Startup that charged $1.20 a day for coworking space in nightclubs folds
Friyey’s cash – and beer – taps turned off
In the pre-COVID rush to cash in on enthusiasm for co-working spaces, Indian outfit Friyey Space came up with an interesting take on the concept: instead of spending billions on real estate, why not install Wi-Fi and desks in locations that aren't busy during business hours?
The startup settled on restaurants and nightclubs as its preferred locations, with tenants asked to leave before the premises turned to its regular activities. That co-tenancy arrangement saw Friyey offer workspace at the very keen price of ₹99 ($1.20) a day – vastly less than the likes of WeWork charge for even the least lovely workspaces.
Images of Friyey facilities posted to Instagram suggest the outfit didn't do much more than use the furniture already present in its chosen venues. Tenants appear not to have external monitors, ergonomic chairs, or the other trappings of conventional co-working spaces. Nor does it appear that the venues catered to tenants, in the sense of offering food and beverages. Friyey instead operated an app with which customers could acquire nourishment.
The just-crazy-enough-to-work idea recruited over 500 venues and Friyey claims more than 24,000 people used its offices.
But that wasn't enough to make the biz viable. On Thursday, founder Yogesh Thore took to LinkedIn to announce Friyey would wind up.
- Salesforce to let two-thirds of space in SF high-rise
- We blew too much money hiring like crazy so we gave you the boot – Amazon
- SoftBank to stop investing 'randomly' after losing billions of dollars
- 'Lots of failed startups came out of Campus': Google axes London hub because startup scene 'doesn't need' another 7 floors of workspace
"Today, we are closing an exciting chapter of innovation, transformation, and entrepreneurial spirit," he wrote. "I do want to admit that we failed but the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that guided us will continue to thrive," he added.
Friyey secured modest funding, and reportedly found it impossible to secure extra funds that would have allowed its ongoing operation and expansion.
It is far from alone in finding it hard to turn a profit with coworking services: WeWork posted a $264 million loss for its most recent quarter (Q1 2023) – in part thanks to 73 percent physical occupancy rates. That metric jumped six percent year-on-year, perhaps suggesting some workers were ready to return to the office, or wanted a less spartan experience than that offered by Friyey. ®