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Building an ecosystem where people could work, play and entertain, says BHIVE CEO

Established in 2014, BHIVE Workspace, is one of the India’s largest co-working space with 9 lakh + sq ft work spaces. In 2021, the company entered the managed office space with its flagship product called “HoneyKomb” by BHIVE. The company has entered into the ecosystem of providing flexible leasing products and a fintech investment platform for Commercial Real Estate (CRE). Co-founder and CEO of BHIVE, Shesh Rao Paplikar has a varied experience from starting a company, to sinking in the Himalayas for weeks, to working on Wall Street, start-up experience at Bangalore, start-ups in New York City and has worked in companies of varied sizes and of various cultures in the 11 years before starting BHIVE. A BE in Computer Engineering from NITK, Surathkal, Paplikar has worked in the technology world for 11 years before starting BHIVE in 2014. He started his first company while still a student at NITK and founded BHIVE with personal investment before raising funds from friends and family, and other round of fund. Realty & More caught up with Paplikar for a conversation. 

The following is the text of R&M chat – 

Q. What is your existing clientele and what kind of companies are looking for spaces?

A. Having started in 2014, BHIVE has gone on to become one of the preferred partners for companies’ commercial real estate needs and our occupiers include a judicious mix of early and late stage start-ups in health tech, fintech, fashion tech and ed-tech to name a few as well as established companies. In order to cater to this growing demand from occupiers, we have significantly expanded our presence and have signed up nine properties from September 2021 till March this year and have gone from 2 lakh square feet to 7 lakh square feet now. Recently, BHIVE launched one of their largest facilities in Bengaluru, a 300,000 square feet office space with state-of-the-art design and amenities. 

This expansion is in line with our vision to have larger facilities in central business districts (CBDs) to enable early and late start-ups to grow within the facilities without facing space constraints. CBDs such as HSR, Indiranagar, Koramangala etc., have been a major start-up hub but the availability of large managed spaces has been a challenge, which is where BHIVE steps in.

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Over the years, we have significant evolved our offerings to offer an ecosystem which enables employees to work, play and entertain, all under the same roof, thereby ensuring higher satisfaction score and productivity.

Q. BHIVE Workspaces launched campus in HSR Bengaluru? Are you planning to replicate the model in the upcoming office spaces

A. As shared earlier, the evolution of our offerings from pure-play managed office spaces to building an ecosystem where people could work, play and entertain eventually culminated in the establishment of BHIVE Workspaces. The first such facility has been established in HSR, Bengaluru which is the country’s largest co-working campus. 

Spread across 2 acres and located in the heart of the city, the shared office space will offer over 8,000 seats and a multitude of retail offerings including food and beverage, sports arena and entertainment options. The aim is to cater to the growing demand for flexible office spaces post the pandemic and strengthen our position as the preferred shared office space provider. 

This launch also marks the evolution of shared workspaces to include larger offerings in retail and entertainment to suit the evolving requirements of members from its core offering. Furthermore, it assumes significance as early and late companies are looking to expand and are looking for that differentiator to attract and retain employees while meeting their managed office needs

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Q. How do you see the rest of 2022 unfolding for the co-working industry in the country? 

A. The Indian co-working industry has been growing by leaps and bounds on the back of a cost effective offering, burgeoning startup base and rising office rentals across business districts to name a few. As one of the leading players in this space, we have grown significantly over the years and built a strong base of leading occupiers. According to ANAROCK Research, out of the total net absorption of 34.1 million square feet across the top 7 cities in FY22, co-working comprised a 13% share (approx. 4.43 Million square feet) from just 5% last year and also had the highest growth rate among all office segments. 

This growth is likely to continue, however, the market is expected to see a correction with the global economy and a funding crunch. Having said that, established players like BHIVE will continue to attract marque occupiers with their differentiated offerings of the right location, property and amenities, thereby leading the growth of the co-working industry.

Q. What investment opportunities BHIVE Alternatives is providing?

A. Almost a decade ago, the participation of retail investors in real estate was largely restricted to residential real estate owing to the high entry level barrier in other asset classes. Through concepts such as fractional ownership, revenue based financing etc., retail investors are getting an opportunity to participate in high returns generating investment avenues, which is what BHIVE Alternatives aims to do.

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Over the years, hundreds of retail investors have actively subscribed to our investment offerings in nearly a dozen of our properties and were fully subscribed. Even today, we are witnessing aggressive demand for investing in our properties through various modes. The aim of BHIVE Alternatives is to provide risk adjusted returns and a large selection of risk category based investment avenues in commercial real estate. We offer 10% returns along with rental yield and appreciation of 6-7% in commercial as against 2-3% in case of residential real estate.

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