Co-Work LATAM: "It all started with a failure..."

Chile Co Work

It all started with one failure. A few years out of university with experience in the boutique investment-banking world, Sebastian O’Ryan got the entrepreneurial bug and launched a toy company in Chile with a couple partners. “We had huge success as a company, but in the end we had to shut the business down. We didn’t have the expertise or cash flow to run the business,” says Sebastian. “Looking back, we had made so many mistakes that were just so obvious.”

Co Work Latam

Sebastian and his partners decided to pass along their experiences, about both their failures and successes to the entrepreneurial community by creating co-work spaces. “If we can pass along our experiences to others, we can help them avoid the same mistakes we did, and in the end, develop their businesses more efficiently and successfully. That’s really cool.”

After four years, Sebastian now has six co-work spaces in Chile, Uruguay and Colombia. “We are currently opening the seventh and by the end of the year, we’d like to have a total of 10 co-work spaces up and running. At Co-Work LATAM, one of their defining principals is radical collaboration where you commit to helping your fellow co-workers while expecting nothing in return. “We have a 5 minute rule. When someone asks you for help, you have to agree to give him or her at least 5 minutes of your time. You never know where a connection or piece of advice will change the tables for a business. The 5 minute rule encourages the sharing of experiences.”

For Sebastian, one of the things that makes him happiest about the business is when he sees two people working together on a project that didn’t know one another previously. “We are making changes in people’s businesses and personal lives for the better.”

As Co-Work continues to expand, one of their biggest challenges is maintaining their culture throughout all locations, regardless of the country it’s located in. “I would love to have a co-work in each of the most important capitals around the world. That’s between 50 and 100 locations! By 2020, I hope we’ll be at 50 locations.”

At the end of the day, “if you think of all the risks an entrepreneur takes and analyze them, you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have to be “stupid enough” or “inspired enough” to ignore the risk and start their enterprise regardless of risk. But, at the end of the day if it wasn’t for these crazy, innovative entrepreneurs we wouldn’t be the same society we are today. They make the world of a difference.”