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Bengaluru: Co-working startup WeWork India has turned profitable after four years of operations in the country and is looking at adding a million sq ft of flexible office workspace in 2022, said a top company executive.

It has leased 1.7 million sq ft in 2021, which is about 3000-3500 desks every month, as companies pursued flex workspace options for their employees.

In 2022, WeWork India is looking at expansion that will be asset-light, mainly through a revenue-sharing model, and will continue to offer multiple, customized solutions for occupiers.

WeWork had entered into a partnership with the real estate firm Embassy Group in 2017 and started operations in India.

“We turned profitable as of November, with 800 crore topline so far this year. We have built the business in the last two years to offer solutions to companies of all sizes and is the only platform for hybrid work. We have our ‘On Demand’ product and the managed office business, and companies in future will want multiple solutions for office space. We want a singular platform that offers all solutions under one umbrella," Karan Virwani, chief executive officer, WeWork India said in an interview.

The company had earlier said that it would focus on profitability and operations this year. Having achieved that, Virwani said it would return to growth mode next year.

“We have a million sq ft of expansion planned, and more than half of that is pre-committed. Our focus would be on the top six cities but we do have some requirements from large companies, in Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi and Ahmedabad. In 2022, we are looking at asset-light expansion, where we enter into a revenue share model with the landlord and secondly, a (hotel) operator model, where landlord takes the cost and revenue and we take a management fee," Virwani added.

WeWork India currently operates from 36 locations and 65,000 desks, spanning about 5 million sq ft. About 60% of its occupiers are from the IT/ITes sector.

The Indian affiliate of New York-based WeWork in April had said it raised 200 crore in a mix of debt and equity. Last year, WeWork Global committed $100 million in its Indian arm. In 2019, WeWork India raised around 500 crore of debt.

In the January-March period of 2021, the flexible workspaces operator had recorded its highest ever quarterly leasing with 10,000 desks, totalling 7 lakh sq ft.

Despite the recovery in business between January and March, the second wave of covid hit demand and pace of people returning to traditional and co-working offices.

Virwani, however, said that the recovery after the second wave has been faster and stronger. “Even companies who left us during the pandemic are coming back. The flex workspace segment is going to grow to become a permanent part of commercial real estate," he said.

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