I'm just back from a trip to India where I had the opportunity to visit several coworking spaces. Coworking in India is growing quite rapidly, with more than 100 spaces across the country and new spaces popping up on a regular basis.
A recent Quartz article, India’s freelance boom is creating a crop of creative co-working spaces, nicely summarizes why this is happening:
In a country with the youngest population in the world, and an economy in constant flux, millions are bucking traditional companies and corporate-ladder-climbing to work independently. India is the second largest player in freelancing after the US, according to Elance, an online service that connects freelancers to projects, with average earnings of about $15 per hour and rising. Freelancer.com, one of the world’s largest freelance hubs, reported that even back in 2012 more than one-third of their 3 million users were Indians.
There's also a rapidly growing startup community in India. These startups need space and commercial offices are both hard to find and expensive in most of India's cities. This is leading to a rapidly growing number of spaces catering to startups.
Our overall reaction to coworking in India is that it's very similar to coworking elsewhere in the world.
Just as elsewhere in the world members are looking for a supportive community, networking and educational opportunities, an office infrastructure (especially excellent Internet service) and to be around like minded people.
This comes as no surprise to us - the needs of the globally growing numbers of startups and independent workers are universal. This is why coworking has become a global phenomenon.
One of the coworking facilities we visited was The Hive (pictured below). It's located in a three-story mansion in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai (used to be called Bombay).
Bandra is an trendy, artsy area and many of the residents work in the entertainment and creative fields. It's a good place for Bollywood movie star spotting.
The HIve reflects this by being both a coworking space and an entertainment venue. The night we visited they were having standup comedy, but they also do music and dance events.
Bombay Connect, also located in Bandra, is a more traditional space and houses mostly independent workers.
We expect coworking in India to continue it's rapid growth in the near future. In addition to rapidly growing local demand, we expect many places in India to become more popular with digital nomads.
Places like Rishikesh, considered the birthplace of yoga and where the Beatles went for spiritual instruction, are bound to attract digital nomads looking for a great location and a low cost of living.
Here are a couple of other articles on coworking in India: