Co.Lab.Orate, Hyderabad’s first community co-working space based out of Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, was established in October, 2014. They named it Co.Lab.Orate because there is a lot of collaboration that would happen in their space. However, it has a deeper meaning. ‘Co’ stands for co-working, ‘Lab’ stands for use of computers and laptops and ‘Orate’ stands for speaking and networking! Although, there are a few shared spaces and plug and play office which operate under the name of co-working, catering to the real needs of an entrepreneur like networking, interfacing, events and workshops is still not up to the required standards.
Co-working isn’t a new idea and is prevalent in the West. Even in India, the other metros have a fair share of really wonderful spaces! However, Hyderabad is still in the nascent stages. Hence, the need for something like Co.Lab.Orate. was felt by Raghuveer Kovuru, Vinay Peddinti and Anurag Parepally; the 3 Co-founders ; who have come together from diverse backgrounds of engineering and business management and are each having a work experience of more than couple of years.
On asking what prompted them to start this company, Raghuveer, an avid blogger, mentor, speaker who is the community animator at Co.Lab.Orate, says “In the world of start-ups, success is supported by positivity, networking, perseverance and the much needed capital. Several wonderful start-ups lack the above attributes. Especially, capital places a crucial role in determining the fate of a company. In the era of high establishment costs, rising real estate, cut throat competition and lack of appropriate guidance, entrepreneurship is like entering the Padmavyuha. Co-working is a style of working that facilitates people from diverse backgrounds to work together usually in a common space. These people, also called co-workers, are not necessarily employed by a single organization. The group also comprises of freelancers, travellers, start-ups and entrepreneurs. In co-working, people share values and are interested in the synergies that can happen from working with like-minded people in the same space. Imagine the idea bounce and interactions that would happen between people from different domains!”
“At Co.Lab.Orate, we do not sell space but rather we facilitate community. We are established on the values of openness, sustainability, collaboration and accessibility. There are and will be instances when we would not be able to accommodate too many people from one domain. For example, if there is already a set of people from IT in the space, we do not accept any more requests from the IT domain. The idea is to create knowledge collective.” added Raghuveer.
Vinay, administrator at Co.Lab.Orate and the founder and president of an NGO by the name ‘The Social cause’ adds “We are wildly different from shared offices, executive suites and plug and play offices as the latter have a very formal setup and force one to work in relative isolation. We have a very casual and informal environment at Co.Lab.Orate. We provide bare minimum facilities and do not focus on fancy interiors, air conditioning, cubicles etc. Rather, these unnecessary additions are replaced by a wonderful community, access to venture capitalists, meeting co-founders and the list is endless.”
Currently in talks with several L&D organizations, NGOs, Entrepreneurial foundations around India for partnerships, the company is looking for the right kind of leverage.
Anurag, who is the space evangelist at Co.Lab.Orate, says “We are presently focused on the Hyderabad market. We definitely would love to move to other cities where we sense a bustle of entrepreneurial activity. Vizag is one city where there is lot of movement and we have it next on our minds. The start-up is bootstrapped from our own pockets. We have no investors as of now. Once the idea takes flight, we might take the VC path.”
“We always had our apprehensions about Hyderabad accepting our idea. It was absolutely about our strength to surpass all hurdles personally, professionally and financially that brought us here. Because, in Hyderabad, it was more about finding a cheap space and working it out on your own rather than finding the right mentor, or people to exchange ideas with. With Co.Lab.Orate, we want to break that barrier. And we have garnered a lot of interest.” added Anurag.
With Alex Hillman of Indy Hall, the guru of co-working spaces as their mentor and the idea that they are going to meet someone new and start off an absolutely impossible and new venture at Co.Lab.Orate, the team is all in readiness with great zeal for the upcoming challenges. We wish them all the luck they need.