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Co: A new entrant in co-working spaces of Pakistan

Asra Rizwan Written by Asra Rizwan · 2 min read>
Co Karachi Islamabad

To support the progressive growth of Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem a lot of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces are being set up. When initiated, most startups are financially unstable to get an office space for their operations. The cost attached to setting up a workplace is not just buying an office but also to equip it with necessary facilities. This is where co-working spaces come into play by providing shared offices and facilities. These co-working spaces also provide access to networking and greater learning that can help startups and freelancers utilizing the space. Some of the renowned co-working spaces of Pakistan are: Plan9 TechHub, BaseCamp, DotZero, OfficeSpace, Ivy and Regus.

A new co-working space has been launched in Karachi by the name of Co. It is running its Open House till 23rd September, where people looking for a shared work space can have a tour and spend a day for free before signing up for membership. Khizra Munir, CEO Co, believes that Co is going to be the work space of any freelancers dream. The space is equipped with a secure and creative environment that radiates vibrancy. As a member of Co, the residents will have access to multimedia, a boardroom for meetings, an area for the members where can they can hang out during breaks. The other perks include a nap loft because the founders do not want their members to go through a desk nap shame. Also, there is a catering service that will provide affordable and filling meals for those working long hours. Chai and coffee come as a bonus too.

Who can access Co?

Everyone can access CO; any professional background. Provided you apply for a membership and go through a rigorous interview process. The space is looking forward to potential members that bring together a good mix. Their focal target is mostly freelancers who don’t have the luxury of an office or even a proper work space. Though they are also open to corporate employees who want to occasionally work remotely. According to Khizra, “A change in work environment does wonders for productivity. We’re all guilty of taking a day off from the day job to go hide in a cafe to catch up on deadlines.”

The sign up membership is Rs. 5000 and the different packages for rent include:

  • 12 Month Membership: Rs.15000 per month with (Rs.5000 food credit)*
  • 6 Month Membership: Rs.18000 with (Rs.5000 food credit)*
  • 1 Month Membership: Rs.20000 with (Rs.5000 food credit)*

*Limited Time Offer

Co inspiration

The Inspiration

Co is launched by a team of former advertising people who’ve all worked in the standard office structure; identical cubicles, bad lighting, uniform seating and stifling. Then they all transitioned out and tried new things and work that didn’t involve an office, but that freedom to work from wherever they wanted wasn’t enough.

Khizra tells, “We worked in cafes but couldn’t control the noise of people there. It wasn’t our place to complain. We worked from home but our work kept getting side tracked by genuine and legitimate yet distracting chores. We even tried other coworking spaces but with our experience working in similar spaces abroad, we felt that they didn’t deliver the right kind of experience; the experience of working in an inspiring space where work doesn’t like a chore, the freedom to take a break and unwind and the feeling of not being in a boring office. So we figured, when you want a problem fixed, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself!”

The similarities in how they worked and their goals kept bringing them together for projects. They come from a background where having a network of creatives (designer, filmmakers, writers etc) and collaborations are a big factor in getting new work and helping others find it too. Often they have been called for work and often referred it to someone else who they think would be available, would do better, or needs it. The creative industry, especially freelancing, works on this model. It’s a sense of community which is being reflected in this space.

Expansion Plans

When asked about why Lahore as an entrepreneurial hub was not chosen to launch Co, Khizra explained Karachi was chosen because it’s home ground for the team. While the concept of a co-working space isn’t novel in Pakistan, the way Co is presenting, it is. Therefore, Co was started here, close to home where the team could be in control and manage. Islamabad is the other city where the team has presence and could personally monitor. It also made sense to head there next since Islamabad also showed them immense enthusiasm when Co launched online a month and a half ago. For Islamabad, the team is aiming for early next year. That’s still a tentative estimate. If these two work out well, Lahore isn’t far behind.

Image Credits: Co Facebook Page

Written by Asra Rizwan
I profile people and startups contributing to the Pakistani technology entrepreneurial ecosystem. Share a story with me, asra@techjuice.pk Profile