What is your idea of an office space? One company operating out of a single large office area? If it happens to be a commercial building, then several companies occupying different office halls or even floors to themselves?
Now imagine a dozen or more companies working in one large office hall without any boundaries or partitions. These companies also share business ideas with each other, and the office space provider, sometimes, even invests in them.
These business models known as ‘shared office spaces’ and ‘incubator offices,’ popular in the West already, are fast catching up in Delhi as well. And bringing these concepts to India are a handful of young entrepreneurs making life easier for new businesspersons like themselves.
One such shared office space in GK I – Moonlighting has been running for the past two years now. Its director Yatin Thakur informs us, “After graduating from Delhi University, I started as a social entrepreneur. With little resources at hand, I soon realised the challenges faced by start-ups, a significant one being finding an affordable office space.”
“Therefore, I came up with the idea of Moonlighting – a three-floor villa which easily houses a dozen companies. Everyone pools in money at the end of a month and pays the space owner.” The benefits of a shared office do not end at that. Yatin says, “Since the companies, whom we screen before admitting, come from diverse backgrounds, they help each other with services like marketing, IT, accounts, creative work and media management.”
Besides, the companies also assist each other with ideation and business development. A good example being an NGO working for women’s empowerment and an IT company helping it develop a mobile app for women’s security. Both are working at Moonlighting.
Another such shared office provider in Delhi – 91Springboard at Mathura Road – is even investing in the start-ups it admits and finds promising. One of its founder-member Apurv Agrawal explains, “Start-ups usually face difficulty in finding Capital money. So we buy equity in such companies, co-habiting our space, and later reap the dividends when the company starts doing well.”
“It is a long term business plan, but works well for us as well as young entrepreneurs looking for financial and -- support.”
No wonder the start-ups which have hopped aboard such platforms are a happy and satisfied lot. Anil Kumar of Acamor Journeys – a travel company, says, “There are so many advantages of working in a shared office. Not only do we save on office space money, but, are also provided up to date facilities like terminals, internet, cafeteria, hangout zones and conference rooms. Even the decor is done up brightly and cheerful events are organised.”
“More importantly, it provides an ideal start-up ecosystem. All of us young entrepreneurs here help each other, brain storm together, find solutions to problems and enjoy work. Frankly, I never imagined one could find so much value in a regular office space.”