Hobnob is a co-working start-up with a twist. They are transforming spaces in restaurants, pubs and cafes in the city into a network of productive co-working spaces. Hobnob, founded by Goverdhan M D and Srinivas Jayaram in July 2018, raised $1 million (INR 7.3 Cr) in the first round of funding from Century Real Estate Holdings Pvt. Ltd. and aims to empower young Indians by providing them with affordable workspaces to fuel their entrepreneurial aspirations.
Hobnob transforms unused spaces into a city-wide network of sophisticated, prolific workspaces where one can interact and work with a wide range of people. Based out of Bangalore, Hobnob currently has 80+ workspaces on-board. With plans to expand across India, Hobnob partners with spaces that provide comfortable seating, natural lighting and proximity to public transportation. The company has also prioritized spreading its locations across the city, rather than concentrate on one spot, thereby increasing access to hobnob locations across neighbourhoods.
Hobnob provides a virtual address to its clients who can avail of daily, weekly and monthly passes. A wallet-friendly solution ideal for students/freelancers/ start-ups who can apply for flexible memberships with unlimited access to custom menus from restaurants and cafes, included in the package. Hobnob co-working spaces are spread across Bangalore at various locations, making it more feasible for people to work in their neighbourhood of choice while availing of fast, affordable and reliable internet access.
At a time when most professionals are looking at co-working spaces, the company, apart from targeting professionals, is looking to help anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit in need of an affordable workspace and unlimited internet access. Not only does it utilize under used spaces and provide some relief for coffee shops, restaurants and bars, but it’s also almost infinitely scalable — every city in the world has restaurants that are closed during the day.
Goverdhan, the founder of Hobnob, said, “Transforming cafés, pubs or restaurants into co-working spaces is a fairly new concept in India. There is a growing demand for co-working spaces and we can focus on transforming the under-utilised and even open spaces in restaurants by providing affordable internet access to students and professionals. We are based out of Bangalore, with nearly 80+ clients on-board and are looking to expand across India. With Century Real Estate as our partner, we can efficiently and effectively scale our operations in other cities and towns.”
Hobnob’s analytics works with an establishment’s existing broadband connection to provide free Wi-Fi network access to customers. Since users are required to sign-in using a social account or mobile number, the establishment gets access to valuable social demographic data, such as the age and gender of customers that use Hobnob, when users connect, how long they stay connected, etc.
Hobnob’s WiFi Analytics technology also gives their partner establishments an opportunity to expand their social reach. Upon login, the customer is prompted to “like” the company’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter / Instagram account. According to data collected by Hobnob, 87 percent make purchasing decisions based on input from friends. The average Facebook user has 190 friends and the monetary value of a single “Like” on Facebook amounts to INR 9,000. Additionally, Hobnob’s analytics technology serves as a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace for co-working spaces by enabling them to provide a complete solution to their partner establishments. Their analytics would provide insight and allow for targeted marketing, location analytics, automation engine, branded splash pages, and presence analytics.
With plans to expand to 18 cities across India by 2020, Hobnob hopes to use their technology to enable and improve access to co-working spaces while also creating opportunities for marketing with the data available to them.
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