Kowrk: Finding Co-working Space Is As Simple As Finding A Hotel Room!

By: Natasha Mahesh, 2017-01-05 03:00:44.0Category:  Personalities
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Honey J Kathuria topped throughout school, college and  MBA (in her specialization). Hailing from a business family, she always wanted to do something of her own. Her work experience of more than 14 years across 5 countries equipped her with the knowledge and expertise to utilize her strengths to achieve bigger goals. She founded Kowrk after helping a friend find a co-working space in Hong Kong by visiting 10+ spaces. While doing market research, they realised their was a  demand for a unified platform so that booking a space becomes as easy as booking a hotel. Kowrk simplifies the process of finding, comparing and booking a co-working space or shared office. Hence finding a co-working space or shared office is as simple as finding a hotel room.




Tell us about your background?

My parents believed in the value of education and extracurricular activates and hence my siblings and I were all studious kids who participated and won many competitions. Though my immediate family included grandparents, parents, and siblings, I did spend a lot of my childhood with an extended family of uncles, aunts, and cousins. My favourite childhood memory is listening bed time fairy tale stories from my grandfather and going for night picnics to India Gate with my family.

I was, what at that time called, an all rounder. Topped throughout school and college (even MBA – where I was the batch topper in my specialization). I was involved with the debate, dance, student bodies, and other societies in school and college. I worked on a fund campaign for Help Age India in my school and since then, I have been associated with many NGOs in various capacities.


How did you start your career and where are you now ?

Like many people of my generation, I started earning money in software industry. Though I had done short term internships, my first full time job as a 'coder' with a top Indian IT firm. After doing my MBA, I worked for few months in India and then moved to London. After that I lived and worked in the USA, Canada and Hong Kong. At present I am living in Hong Kong/ Mumbai nurturing Kowrk.


How did you get your idea or concept for the business/organization?

Hailing from a business family, I always wanted to do something of my own. My work experience of 14+ years across 5 countries equipped me with the knowledge and expertise to utilize my strengths to achieve bigger goals. Idea behind Kowrk was born when I helped a friend find a co-working space in Hong Kong by visiting 10+ spaces. Our market research indicated a demand for a unified platform so that booking a space becomes as easy as booking a hotel.


What is unique about your business?

For users, Kowrk simplifies the process of finding, comparing and booking a co-working space or shared office. Ordinarily, this is a long, arduous process involving searching the web to discover potential spaces, visiting several locations and negotiating terms with shortlisted providers. Evaluating the fit of a space with requirements and style is more difficult. Kowrk shortens and simplifies this process by providing a location-based search that lists all available spaces, their amenities, user reviews, photographs and indicative prices along with the ability to book or contact the provider. Thus we make finding a co-working space or shared office as simple as finding a hotel room.


For providers, Kowrk simplifies the process of leasing underutilized shared office space. Ordinarily, this long process involves marketing to attract potential users, responding to queries and visits by customers, and managing uneven demand.

Kowrk's multi-country presence results in increased awareness among a bigger customer base.  Kowrk also gives providers the ability to differentiate listings by highlighting specific amenities and incorporate customer feedback collected and shared by Kowrk. Providers are able to manage demand patterns by being informed of customer's bookings in advance and by being able to customize the time of availability of their space.


What services do you offer?

Kowrk is a platform that enables The Future of Work™ by connecting users with co-working spaces and shared offices. With Kowrk, finding, comparing and booking a co-working space or shared office across countries is as easy as booking a hotel.

Kowrk offers an easy to use, a location-based search that lists all spaces available within a specified distance of the user. All spaces listed on Kowrk have been individually vetted and users can view amenities, user reviews, photographs and indicative prices for each space. Kowrk is currently present in 22 cities across the globe.


How do you advertise your business?

We have used digital platforms to market Kowrk. Our organic growth is driven by search engine optimization and very strong footprint on social media channels. However, as we are growing, we are also exploring investment options in google ads and some other traditional outlets like print media.


To what do you attribute your success?

I wouldn't have been where I am without my husband, family, and friends. They are the reason why I bounce back from lows and succeed in achieving highs. Their confidence, honest feedback, support, and love have made me a realistic dreamer and achiever.


What made you choose your current location? Do you have exposure in working in other cities or countries other than Delhi-NCR?

I am currently based out of Hong Kong and Mumbai. Hong Kong because that's where my husband works and Mumbai because it is a more economical place to run a startup. I did internships from Delhi and Gurgaon, worked in Noida, Pune and Hyderabad. Before Hong Kong, I had lived and worked in USA (Atlanta), Canada (Toronto) and UK (London) for over 10 years.


What are the obstacles did you face in your venture?

The biggest roadblock between planning and chasing my goal of becoming an entrepreneur, was letting go of my salary cheque. APAC manager for Hotels.com job came with lots of perks and a big salary package. And that increased the opportunity cost of becoming a full time entrepreneur. Thorough financial planning with my husband and long discussions with my close friend-entrepreneurs and family members encouraged me to make an informed decision to start Kowrk.


What are the challenges you face being a female entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge I face in India is lack of guidance from a network of mentors that can help me explore possibilities outside my current scope of thought. This can help me evolve my current business plans, accelerate the scaling up of Kowrk and affect a paradigm shift in Kowrk's growth trajectory.


What are your strengths and weakness?

My never give up attitude has always been my strength. However, it has also become my weakness as an entrepreneur.  

I go by the saying – 'Even Impossible says I M Possible'. Once I put my mind and heart to an objective, I do everything that I can, to make it happen. This helped me sail through some low times at Kowrk and ensured that I achieved the set milestones.

As an entrepreneur, I have to accept failures and concentrate my efforts at other tasks. Whether it's an idea for product enhancement, an almost-certain deal or firing a person, I plan alternatives to make thing right. However, I have now realized that I my team is of better use if I let go of things instead of trying to fix them.


Do you have any regrets while pursuing your venture?

Not really but yes I could have started Kowrk a bit earlier.


Do you think you have been successful in your venture?

With in a year, presence in 22 cities across the globe, exponential growth in customer and revenue base, mutual collaboration with influencers in the industry – I would say yes as of now. But there is still a long way to go.


If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Starting your venture was the biggest hurdle and that you have already crossed it. Just believe in your idea and work passionately to execute it.

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