Noida is Uttar Pradesh’s IT hub and attracts techies from far and wide. In the last few years, the city has seen growth in the number of MNCs opening their offices, and is becoming a startup hub as well. However, with many offices shut due to COVID-19, co-working is emerging as a viable alternative.
Considering the need of the hour, Nayan Verma and Vishal Datt Wadhwa founded CoWorkZen, a Noida-based co-working and incubation/guidance startup that will be launched on July 29, 2021 by Ashish Bhutani (MD, Bhutani Infra), who is also the mentor to this project.
CoWorkZen solves two main problems for businesses:
- For operational businesses, it helps them to scale by taking over any and all the overheads of managing the office by providing customised solutions as per the requirements of the clients in terms of cabin designs, requirements like attendance management, private network, firewall, etc.
- For new businesses, CoWorkZen provides incubation as well as startup guidance. Incubation and mentoring programmes will be planned twice a year, wherein a select few startups will be mentored by industry experts to help them perfect everything around running the business – starting from setting up of the company, HR process, sales process, and so on.
“These things typically take two years for a startup to form a grip around. If a startup is lucky enough to not have these challenges in its initial phase, these become a hurdle in the path of growth,” Founder Nayan Verma tells YS.
Founders (L-R): Nayan Verma and Vishal Datt Wadhwa
Through guidance, startups can pick and choose the required modules and get specific training from the team of experts (subject to availability of the mentor or expert).
“The respective modules are bundled with relevant SaaS applications like Zoho One for complete business automation, Amazon Web Services credits for complete cloud computing management, and so on,” Nayan adds.
Located 150 meters from Noida Electronic City Metro station in the IThum Tower, the 3,172 sq ft office features 17 cabins with a total of 77 workstations. Around 15 startups can work from the space between 9 am – 9 pm.
“This space has a potential of driving revenue up to Rs 85 lakh in the first year by various services,” Founder Vishal Datt Wadhwa says.
Individual desks start at Rs 6,500 per seat, and cabin seats start from Rs 7,500 per seat — with multiple options from single-seater to 16-seater cabins available. The centre also has two training rooms with a capacity of 35 each, and one training room with a capacity of 100 people so that corporates can conduct training, product launches or meetups.
The construction of another 4,550 sq ft office will start by the end of August.
“By the end of this year, we will have three more units in Noida itself, and then expand to other cities. The other locations are also being planned with metro stations in consideration for better connectivity,” Vishal adds.
Plans to run the space
Nayan says that the startup plans to run the space using technology-enabled devices and applications.
“Starting from onboarding of the co-worker and the startup to taking care of their day-to-day requirements like booking a meeting/conference room/training room, requesting documents, etc and off-boarding – everything is going to be taken care of by the web/mobile application,” he says.
The occupants and the members will get continuous updates regarding events, coaching and other schedules on the app and through email, based on their subscription. “We have also gone ahead and standardised the process such as providing a holiday calendar — which no co-working space has done so far,” Nayan claims.
Started with an investment of Rs 40 lakh, the startup plans to market the place through direct sales via Google/Facebook ads, walkins, etc, as well as by community meetups.
The founding team
Nayan graduated in civil engineering from Galgotias University, Uttar Pradesh. An entrepreneur at heart, he believes in continual improvement and the need to stay focused on achieving goals through technological advancements.
Currently, Nayan is the Founder and CEO of Training Basket, which helps students bridge the skill gap. It also has sub-brands – Job Basket and Web Basket.
Vishal Datt Wadhwa is a Computer Science graduate from Anna University, Chennai. He has been working with startups since 2005 when he booked his first domain name on the internet. Currently, Vishal is also the Founder and CEO of ThinkWP Labs (authorised Zoho implementation partner) that helps businesses to achieve sales and business automation.
The duo met while doing a CRM implementation.
“Lockdown saw a perfect opportunity to start up since the corporates will be looking for more efficient ways to place their workforce, and will be looking for a place where they can raise teams, call clients, if needed, and have a good work environment,” adds Vishal.
At CoWorkZen, Nayan looks after all the infrastructural and sales parts such as selection of the place, construction and design, and leads the sales team for execution.
Vishal looks after everything technology and community, starting from setting up the entire tech ecosystem to managing the coworking space, booking engine, payment gateway, and setting up of the community forums, events and everything around the same.
CoWorkZen has a team of six people right now.
The way ahead
According to property consultant CBRE, co-working spaces lease close to ten million sq feet area in India in 2019. With the multiple offices shutting down their bigger branches, hybrid teams and working from another location gaining trend, co-working is getting more traction than ever before.
“The pandemic has pushed the country towards technology, thus more startups around the space are going to come up solving all the corporate problems that were raised during the lockdown and work from home scenario, thus giving more requirement for co-working spaces,” Nayan says.
“Corporates from other cities which are looking to hire workforce or executives in Noida, and startups who wish to get guidance in terms of management, product, sales, human resources, etc will be our target audience,” he adds.
CoWorkZen’s existing clients include ServerGuy Inc, HariOm Electronics, NPRA and Associates, and a couple more.
“This is a new place, but we are 35 percent booked in the pre-launch,” says Vishal.
The founder team is going to raise at least five centres before looking for external investment.
“The project is currently bootstrapped. Investors will be involved post the brand attaining some traction and running on the positive side of the graph,” Nayan says.
According to Nayan, they will expand in Noida at first, with at least four centres, and then move ahead with other cities.
“Our focus could shift to Tier-II cities based upon the learning that comes from the business,” Vishal states.
The brand is also coming up with an academy that will be coaching startups on how to build the business and will include mentoring on ideology, product, and technology.
“The vision is to empower the business owners to focus on the niche work and relieve them of any infrastructural overheads which are owned by the businesses in the present times,” says Nayan.
The other coworking spaces in Noida include Awfis, Smartworks, 91SpringBoard, InstaOffice, ABL Workspaces, myHQ, Innov8 by OYO, Qdesq etc.