Delhi’s Cafes are turning into work-spaces for India’s Startup hustlers
It was a hot afternoon in Delhi’s Connaught Place. The last flight of stairs led me to
A well-known café among the city’s party crowd, they now have a separate section for co-working.
I walk up to a young couple huddled in a corner. They’re a budding design and marketing firm called Enqodle. “We’ve been in the industry since the last 5 years. This is our Business Centre. The back-end team sits out of Janakpuri. We worked out of Starbucks for a while, but how long can you sit! Beyond 3 hours, you have to order something”, co-founder Kapil Gupta says.
For that you get quite a lot, mind. Unlimited free tea/coffee, free web hosting, some discount vouchers, IT support and 15% discount on legal services. Throw in some free mentorship and networking sessions, and even the hustler generation can’t bargain for more. Did we mention the monthly fee is redeemable on food and drinks?
Kapil’s co-founder Swati accepts there are some challenges. “Getting our parents to understand we’re working out of a cafe is a task. The general perception of a café is that it’s pure chaos. It only gets a bit loud post 6 pm”, she smiles.
Most don’t seem to mind the music.
Next up, a three member team peering at their Macbook screens. They’re part of the India edition of Singapore-based Techseen. “We are the first team to work out of here. It’s been about 3 months now. Most offices today are shifting out of Delhi into Gurgaon and Noida. If they can offer space for 8-10 people, we’d love to sit out of here even as we expand”, Assistant Editor Abhinav Mohapatra says.
My last catch is an unlikely startup pair. Delhiite Rahul Kakkad and his Pune-based Aeronautical engineer co-founder. The duo happened to live in the same apartment complex, and decided to partner for an alcoholic beverages information portal. How convenient to work out of a bar-cum-cafe.
“We come by noon, and leave by six. A typical office space makes little sense for us. We meet new people every day. Also, Starbucks doesn’t have a smoking area”, Kakkad smiles.
Being in a central location, the only downside is high real-estate costs. After all, it's the rentals that decide the economics. Bindal says he’s making good money. This is after paying Rs. 6 lacs as rent. “We broke even in the first 3 months. We’re investing heavily on resources now. In this business, profitability depends on how many centres you have. We’re planning to launches centres in Gurgaon and Noida soon”, he says.
His company is also planning to have co-working centres in Bengaluru (Koramangala/LSR Layout/Indiranagar) and Mumbai (Andheri/Juhu) in the next two months.
As evening fell, the live band started jamming. Bass shook the floor. I knew it was time to get out. The bustling co-working crowd seemed at ease though, puffing their hookahs and gorging spicy kebabs.
There’s no stopping this ‘work hard, party hard’ generation. After all, why leave work for party when you can work where the party is.