We Give People Their Office, Not Our Office: Skootr Founder Puneet Chandra
A Swiss Bank UBS study revealed that Indians rank among the hardest workers, with the longest working hours among 77 cities that were studied. Needless to say, employees spend a considerable amount of time in office. The office space is an employee or employer´s home for 8-10 hours a day. Hence, every thriving business needs an office that can cater to its two most basic requirements, accessibility and functionality.
According to the global commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE, India’s office market continues to perform well, as leasing rose 7% during January-September 2018 to 32.2 million sq ft in nine major cities on higher demand of spaces from corporate and co-working operators for their expansion.
The reasons for this rise in leasing were attributed to higher demand as well as supply of office spaces, which went up by 25%, reaching 23 million sq ft during the first three quarters of 2018. The increase in the rapid trend of co-working space has not only boomed the industry but has also expanded innovations in work place, keeping a check on the space utilisation ratio.
Skootr, one of the disruptors in this space and India’s leading managed office solution provider, is offering thoughtfully-designed plug-and-play working spaces, customising them according to the requirements of growth-oriented entrepreneurs and corporate enterprises. In a tête-à-tête, with The Tech Panda, Puneet Chandra founder of Skootr, says that traditional ways have to make way for the modern.
Defining the company, Chandra says, Skootr is an enterprise service player in the market, where the primary difference between them and any other co-working space or business center is that while others are perceived as temporary office space companies, Skootr is perceived as permanent office space.
“Our product name is ‘headquarters as a service’. That itself means that we want to service your permanent offices. We want to offer our clients the right mix of permanent space and flexible space. So, we are not really a co-working space or a business center. We are slightly different from both of them,” he explains.
How it started
When Chandra and his co-founders decided to venture into real estate, they ran a real estate consulting business for about three-four years before they realised that the commercial real estate industry was a mess. They saw that it was really difficult for people to find an office.
“It was through the real estate journey that we realised that there is a big gap in the way commercial real estate ran. Something agile and flexible was required. Real estate had to be run as a service, and not like people buying a real estate and then getting stuck to pay for it for years, even if they don’t need it. We thought traditional ways had to make way for the modern,” he says.
Keeping this in mind, they decided to call the company Skootr, meaning a place where you can kick-start your business. “We created the brand, so that people can not only have experience of a serviced office, but also can grow as and when they want to grow, and even a smaller company can feel a part of a bigger office,” he says.
Skootr started by aggregating underutilized spaces and then filling them up with proper input. However, the sector was not without challenges. “We realised soon that this business is only going to succeed if the experience is controlled, and to control the experience, you need to have your own space,” he says.
Keeping that in mind, towards the end of 2016, they started opening their own space, and since, have been growing. Skootr currently offers 3000 managed seats in across 12 cities in the country.
In keeping with its country-wide expansion plans, Skootr plans to foray into Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, and Hyderabad in the near future, and is in the process of increasing the seating capacity of its Gurgaon-based premises from 2,000 to 4,000. The company envisions expanding its network to 30 cities and increasing its overall capacity to over 100,000 seats across the country.
Already working with 200,000 sq ft, the company plans to go to work for 4 million sq ft overall. They have plans to add another 200,000 sq ft this year itself, while adding about a million sq ft to their portfolio in the next year. The target is to grow to a monthly revenue of INR 100 crores in about four years of time.
Their edge over other players
The largest player in Delhi- NCR, serving more than 75 Indian and international brands, Skootr is also the only profitable startup in the co-working and managed office space. Their customised and end-to-end solutions are giving it a significant edge over others in the market. As Chandra says, the client’s profile is important when you are opening an office for them.
“When you are offering a serviced office, you have to know that in an Indian set up, entrepreneurs are very close to their brand. They want their office, they don’t want somebody’s else’s office; and to give them their office, you need to preserve their culture,” he explains.
So while other players offer a five or ten-seater cabin for sale, Skootr offers to create an office that is completely customised, while preserving the client’s identity. “When they come to us, we tell them, ‘These are the four walls. This is where we will create your office. You tell us how you want to create your office’. Everything is preserved within their office space. We give people their office, not our office,” he says.
Another difference Skootr brings to the market is that instead of servicing temporary office spaces of companies, it services permanent ones. So, if a client asks for a headquarter, they get a serviced headquarter. In addition, they will even find an office, build it, and also operate it for the client.
Moreover, while other players are focusing only on the new type of market, i.e. the new demand coming from modern companies and startups, Skootr is also focusing on the traditional already occupied real estate.
Incepted in 2015 and headquartered at Gurgaon, Skootr now has offices in cities such as Gurgaon, Noida, Jaipur, and Mumbai. The brand is capitalising on its technological superiority for its two business modelsSKOOTR Managed PLUG and PLAY office spaces and SKOOTR+ Customized Ready-to-Move Managed Offices.
The brand provides state-of-the-art offices and luxury spaces, flexible timings, 24×7 support services, high-speed internet, concierge support, power backup, multi-city address, as well as cafés for snacks and beverages as a part of its premium offerings.