Regardless of the marathon of training that Frontier Market Scouts receive, we are still essentially thrust into the world and told to “find entrepreneurs.” In theory this is easy, especially coming from Silicon Valley, where randos in line at Starbucks will pitch to anyone within earshot. In the rest of the world, people do not wear a, “Hello, I’m an entrepreneur” sign on their backs- so you have to go hunt for them.
One of the first places I checked out in Bombay were the co-working spaces. These are all relatively new, but are taking off fast. Here’s why I think they’re an extra-good idea in Bombay:
1. That little yellow triangle with an exclamation point
It is nearly impossible to find good coffee shops with reliable, fast, free wifi- eliminating one of the staple working spaces of entrepreneurs.
Note: If you do want a map of free wifi in the city, go here http://mumbaiboss.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/WifiMapFINAL.pdf
2. Yes mom, I do mind if you watch Judge Judy right now
Working from home is kind of a drag. Most entrepreneurs are young and unmarried (who has time to meet a spouse when you spend all day with your business plan?) In India, this means you are probably living with your parents and in Bombay, space is at such a premium that you are all probably squished into a smallish apartment. Getting out of the house is pretty nice.
3. Cash money
The most expensive space runs at about $430 a month, and others are available for as low as $50 a month. Most offer some kind of tiered pricing option if you only need the space for a few days out of the month. At a minimum, spaces have internet, coffee and desk space without mom. Winning.
So far, I’ve visited three of the co-working spaces in the city.
Though not convenient for where I live, it is a nice space with a very colourful, youthful, Silicon Valley startup vibe to it. Something about the desk arrangement, the whiteboard greeting wall, and the friendly atmosphere make it feel fun, collaborative and very entrepreneurial. The presence of over twenty people working on a Saturday also let me know that it’s still a serious place to work. Work hard, play hard.
Our First Office
This new working space already has three locations in city hotspots Churchgate, Lower Parel and Nariman Point. Their vibe is professional chic, and the founder, Milind Doshi, seems to be connected to all the entrepreneurs in the city. More NYC than Silicon Valley, this is the type of place that makes you want to dress up, sit down, and work hard.
A co-working space that caters mostly to social enterprises, the vibe here is akin to a newsroom, cramped, energetic, and informal. The building interior is very “old Bombay”, with lots of wood, wrought iron and Indian décor. Of all the co-working spaces, this one is the most Bombay of them all- you leave your shoes at the door and even the founders sit at the various little shared desks scattered around the room.