The Covid-19 lockdown and ongoing restrictions in some cities have affected the business of startups and co-working space providers have been facing headwinds as a large chunk of employees continue to work from home. Despite having no business since the last week of March, 91springboard has raised Rs 45 crore from existing investors.
The fresh capital has come from Singapore-based Freakout and Japan-based Shinsei Bank, among others. Freakout and Shinsei had led a $10.2 million round in the company in December 2018. The Goa-based startup, which did not disclose all names of existing investors participating in the round, has raised close to $40 million across five equity rounds.
“Nearly 60% of members returned or committed to returning soon to our co-working spaces. We have also witnessed a 2X growth in demand from large enterprise teams as they are now looking for benefits like flexibility, PAN India access, strategic partnerships, and much more,” said Anand Vemuri, CEO of 91Springboard in a press statement.
Post easing of lockdown, the firm has reopened 14 out of its 27 co-working spaces across NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Goa. According to the company, the rest of the centers will open soon based on government advisories and their assessment of health and safety.
Besides offering office space for tech startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, and freelance professionals, 91springboard also provides strategic partnerships, registered office facilities, and access to a pan India network for business opportunities. During the lockdown, 91springboard had also launched two key initiatives – Startups vs Covid-19 and 91s Live – to assist its members.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the hospitality, co-working and co-living, and travel startups. Co-working and co-living companies have been renegotiating rents and seeking a waiver in rentals as many members have canceled their subscription. For instance, Cardekho, Spinny and a host of others vacated over 50% of their office space as a significant number of their employees have been working from home.
Experts believe that demand for office spaces will suffer until the pandemic gets controlled, which looks unlikely to happen this year. The loss of business also triggered co-working firms to set up an industry body in April to raise their concerns with landlords and the government.