CHENNAI: Shanmugavel Sankaran was in a fix when his investors asked him to shift base from Vellore to Chennai. Looking for a mix between a cool office and one that is within a startup’s budget, he finally zeroed in on Karya Space, a co-working setup in the heart of the city. While coworking as a concept has been around, increasing rentals coupled with a booming startup ecosystem are pushing entrepreneurs, on tight budgets, to seek collaborative work spaces such as Karya Space, @works and IKEVA in the city.
Born out of their own experience while starting up, brothers Ashwin and Shravan Shankar decided to set up @works which has properties in six locations across the city including the IT corridor in OMR and Alwarpet. Demand has led to the opening of a new location in Nungambakkam last week. The organised spaces with good internet connectivity attract freelancers, software engineers and artists, creating a vibrant work culture. “You get to collaborate with different people without expecting it,” says Shruti Omprakash, principal architect at Drawing Hands Studio, who worked out of several cafes before settling down at @works, Alwarpet.
While co-working spaces are gaining steam now, local cafes have been the haunt of entrepreneurs and freelancers for long. But the music and chatter in a cafe often impede work feels Omprakash. This is where co-working spaces offer an alternative as they are budget friendly, flexible and provide a collaborative environment. The flexible payment mode adds to the advantages. Each of the @works location lends itself to a different market.
“The OMR space is sought after by techies and those who are focussed on building organisations, whereas Alwarpet sees a more diverse group like architects, writers and a few software professionals,” says Ashwin.
Karya Space, which opened its doors in late October last year, plays host to various events ranging from competitions for avid board gamers to the launch of an NGO campaign. “We have regular events as they are our outreach programmes and they also enable startup and cultural communities. We position ourselves as a community meet-up space rather than just a cool workspace,” says Arjjun Chander, founder of Karya Space.
While Chander’s space is focussed on aesthetics, @works is about creating a sustainable enterprise. “We just need functional aesthetics. Co-working spaces are about being part of a community, idea sharing and learning from mistakes,” says Ashwin.
The flexibility of working from different parts of the city as per convenience appeals to entrepreneurs. Karthik K, CEO at Skcript, a tech startup, spent several months working out of his car till he found out about @works. “It’s more like plug and play, work and move on. One might want to work in multiple locations in the city, close to their potential clients. The flexibility they offer is a big advantage,” says Karthik adding that this arrangement, though good for the pocket, may not be ideal for confidential projects due to the lack of privacy. But as business centres step on the bandwagon and offer a part of their space for this co-working setup, this arrangement of multiple offices in a room is just starting get popular.
Credits ET Realty