Interview with Leanne Beesley, Founder and CEO at Backyard Office Space Start-Up: Nooka

Nooka is the world’s first network of smart, ergonomic and WiFi connected backyard office spaces that can also be re-rented out to your neighbours via the Nooka marketplace app when you’re not using it.

It’s fully equipped with ergonomic chairs, electric height adjustable desks, smart heating/air conditioning, and everything you need to do your best work with no distractions. Instead of an upfront purchase, we’ve made it really affordable with a low installation fee then a monthly subscription.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

We’re a team of 5 co-founders and we’ve all had experience ourselves with the challenges that come with working from home. Even before it became clear that COVID-19 would radically increase the amount of people working from home, we knew that remote work was going to be an important part of the future, working from home was a popular choice for many remote workers due to convenience, and that the ‘work from home’ experience needed improving.

Over the past decade, there’s been lots of innovation in the flexible workspace industry – from giants like WeWork to smaller independent coworking spaces. But many people just don’t want to commute to every day, so end up working from their kitchen table as they have no other option, even though they might not feel particularly productive in that environment. So we wanted to create an alternative. Something that falls somewhere between ‘working from home” and “working from a coworking space”.

That’s how we came up with the idea for Nooka, a network of fully connected “plug & play” smart proximity offices that people can easily walk to in residential areas.

Our big vision is that eventually everyone will live within a short walk to a Nooka, so they’ll always have a great space to work from.


What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

The advice I’d give to aspiring female entrepreneurs is the advice I was given by the legendary angel investor, Jason Calacanis, back when I was living in Silicon Valley. “Be a gladiator”, he said. His advice was in the context of walking into a room to pitch VCs, but I think it applies at every step of the entrepreneurial journey.

I suspect that self-doubt kills more early-stage startups than any other reason, as when tackling the unknown it’s so easy to sometimes feel like you’re not good enough / not smart enough / not capable enough to achieve success. It’s ok to feel scared every time you take a step up to a new level or challenge as an entrepreneur, whether it’s the fear of hiring your first employee or pitching an investor for the first time.

Just remember that this fear doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship, keep pushing through it until you reach the other side! Sometimes we look at other successful founders and think it all came naturally to them, but every entrepreneur I know has gone through the same type of journey with periods of self doubt. If you can afford it, a therapist or mindset coach can be a great investment.

If not, find people outside of your business that you can talk to – having friends that are entrepreneurs is helpful as they know what you’re going through. The more you make it a priority to take care of your mental health, the easier it is to channel that empowering gladiator mindset when you’re taking on new challenges and representing your startup.

What can we hope to see from Nooka in the future?

We’ve delivering across the EU this year, with expansion plans already in motion to launch in additional markets – including the USA in 2022. The future of work is changing, and remote work is going to play a major role in the world’s future.

We hope that Nooka will play a role in making remote work easier and more productive for everyone.