September 19th, 2012
Everything old is new again: Next generation of Portland coworking spaces begins to take shape
Portland was pretty early on the coworking bandwagon. The lean and collegial environments—with little required in terms of financial commitment—seemed to work well with our disparate workforce and pervading startup culture. And folks flocked to them even in the doldrums of the last decade.
But while the spaces proved to be a compelling component of the community, one thing that didn’t seem to work as well was the financing. No one, it seems, had really figured out a way to make coworking pencil out. Let alone figuring out how to knock a sustainable business model out of the park.
So many folks returned to the coffeeshops. And the couches. And the kitchen table.
Of the first generation, NedSpace continues to be a space of choice for startup types. With a few other spaces appealing to a more diverse base of renters. Portland State Business Accelerator, which also offers preferential rates and leases to small companies, also continues to be oversold.
Now, there’s a new generation of coworking spaces taking another run at it. And hoping that—this time around—there’s enough critical mass to keep them going and growing.
One of those is Collective Agency, which rose from the ashes of previous coworking space, Souk. Collective Agency has taken a decidedly democratic tact for managing their space with an environment that is designed to be “a cooperatively organized workplace offering membership and meeting space to the public.”
The workspace, itself, is beautiful with exposed brick and interesting decor. And, as luck would have it, they’re holding an open house this week. So you’re welcome to swing by during work hours to take a gander at their set up.
Another coworking space in the works is HUBpdx, part of the HUB network of coworking spaces. [Full disclosure: I'm on the HUB founding committee.] HUB uses the membership model for all of its locations worldwide. Which means if you’re a HUB member, you can work out of their spaces in San Francisco, New York, Seoul, and any number of other US and international locales.
Folks who are interested in keeping up-to-date on the progress can sign up at HUBpdx for more information.
And hopefully, there are more options in the offing. Rumors of another home for startups in Portland and a coworking space in the suburbs have also crossed my desk recently. Although it’s still early to reveal much about those at the moment.
Got another hidden gem of a coworking space? I’d love to hear about it.