. Our offices are customisable. Ideally, for us when we have customers who come in while building a workspace, it would make it easier," he said.

Difficulties

Asked if IWG is facing difficulties in enlarging the co-working space at the moment, Lambah said, "We are not facing any difficulties in bringing customers. A large part of our work is to create awareness about the industry as well. As other players have come in, the category has widened. Co-working is now a mainstream industry now. It brings more wider choice. Our intention is to bring the value as the industry leader."

India most promising market

Lambah was asked if he considers India as the most promising market to make investments and he said, "It is very important and we want to be there and fulfill that need when customers come in. For example, we are not able to find the right buildings in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. We follow a lot of norms like fire certificate. We meet the health and safety guidelines of the best of the best and that is why Amazon or Facebook do not think twice before they come in because they know that we have done the due diligence.

Expectations
 Speaking about expectations from the Indian market, Lambah said, "Expectations are very good. We are getting good commercial elements. We have seen very good developments in major metros. We are in talks with a lot of developers, we work closely with most developers in India. Our focus is to make the workspace available for our customers when they want, where they want. We are te first choice for developers in India as the IWG brand gives them the brand name and it brings them new customers. It is a win-win situation for us. A lot of innovation is coming in. An entrepreneur these days does not want to bother about administration and so we are happy to support new entrepreneurs and start-ups."