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Sequoia-backed Awfis gets $20 mn in equity funding, venture debt

Delhi-based Awfis Space Solutions Pvt Ltd, which offers shared working spaces, has raised $20 million in its Series C round of funding from new and existing investors, the company said in a statement.

Existing investors who put in money were Sequoia Capital and The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO), the family office run by Radha, Raakhe and Roshini Rana Kapoor, the three daughters of Yes Bank founder and managing director Rana Kapoor. Temasek-backed venture debt firm Innoven Capital was the new investor in this round.

A company spokesperson said that the latest funds infusion was a mix of equity and debt but did not elaborate on the proportion.

Awfis will use the capital to expand its footprint across the country by opening more centres in existing markets and entering new cities with a focus on Tier II locations, Amit Ramani, founder and chief executive of Awfis, said in the statement.

The fresh round of funding comes a little over a year after the startup raised $20 million (Rs 127 crore) in a Series B round of funding from existing investor Sequoia India.

Awfis
The three-year-old startup was jointly incubated with a total capital investment of $11 million in April 2015 by Ramani and The Three Sisters. It currently has a network of 55 centres across nine cities.

Over the last two months, the company signed deals for leasing space, which amonts to 0.25m sq. ft in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Noida. Its now has a total real estate footprint of 1.5 million sq ft, the statement said.

In the previous financial year, Awfis claims to have bagged 25,000 seats comprising a total member base of over 15,000 in comparison to 5,800 seats in 20 centres with a member base of over 4,000 in July 2017. Vodafone, Mercedes Benz, Reserve Bank of India, Hitachi, ShareKhan, Zomato and Practo are among its clients.

Co-working spaces in India
Co-working space firms operate on two business models: in one, startups either lease an office space or buy one, and in the other model, startups use some sections within restaurants, cafes and other public areas as working spaces. Startups such as Innov8, 91Springboard, CoLife, and InstaOffice follow the first model, while those such as myHQ follow the second one. Awfis operates its business based on a mix of these two models.

Awfis is perhaps the most funded Indian player in this space having raised a total of $51 million. The sector is beginning to gather steam with a number of ventures springing up in recent times.

Last year in July, New York-based WeWork also forayed into India with a 2,200-seater community workspace christened as ‘WeWork Galaxy’ at Residency Road in Bengaluru.

It has since gone on to open three more co-working spaces with the latest addition in Mumbai announced earlier this month.

A number of ventures in this space have also raised funding in recent times

Earlier this month, Bengaluru-based co-working startup ClayWorks Spaces Technologies Pvt. Ltd raised $250,000 in venture debt from Nisus Fincorp, the non-banking financial arm of Nisus Finance.

Last month, co-working space startup IndiQube raised $15 million (close to Rs 100 crore) in a Series A round from WestBridge Capital Partners.

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