JAN 05 2017

Community manager: A new job profile at co-working spaces

The Economic Times Bureau

TAGS : communitymanager coworking coworkingspace

Community manager: A new job profile at co-working spaces

BENGALURU: They help start-ups share best practices, products and lessons from each other.

From just being a shared office space to helping start-ups and small businesses save on rents, co-working spaces have walked a mile to become a large and interactive community. To do this more effectively, they are looking up to community managers, someone who can simply connect the dots. 
Community managers -a job profile invented at Bengaluru's co-working spaces -are the go-to people for small businesses. From sharing targeted information on various member groups to networking internally and externally, they are helping these start-ups share best practices, products and lessons from each other. 

Sidharth Menda, 27, CEO of CoWrks, which has 3,200 desks in about 1.90 lakh square feet of space across two facilities, believes that the role of community managers, pivoted from traditional HR professionals, is crucial to a co-working space. “They are responsible for getting the right mix of people so that companies and individuals derive as much value from each other.“ Menda, who employs such professionals, says while the background of such people can be diverse, the most important traits to being a successful community manager includes being a “people's person“and understanding potential synergies between companies. 

Nisha Ramchandani, 30, an outreach and community manager at Axilor Ventures, a platform for supporting early-stage entrepreneurs, says on an average the network of founders at the accelerator can grow at an average of 20 founders in a month. 

“The community manager in an accelerator makes sure that communication remains transparent between the leadership team and the founders. This besides driving dialogue on topics of common interest, engage in a way so as to make the community contribute on learning and discussions, highlight how founders can benefit being a part of the community and constantly be in touch with every small development,“ Ramchandani says. 

While anybody with good communication skills, a passion to work in the startup ecosystem and an ability to identify and help cross pollination across businesses can become a community manager, it is imperative to have at least some years of work experience before taking the plunge. Starting salaries can range from `18,000 to `20, 000, which go up as experience in the profession increases. 


Says Ronak Madhnani, 22, community manager at Commune CoWorks, a co-working space in Koramangala, “The role of a community manager not only requires to connect people, but also manage the space and operations; take care of accounts and invoicing and even engage in business development. While each co-working space has its unique requirements, it's always good to have some prior experience so that you are prepared for any kind of challenge”.