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WeWork opens startup incubator WeWork Labs in Portland as part of global expansion

Co-working giant WeWork is expanding its WeWork Labs startup incubator concept to Portland, just a few months after doing the same in Seattle.

WeWork Labs will open at the company’s Old Town location in Portland — one of three in the city — next month, The Oregonian reported. It’s the second West Coast operation for WeWork Labs, which launched in Seattle this past September.

The program offers extra support for startups beyond core WeWork services such as mentoring, education, talent development, and access to services like legal representation and human resources. Startups also get access to WeWork’s sprawling global network, and WeWork benefits by bringing companies in to its ecosystem early.

Leading the Labs program in Portland is Stephen Green, a mainstay of Portland’s startup scene who joined WeWork earlier this year as a community director. He was previously a venture associate at Elevate Capital and a senior business development officer for the Portland Development Commission. Green also founded the PitchBlack competition for African-American, Latino, and Latina entrepreneurs.

WeWork Labs was first introduced in 2011, but hasn’t grown as fast as some of WeWork’s other initiatives and increasing focus on larger companies. Earlier this year, the company “re-launched” WeWork Labs with plans to expand. WeWork Labs is active in 15 cities worldwide and is opening in London and Frankfurt next month, in addition to Portland.

WeWork Labs differs from other accelerators and incubators in that it doesn’t take equity in the companies it houses, but it does charge rent. Elizabeth Scallon, who is based in Seattle and heads up the Labs program for the Northwest, called it “more of a curated, hand-holding experience for the startups” compared to traditional WeWork space.

“It’s providing those resources so that they can succeed at a faster rate,” she said earlier this year.

WeWork is one of the highest-valued private companies in the U.S. and has operations in more than 100 cities around the world.

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