Soundhariya Viswanathan / Reading Time: 7 mins
We had a good run up to Feb 2020. A journey that was packed with learning. We had proven that GoFloaters as a business is viable and had the potential to scale. We had built a highly capable 21 member team. Our users were happy with the service and we were scaling fast as a bootstrapped startup. As COVID engulfed our lives and business, we were pushed down a bottomless pit. As we were clawing ourselves out of the pit we also took the second biggest leap of faith in the history of GoFloaters. We decided to switch to being a B2B player. The date was 12th Nov 2021, our 4th anniversary, that we decided to drop everything that would distract us from being a strong B2B player. We wanted to build a unified hybrid workplace platform that would let teams work and collaborate from a coworking space of their choice. It was a very tough decision to make as we would have to start all over again. We were just down to a 4 member core team at this time.
Man, what a year it has been after that.
We started to work on our B2B product a.k.a WorqFlexi. Almost as if the universe wanted to congratulate and award us for being a COVID survivor, on 26th December 2021 we were honored with the TANSEED Grant by none other than the Hon. CM of Tamil Nadu Thiru MK Stalin. This grant of INR 10 Lakhs sowed the seeds for our journey henceforth.
GoFloaters receiving the TANSEED Grant from Hon CM of Tamil Nadu
We were gunning to play the league with big players including all IPCs and large property consulting companies. We were up for it. We did not have time to invest on heavy-weight bespoke technology. Low-code tools helped us get our product out in record time. We were astonished at how much we could achieve with so little. In parallel we reworked our entire inventory. We had to let go of our enviable network of cafes. The prospective B2B audience, especially after COVID, would look for more standardized and safe experiences for their employees, we foresaw.
WorqFlexi - Unified Hybrid Workplace Platform
Playing the big league meant that we needed to be partners with the big players too. January 2022, we got a small opening to pitch to WeWork. Our previous attempts to partner with them had all failed. Hence we did not imagine that this small opening could lead to us becoming one of the most valuable partners for WeWork. With WeWork under the belt we were energized to go and get the other big players under our fold. CoWrks and AWFIS were the next ones we were able to bring on.
It was already Feb, we still did not have any major break on the demand side. That is when we got our first major customer for our brand new WorqFlexi product. GainCredit came on board as a customer after rigorous rounds of evaluation. This was the first big validation of the hunch that we had the companies that were remote first or pro remote would need a network of work and meeting spaces across the country. After GainCredit we tucked in a few more startups and smaller companies under our belt.
The big break was always round the corner we hoped and it finally happened in April. We signed up the SaaS darling of Chennai, Chargebee as our customer. This moment was a defining moment for us as this made everyone notice us and acknowledge our presence. We were no longer a fringe player. There was no looking back from there. We were able to add more and more customers for WorqFlexi. By July we had almost 15 customers on WorqFlexi and counting. We were seeing our predictions come true. After almost 4 years we found our thoughts to be resonating and reverberating with that of the world. From just doing 10 bookings a day in Jan we were already into hundreds of bookings a day. We were now in 40 cities across India. We could proudly proclaim by this time that Wingify, Branch Fintech, BrandWatch and Oriflame were all GoFloaters WorqFlexi customers. We had the front row seat in probably one of the biggest changes in workplaces in this century.
Representative list of clients of GoFloaters
Different variants of hybrid work were being imagined and we were tuning ourselves to cater to all of them. From offsites to war rooms to regular in-person-working sessions to scheduled hybrid working to distributed and decentralized working we have seen it all. We have been able to learn along with the companies who we had the honor to work with. Being nimble footed as we were, we were able to constantly tweak the product to be of more use to our clients. Our constant endeavor to solve the hybrid work conundrum for our customers kept on edging us to make the offering and the overall experience better. This helped us win many praises from our customers.
Customer Testimonials for GoFloaters WorqFlexi
When you keep doing good work the world does take notice. Many online publications and print media spotted the good work that we are doing and featured us. Mint featured the work that GoFloaters had done for one of our early customers NotionPress in their story on how employees prefer to work near home. Outlook India and YourStory talked about how the demand for coworking is picking up in tier 2 and tier 3. Nanayam Vikatan did a detailed recounting of our startup journey.
Media houses that featured GoFloaters in 2022
By August we had broken even and were profitable. Our team had also expanded to an 8 member team. This is when we got the funding offer from LoyalVC, a Canadian early stage VC firm. I have lost count but I would have easily pitched GoFloaters to 30+ angel investors and early stage VCs in 2019. This time around we did not do any pitching but we had an investor reaching out to us and asking us to take their money! After all the deliberations and the paperwork we finally announced our seed round of funding in Oct 2022. This fundraise has cemented our belief and has given more power and reach to our vision.
We end this year in style with the "Most Promising Startup" award from FICCI-TNIE at the Start Stars event.
Ms Neeti Virmani, a venture partner at LoyalVC also invested into GoFloaters in her own personal capacity.
2022 has been a turnaround year for us. From 0 revenue we have reached a point where we are having profitable growth. From scampering to put money on the table we have the cushion of the seed funding to power our dreams. From having no clients to having some of the whos-who as our client. From being a small 4 member team we are now a strong, passionate team of 10 that is geared upto soar higher in 2023.
As we bid adieu to 2022, we thank everyone who has crossed our paths. We are humbled and grateful to every opportunity that our clients have given us and the trust that they have placed. We are thankful to our biggest believers and the greatest source of strength - our team. Special mention to Soundhariya, Minnie V, Prerana, Sabeha Sultana, Vidya and Radhakrishan.
2022 has truly been the year that has given wings to our dreams.