Kenyan shared office space company looks to profit from the changing world of work

Federico von Bary Landesmann (left) and Ronald Nyairo

Workstyle Africa is a Kenyan company that operates co-working spaces across different locations in Nairobi. The business was started in 2018 by Ronald Nyairo (30) and Federico von Bary Landesmann (34). Nyairo answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Workstyle is leading the evolution of the physical office. Adapting to the effects of Covid-19 has accelerated flexible schedules, online meetings and cost-cutting. We go to the office less, do a lot of independent work at home, and go to the office mainly for meetings and collaboration. The office is evolving, and Workstyle offers next-generation managed and serviced offices to global corporates and local SMEs across diverse sectors. Workstyle offices bring together prime locations, premium buildings, inspired design and flexible cost-effective contracts.

2. How did you finance your startup?

Initially, we opened our first location with only the founders’ capital. After delivering a profitable model, we raised a seed round in 2019 from Lateral Capital, a US venture capital fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa, to scale our business fivefold. We have already recently secured most of the funding for our next phase of growth.

3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?

We would accelerate our expansion in Nairobi and to West Africa and South Africa to meet the surging demand for flexible office solutions. We are expanding our footprint in Nairobi threefold in 2021, and from 2022 we plan to expand beyond East Africa.

A Workstyle office space in Nairobi.

4. What risks does your business face?

We face many challenges to ensure we deliver the highest level of service and quality of offices. Finding experienced and reliable suppliers is a consistent challenge but ironically one of the problems we solve for our clients. Finding skilled team members with the right mindsets can also be challenging.

5. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

We have always found our most successful marketing to be referrals from existing clients. Our clients shape our focus, the evolution of what we offer, and where and how we grow.

6. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

Navigating the business through Covid-19 – it has been terrifying and exciting in equal parts at different times. In time we expect we will look back on the last year as an inflection point. Among its many positive and negative effects, it has rapidly accelerated changes in how we work, and while we have had do adapt our offices, our offering and our business models, Covid-19’s effects are growing the demand for flexible office solutions.

Workstyle has several locations in Nairobi.

7. Name one untapped business opportunity in Africa.

African cities are expected to double in population over the next 30 years according to many reputable sources. That’s an incredible opportunity to build, expand and redevelop our urban areas. The greatest need is in affordable housing solutions for a young urban population, but the opportunities for urban development are endless across residential, commercial, industrial, hospitality and recreational use cases.

Workstyle Africa founders contact information

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