Sudeep Singh, Founder & CEO, MPowered
Sudeep Singh, Founder & CEO, MPowered, explains how the company is taking a futuristic approach to creating real estate-based business models for the benefit of the property owners and the users.

How did you come up with the idea of building a startup ‘MPowered’?
India is still relatively new to the concept of organised Asset Management in real estate, and we saw immense scope to tap this otherwise untapped space. People investing in property with the expectation of yielding high returns and then not knowing how to go about it is the premise on which MPowered was founded. Our business has been especially designed to cater to landlords and property owners who are not equipped to monetise and capitalise on the real estate they own.

Our speciality lies in transforming B-grade unutilised real estate into A-grade profit-generating ventures for long-term use. We invest in such properties and deploy a suitable business model to it as per its size, location, and infrastructure, among other things.

With on-point Business Intelligence coupled with our acumen for building new models of shared economy and technology, MPowered provides the best-in-class Asset Management Services in the domains of commercial, residential and retail real estate spaces. It is a melting pot of innovations, unique ideas, and first-of-its-kind services in the real estate space. Since our business model is equally in the benefit of MPowered and the property owners we work with, it has worked out beautifully for everyone involved in the ecosystem, even during the pandemic that caused a massive dent on all businesses last year.

How is MPowered’s business model geared to be different from other businesses in this space?
MPowered specialises in Asset-Management Solutions, to help property owners convert their real estate liabilities into chic profit-generating ventures for long-term use. We envision converting the unutilised real estate into A-grade facilities by investing in them and implementing suitable business models on them that can yield the highest possible RoI for the asset owner.

We currently offer core innovations that include ‘MPowered’, ‘Powered by M’ and ‘MGage’. MPowered is a Space-as-a-Service Platform that helps capital investors transform their properties into agile, well-equipped, and managed workspaces. Powered by M is an extension of the company’s service portfolio designed to exclusively manage real estate for co-working and co-living spaces, while MGage is a tool built to manage workspaces efficiently, be it a co-working space or a managed office. This in-house developed Property Management App integrates all functions in the App - whether it is payments and expense management, maintaining hygiene checks and Covid-19 guidelines, or even something as basic as recording entries into the premises – all in a hassle-free and touchless manner.

From configuring large office spaces to creating luxurious and efficient residential models, MPowered is a one-stop-shop for expertise in creating real-estate based business models, as well as running and managing their day-to-day operations. Our diverse portfolio of services and subject-matter experts allows us to Build, Power and Manage spaces that are both dynamic and futuristic.

In addition to having a team of experts across real estate, infrastructure, design, and business intelligence, we have a solid backing of global trends and expertise from countries like the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Poland. It is this global intelligence and futuristic approach that MPowered is now applying to India’s real estate ecosystem with an objective to redefine the meaning of enterprise solutions.

MPowered has come to existence at a time when the real estate sector was feeling the heat of slowdown. What is the reason for choosing this time to enter the market when the world is passing through a pandemic?
It is not that we deliberately chose to enter the market during the pandemic. MPowered was already in the advanced stages of launch when the pandemic hit, but instead of delaying the launch, we decided to go ahead as per the initial timelines and brave the storm. As it turns out, despite the fact that the real estate sector was gravely affected by the pandemic, MPowered’s cutting-edge business model ensured that we not only stayed in business but also helped property owners go unscathed to a large extent. For instance, with most people switching from offline to online shopping due to subsequent lockdowns, the demand for last-mile warehouses soared and MPowered partook in setting them up.

Other verticals that worked well for us included home-offices with many CXOs investing majorly in a proper home-office on account of extended work-from-home, which most multinationals are still following. During this time, we also introduced an additional concept of B2C storage spaces where outstation professionals who wanted to save on rent could store their personal belongings while moving back to their hometowns during the lockdown. The idea was to help these individuals save on rent while also saving them the trouble of moving back with all their belongings, during these distressing and uncertain times.

Lastly, during this time we also witnessed the inclination of foreign companies as well as many Indian companies towards setting up local manufacturing units in India for localization as well as to avoid further disruptions in the supply-chain due to similar circumstances in the future. In fact, not only did we manage to carve out a great path for ourselves right in the middle of the pandemic but also raised a pre-series A round of funding from US-based investors soon after launching last year.

