Knotel's international network of coworkers goes to Russia

Its partner in Russia will be Invest AG, which manages the assets of oligarchs Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov.
The network of collective offices for short-term lease - coworking Knotel - decided to enter the Moscow market. About this "Vedomosti" told three consultants who know this from the top managers Knotel. According to them, its partner in Russia is Invest AG, which manages the investments of Evraz Group metallurgy shareholders Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov.

Knotel was created in 2016 by American businessmen Edward Shenderovich and Amol Sarva. The first is known as the co-founder of the media company SUP Media, and the second businessman worked in the telecommunications field. Knotel attracted more than $ 100 million of investment for two rounds, Invest AG was one of the main investors. In the last round, the network was estimated at $ 500 million. Now, as stated on Knotel's website, its portfolio includes more than 60 offices with an area of ​​about 92,000 sq. M. m in New York, San Francisco, London and Berlin.

"Moscow really got into the list of cities where Knotel plans to start operating in the next year or two," confirmed the president of Invest AG Sergey Bratukhin. Now, according to him, Invest AG is considering investing in the leaders of the Russian market, so that they can then be bought by Knotel. The request to Knotel was unanswered.

 For emerging markets, which includes Russia, the idea of ​​a major investor's exit through the absorption of a local player is absolutely justified, believes the founder of the network of coworkers "Klyuch" Pavel Fedorov. In his opinion, it is cheaper and allows not to waste time and energy on gaining competencies in the market. In the "key" of specific offers for sale has not been received, although the company is familiar with both Knotel and Invest AG, says Fedorov.

The Russian covorking market has a very large potential, says ILM managing partner Andrei Lukashev. Only in Moscow in 2017, he said, the number of coworkers increased by 30% to 130. According to Lukashev's forecast, the market will grow several times in the next few years, so he expects interest from large investors.

"If any Russian company has offices with a good location and profitable commercial conditions, it will certainly be of interest to investors," confirms Regus Managing Director in Russia Irina Baeva. Konstantin Korolev, the head of the GrowUp cowwalking network, adds: Moscow's coworkers have high returns, but the risks are significantly higher than in the same Europe.

 Lukashev and Korolev, as an example of the interest of a large international company to the Russian market, are led by the Wework network. Last year, she agreed on a partnership with O1 Properties Boris Mintz, however, because of the change of ownership of the latter, now this partnership is in question. The representative of O1 Properties declined to comment, the request to Wework remained unanswered.

The market of commercial real estate in Russia is now being transformed, Fedorov said: many companies are gradually moving away from ownership and self-management of offices in favor of outsourcing, so the demand for coworking will grow, which means that there will appear new big players in the market.

 Traditional offices are now in abundance, adds the president of the group "Osnova" Alexander Ruchyev: the market needs new formats for development. He believes that coworking is ideal for temporary placement, for example, start-ups and project teams.

The need for the service does exist, but the Russian market is still significantly behind the international market, Baeva notes. The case, she said, is that coworking is designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and it is still developing in Russia much more slowly than in developed countries.

Initially, the crisis was the stimulus to the active development of coworking: this format enabled tenants to optimize the areas, and owners of business centers with reduced demand and increased vacancy were ready to consider coworking as tenants, recalls Elizaveta Golysheva of JLL. According to her, for developers, coworking can become an "incubator": start-ups, which today occupy their areas, may in the future be office tenants.