September 19th, 2012

Everything old is new again: Next generation of Portland coworking spaces begins to take shape


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.

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6 Responses to “Everything old is new again: Next generation of Portland coworking spaces begins to take shape”

  1. Lynn says:

    So excited for HUBpdx!! Met with Matt, Jennie and Mitch about it – let me know about any collaboration meetings you guys might have.

  2. AdamD says:

    Speaking of being early in the coworking phenomenon, I can’t say enough good about the now out of business CubeSpace. What Twitter is to the community in the virtual realm, CubeSpace was in person.

    It’s great to see many options taking shape, because hopefully it means plenty of new businesses to support these shared workplaces.

  3. Kelley Roy says:

    Don’t forget about the ADX coworking space. Desk rentals come with unlimited access to 10,000 square feet of shop space! We also have hourly and daily rates for folks who want to just drop in. Free coffee and access to an amazing network of businesses, product developers and more! Anyone can join – tech geeks (we have those!) wood workers, metal workers, laser enthusiasts, seamsters, marketing gurus, branding experts….all under one roof!
    Feel free to stop by anytime for a tour!

  4. Metroknow says:

    Second the note from AdamD on CubeSpace. Hopefully a similar cohesive and diverse community will spring from the new offerings the way it did there.

  5. Brent says:

    Somehow again, Rick you are perfectly timely with your posts. I was just looking into this.

    The time of the digital vagabond is upon us !!!

  6. Tony Fuentes says:

    I’m definitely a big fan of what is happening in these work environment, a lot great collaboration is sparking and you really see it when you spend time at places like NedSpace.

    We’re launching something similar in the Family Room at Milagros that is designed to support mamapreneurs in need of co-working space. Most of the basic elements of co-working will be available in the mamarepneur co-working space we are developing but users will be able to bring their little one with them, there will be a play area, as well as changing table and a nursing/breast pump area.

    We have supported a “bring your kid” to work policy at Milagros since day one and believe there is a need by many local freelancers and entrepreneurs for a similar environment.

    I don’t know if there is anything like this elsewhere in the USA, so at a minimum, a mamapreneurs co-workings space will make for a Portlandia moment.

    Ciao!

    Tony Fuentes
    Milagros Boutique
    & VOIS Business Alliance Dude


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