How has the real estate market changed in the post-Covid-19 world? Has demand for warehousing increased with the Government aspiring to make India a manufacturing hub?
With Indians across the country making a huge shift from offline to online shopping on account of Covid-19, some of the real estate sectors such as last-mile warehouses and fulfilment centers have certainly benefited. This will continue to be the trend with the number of cases still rising and curfews being imposed once again in several parts of the country.

Also, with many local and foreign companies who were earlier relying heavily on import, now localising manufacturing in India, the real estate segment will witness a two-fold benefit from this; one from the fact that all these new factories/manufacturing units will need suitable real estate, and, secondly, from the storage standpoint, which will further trigger demand for warehousing.

As we know, online shopping/e-commerce has grown drastically over the past year, so right now the warehousing space has a lot of potential and this will continue to be the case in the future as well. Those who have switched to online shopping will most likely stick to it even after the pandemic is over, owing to the sheer convenience it offers. However, due to this transition, land rates are now on the steeper side and acquiring suitable land is becoming a bit challenging. The government needs to intervene to standardise the land costs to some extent and also expedite the licenses for last-mile warehouses so that the growing need for this segment can be adequately met.

What are the recent developments and projects of MPowered?
MPowered recently acquired a 100,000 sq ft asset located on the posh NH8 in Gurgaon. Staying true to our business model, we have already transformed this B-grade asset into an A-grade ready-to-move managed office solution, exclusively for the Fortune500 companies. This property epitomises MPowered’s futuristic business model that promises great returns to the property owners as well as to MPowered itself, while also offering affordable yet chic workspaces to businesses. In addition to an overall upgrade, we will also be offering other premium services such as a gymnasium, a creche, a rooftop café cum lounge, a gaming corner cum breakout zone, and a frustration room on this campus.

We have recently launched a vertical called ‘MWire’, which stands for ‘Women in Real Estate’ with a vision to welcome more women to this sector, thereby making it more inclusive in nature. MWire has been designed exclusively for women and will be offering them a free membership to join this chapter. In addition to training and honing their professional skills, MWire also comprises regular Mentorship Sessions for its members to help them reach their full potential. It caters to ladies working in large IPCs (International Property Consultancy) and the likes.

Last year, we had launched a very innovative service vertical called “Reverse Officing” for large businesses. Under this vertical, MPowered caters exclusively to large corporates that had downsized and continue to downsize due to Covid-19. The idea was to help these businesses retain their original office address without having to absorb the rental cost for the entire area. For instance, if a company originally had 2,00,000 sq. ft leased out and wanted to retain only 1,25,000 sq. ft of it, MPowered took the entire space in its fold and let out the required area to the company in question. This way they could retain their original location and address and would bear the cost of only as much space they needed, while the landlord also did not have to bear losses due to the real estate going unutilised.

What growth do you envisage for MPowered in the near future?
A company like MPowered is the need of the hour given that organised asset management is still at a nascent stage in India. There are many property owners who due to lack of knowledge, innovative ideas, guidance, funds or even time, end up letting their real estate go wasted without being able to yield any returns on it. MPowered takes care of this problem as a one-stop destination for everything to do with asset management with a team of subject matter experts across real estate, technology, design, infrastructure, and business intelligence.

The brand is for anyone who owns real estate but does not have the expertise, funds, or bandwidth to convert it into an income-generating asset. In addition to converting C-grade properties into A-grade facilities that can yield high returns on the investment by applying a suitable business model to it, MPowered can also run the day-to-day operations and logistics for these properties. So, our business model is one that will stay relevant for as long as Indians invest in property with the intention of yielding long-term results.

How involved are architects in your business?
In total, we have 62 employees, of which 17 are white-collar workers while the rest are blue-collar. We work with some very seasoned and well-reputed designers and architects who conceptualise the designs and work on other key aspects of the models we build. It is because of the careful curation of our team that MPowered is able to consistently introduce the most unique and futuristic models to real estate asset management in India.

Collectively as a team, we enjoy 100+ years of industry experience given that we have ace real estate veterans, property evaluators, investment bankers, designers, and architects in MPowered’s fold.

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