This proptech startup is redefining end-to-end coworking spaces
Real Estate

This proptech startup is redefining end-to-end coworking spaces

India is poised to be the third largest economy by 2030, with startups and unicorns helping drive growth significantly. In an age where almost every service can be obtained as a solution, startups no longer work out of backyard garages but from lease...

India is poised to be the third largest economy by 2030, with startups and unicorns helping drive growth significantly. In an age where almost every service can be obtained as a solution, startups no longer work out of backyard garages but from leased-out coworking office spaces. Building on this trending idea, IndiQube offers an innovative end-to-end space management solution that has quickly garnered attention in the proptech sector. Having spearheaded a couple of startups earlier, Meghna Agarwal, Co-Founder, IndiQube, had a first-hand understanding of what startups and growth companies struggle with and require. An accidental start While looking for a space for a startup, Agarwal couldn’t find one for her actual requirement of 50,000-60,000 sq ft and ended up taking a property measuring 100,000 sq ft. This seasoned entrepreneur leased outthe balance space, majorly to startups and offshore development centres. These further utilised her food and transportation services at a fee, services that Agarwal found were easy to scale up to accommodate their added demands. “In 2014, we needed back the space for expanding our operations and had to ask these companies to vacate,” she shares. “They, in turn, asked us to take a building for them and manage it, as it was not their forte.” The first building the founders got housed 250,000 sq ft of usable space on Bengaluru’s Outer Ring Road. Within three months, the entire building was leased out, which came as an unexpected shock. With it came a stark realisation: “Either you have tech parks that house big companies or smaller offices run and managed by people with no proper background. Between these two, there is a huge gap where growth companies fit in and a large market for us to tap into.” Soon enough, Agarwal had a second building of 80,000 sq ft added to the offering, which KPMG took over within a month. With the idea successfully gaining traction, IndiQube was incepted in 2015. The instant boost IndiQube discovered that the solution it was offering had more customers than it could cater to. In the first three years, the company grew from 1 million sq ft to nearly 4 million sq ft. The startup even secured its first round of funding in 2018 for Rs 1 billion. “Soon after that, the pandemic hit and the first to go were the startups,” recollects Agarwal. However, even in that period, IndiQube demonstrated a 20 per cent growth. Now, with market demand picking pace again, its charts have also picked up. IndiQube currently has 6 million sq ft with 84 per cent occupancy and the startup has been EBITDA positive all throughout. Additionally, the pandemic has propelled other conventional businesses to consider operating out of a coworking space. “For instance, logistics, a sector we had never imagined relying on an IndiQubemodel, has signed up for 50,000-60,000 sq ft.” The next step in the solution was to cater to clients all over India. Eighty per cent of the clientele still continues to be startups and growth companies. The operating models Educating people about the offering was one of the first steps Agarwal took in establishing a brand presence. “We have two offerings, persqft and perseat,” she explains. “We offered the per-sq-ft model as an à la carte service on a trial basis, which clients can abdicate if they are not satisfied.” For the initial years, clients always opted for the per-sq-ft model and gradually updated it to the per-seat one. Today, the numbers have flipped and about 90 per cent of clients directly opt for the per-seat model. Elaborating on what clients get, Agarwal says, “We provide end-to-end space management solutions, as agile and flexible as possible, which is not just a plug-and-play office. Once we have an existing space, we offer our solution powered by technology. The clients can use our renovation services, check and monitor air quality, and check the sustainability factor all from one dashboard. Additionally, they can track the number of employees present, visitors received, food consumed, and transportation required or utilised.” Moreover, this dashboard can be accessed by clients with any number of branches panIndia. As a result, there is no discernible difference between their offices housed and managed by IndiQube and by themselves – either in service or in appearance. What’s more, the startup provides collaborative subsidies for other services like food or parking spaces, which are all configurable as per individual clients’ policies and requirements, and billed on a pay-and-use basis. There are also means in place to allow companies to opt for services based on a prefunding and post-funding model. End-to-end space management IndiQube’s service includes both a hardware and software offering. “But it is decoupled,” clarifies Agarwal. “The hardware is the building and the software is the interiors of the building and the application of the services and the technology over that.” The ownersof the building are not the operators of the building. IndiQube offers three operating models. The A offering is a basic plug-and-play type of space management solution, which can be provided in their own space or in any other space the client has leased out. The B offering involves offering renovation and interior services to clients. The C offering is where clients seek IndiQube’s tech-augmented managing services for a space they have leased and renovated by themselves. “For example, a client can then ask us to manage one of their offices say, in Bengaluru. For Kochi, they would want to come to our building and avail a plug-and-play solution for their office. And maybe they have an office in Ahmedabad that is old and dilapidated where they will want us to do their interiors and then manage it,” elaborates Agarwal. Depending on their individual requirements, we can do a combination of the A, B and C models. “When IndiQube is managing it, every detail is captured and displayed on their platform across all their offices.” For the interiors, IndiQube has an interactive design team of 100 designers who work on understanding the client branding, culture and requirements to offer a retail interior design solution that is on a par with all their other branches. “The designers can incorporate sustainability factors in the designs with the use of green-certified products,” says Agarwal. “A lot of clients insist on incorporating green areas or vertical gardens into their interiors. Agile spaces and flexible furniture are demands we receive a lot, especially from our growth clients.” The inhouse execution team then goes ahead and implements by outsourcing vendors as required after a thorough assessment. Additionally,the teams are constantly researching new materials and furniture layouts to add to their solution range. Finally, services are offered in the form of configurable models. These can be tweaked from the smallest to the largest details, ranging from the number of receptionists required to the layout, number and size of meeting rooms. All these layers are represented on a number of handy platforms. Members can use the MiQube app to check for the availability of food or transport. The tenant admin portal ensures the managing of the services and modules takes place to cater to members. Finally, the ServiQube App for on-ground management personnel tracks their activities in a paperless form. Future outlook Recently this startup secured its Series B round of funding amounting to $30 million from its existing investors, WestBridge Capital and Ashish Gupta, an angel investor. Going ahead, Agarwal shares, “By 2023, we plan to reach a pan-India footprint of more than 10 million sq ft, venture into 15+ Tier-2 cities and further ramp up technology integration, creating a consistent experience for our clients.” Fact file Clients: Myntra, Philips, KPMG, Allegis, Hitachi, Elanco, Standard Chartered, Enphase, Unacademy, Fivetran, RedBus, Scripbox, LendingKart, brillio, Chargebee Client profiles: Offshore development companies, SAAS companies, growth companies, startups, unicorn companies, MNCs, VCs Demand driving sector: Tech Total floor space: 6 million sq ft Cities: Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Noida, Gurgaon, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Madurai, Kochi Offerings: Private offices, enclosed cabins, open seats, board rooms, training rooms, daily passes, virtual offices.

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