In 2016, Pune-based engineer, Yogesh Thore, had quit his job in order to find a niche to start a business. After a couple of years of working odd jobs, he developed a company that sold discount coupons for about 100 restaurants. While striking a deal with one of these restaurants, the owner told him that they hardly received any customers in the daytime and that most of their business came from customers post 6-7 pm. This motivated Thore to come up with a solution to bring these sort of restaurants some kind of revenue during the day as well.
That was how co-working space, Friyey, came into existence. Friyey provides spaces for young entrepreneurs and small startups with only a handful of employees to do their work remotely without having to go into an office. The company has worked with over 120 startups in Pune, charging only Rs.99 per day for an entire team to use a co-working space.
These spaces are the clubs and pubs that do not do much business during the day. They were chosen for their comfortable seating and lighting and need for pre-6 pm revenue.
For the fee paid, companies get Wi-Fi, water bottles, and often, complimentary tea and other drinks. They also organize meetups for entrepreneurs and startup founders every weekend and have hosted over 5000 professionals in this capacity.
Thore said that startups are the ones who will be solving the major problems in the world like poverty, traffic congestion, pollution, and whatnot, and facilitating this work by providing comfortable remote workplaces is a matter of importance to him.
He plans to make the service free in the long run, once the company expands to more cities around the country. In fact, the company is in talks with two pubs in Bangalore and is expected to start its operations there shortly.
While Friyey came into being in 2019, it picked up the pace a lot quicker once the covid-19 pandemic began in 2020. More and more companies were transitioning towards a remote workplace given the lockdown and safety guidelines, which increased the need for spaces like Friyey. Friyey is especially attractive for those who do not want to work at home or just do not have the right environment to do so.
In 2020, Friyey received financial backing from angel investor Tarun Bhalla, head of the Indian unit of Swiss agricultural company, Syngenta. The company which currently has spaces in Kalyani Nagar, Wakad, and Baner in Pune, plans to use these funds to extend their operations to more metropolitan cities and also expand their team which only has about 20 employees as of now.