Tech communities find free weekend space in corporate offices in Bengaluru

Knowledge sharing in its essence, these meet-ups benefit the host as much as the tech group.

Knowledge sharing in its essence, these meet-ups benefit the host as much as the tech group.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The office of eGovernments Foundation in Koramangala follows a shape-shifting routine. On weekdays, it is business as usual, which has to do with urban governance. During weekends, it morphs into a conference room, the workstations and furniture shoved to the sidelines. It does the latter pro bono for tech community groups aligned with its goals.

One of the beneficiaries of eGovernments Foundation, the Bengaluru chapter of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software), has had two weekend meetups to its name at this address.

Generosity of this kind is getting more widespread than one might first assume. The FOSS has held meet-ups at the offices of Razorpay, MapleLabs, Dukaan, and Accel Launch pad (all in Koramangala) as well.

Initially, start-ups in Koramangala and HSR Layout seemed to be driving this trend. With large multinational tech firms, some located in IT parks, also joining in, the trend has a more expansive surface area. A noticeable number of companies in Outer Ring Road, BTM Layout, and Indiranagar are into it.

“A Japanese company was setting up base in Bengaluru and they reached out to us to host a meet-up in their new office space,” says Nayyan Mujadiya, one of the organisers of SwiftBengaluru. Swift is a programming language for developing apps for Apple devices.

Knowledge sharing in its essence, these meet-ups benefit the host as much as the tech group. For tech enthusiasts, it is a platform to network, understand the latest buzz in the industry, learn and adopt from the best practices from other companies. For the host company, it is about picking up evolving trends and also adding social value its brand. And of course, it is also about putting oneself in a position to tap talent.

A few companies show a keenness towards hosting tech groups that have to do with domains like “Container”, “DevOps”, “SwiftUI”, and Artificial Intelligence.

Vaibhav Chaudhary, a core member of the Java Users Meetup Group, says companies like Google and Microsoft leave their doors, and sometimes their fridges, open to this idea. “For one of our meet-ups, we had a well-known speaker from Texas University. We knew the footfall would be high and Infosys allowed us to have its auditorium for it,” says Mr. Chaudhary.

The venue enhanced the experience. “All seats had a microphone and a camera, so when someone is talking, the screen would detect the person. What an experience it was!” he said.

A majority of the hosts pamper tech groups with sumptuous food and mementoes. While tea and coffee make the basics, sandwiches and pizza are delectable add-ons.

Going by Mr. Chaudhary’s reading, these tech groups have these meet-ups on their own terms. “We are particular that the host does not use the opportunity to market any products. They however are free to talk on technical topics that will benefit the participants,” he sai.

Despite the presence of many tech companies, finding a good and free venue is not easy. Strategic location and good acoustics are among the key factors considered while zeroing in on a venue. Even geography seems to matter.

Nayyan, a co-organiser for two other meet-up groups, says Indiranagar is one of their favourite locality for such weekend meet-ups.


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