A91 May Invest $40 Mn In Awfis After Kapoors Exit

Amit Ramani, CEO and founder Awfis.Premium
Amit Ramani, CEO and founder Awfis.

MUMBAI : AA91 Partners, an early-stage venture capitalist, is weighing a $40 million investment in co-working space startup Awfis, three people aware of the matter said.

Daughters of Rana Kapoor, founder and former managing director of Yes Bank, are among early investors in Awfis through their family offices, and will exit before the A91 investment, one of the three people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

“Both of them are exiting, and the process is on. Once the capitalization table is realigned, A91 is likely to log in," the person cited above said. The family office RAB Enterprises is co-owned by Alkesh Tandon, husband of Rakhee Rana Kapoor, daughter of Rana Kapoor, and DOIT Urban Ventures is owned by Bindu Rana Kapoor.

So far, Awfis has raised $90 million from investors, including ChrysCapital, Sequoia India, Link Investments, and Innoven Capital.

Founded in 2015 by Amit Ramani, Awfis is a co-working space provider. The company claims to have 88,000 seats at 150 centres across 17 cities. It plans to increase it to 200 centres by mid-2023. It offers a desk in a price range of 7,000-20,000 per month.

A spokesperson for A91 did not respond to emails, while RAB and DOIT spokespersons could not be reached for comment. An Awfis spokesperson denied A91 was considering an investment in the company.

“The company is looking to use the capital to expand its presence across other Tier-I cities. The post-pandemic uptick in business looks promising," the second person cited above said.

“It might also look for inorganic growth opportunities as the flexi working space/co-working space industry is fragmented and is likely to get consolidated," the person added.

The increase in demand has swelled the flex workspace sector to 43 million sq. ft by Q1 FY23 from a mere 1.6 million sq. ft in 2017, according to Avendus Capital data.

The Indian co-working space market has around 2500 centres operated by more than 150 entities across the top office markets. Awfis competes with companies such as WeWork, Smartworks, Indiqube, Simpliworks, CoWrks, Tablespace and 91Springboard.

“Investors are of the view that the current sectoral tailwinds are strong enough for this sector to grow exponentially in the next five years and become close to 15% of the entire commercial real estate market in India by FY27. Most PE funds believe that the flex workspace sector is a high-return investment option in the long run, offering better yields than the conventional commercial real estate market," Prateek Jhawar, executive director and head of infrastructure and real assets, Avendus Capital, said in a Mint column in December.

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Updated: 27 May 2023, 12:43 AM IST

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