CHENNAI : Between meetings, Shyam Sundar Nagarajan found himself forced to go to a café in order to kill time. The costs of getting a drink and waiting between these meetings affected him both financially and health-wise. Thus, he struck up a deal with a few restaurants and bars to use their space between his meetings without having to purchase a drink or a meal.
“I told some friends about this, and they were really interested in the idea. So I made a WhatsApp group for them, which eventually grew and grew. I then decided to convert this idea into a business, and that’s how GoFloaters was born,” said Shyam, co-founder. GoFloaters was found in December 2017 in Chennai. The start-up offers workspaces for small business owners, other start-ups, and freelancers across the city through their app.
Users can rent out a variety of spaces by the hour or by the month, based on their needs. The three broad kinds of spaces include cafes, meeting or event spaces, and shared offices. The entire process of booking a space is carried out through their app. “A lot of companies have buffer capacities in their offices. Restaurants are usually empty during lean hours.
So, we got in touch with the owners to use that space for these working professionals,” said Shyam. Now, GoFloaters is present in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Coimbatore, in over 150 venues at these cities. Each location has to pass a checklist of over 30 points, but the basic requirements every space must have is plug points and WiFi, a conducive workspace, and proper seating arrangements.
“The nature of work has changed, and so the spaces where they work must also change. For example, we have a working mother in Chennai who drops off her kid at kindergarten, and then uses one of our spaces nearby to work. The timings of work have also become much more flexible now,” said Shyam. It was in 2018 when his good friend and co-founder Srivatsan Padmanabhan joined the scene as a co-owner.
In the future, the start-up hopes to enter four more cities and increase their presence in their established cities significantly. “We also want to tap into the freelance community and the creative art community more. Many work from home or remote. We wanted to give them a unique space to work effectively and facilitate their productivity,” said Shyam, adding that they hope to tap into Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities as well.
In a nutshell
GoFloaters was founded in Chennai in 2018
Entirely bootstrapped and self-funded, the company is in talks with investors for expansion
GoFloaters is present in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Coimbatore in over 150 venues
Booking a space starts at `25 an hour on GoFloaters