16 Sep LExC Welcomes The Port Workspaces [Oakland, CA]
“Proudly Oakland-born & bred.”
Nope, not pirates—it’s The Port Workspaces. Situated on sunny Oakland’s historic waterfront, The Port boasts 3 locations that are meticulously designed to fit any work style, including whatever work style it is that requires a 30-foot tube slide! But that’s not all. Want to hang out at a place that has companies making robots on one floor and plant-based shrimp on another? Or meet some of the most innovative non-profits working in programs for youth? Or hang out with incredible artisan chefs? That’s The Port, and LExC is beyond excited to welcome this diverse, dynamic community into our network. Read on to discover more about what makes The Port so extraordinary (it’s not just the tube slide).
LExC: Why did you decide to apply to LExC? What member feature are you most excited about?
TPW: We are thrilled to be joining LExC. Joel, our founder, has had us dreaming of the day when we would be able to connect globally with the coolest independent coworking spaces in the world. In addition to being excited to offer our members the opportunity to visit LExC spaces as well as welcome other LExC members near and far, our team is looking forward to joining the community of people working in the field, to share ideas and best practices.
“The Port is proud to reflect the extraordinary diversity of Oakland, California, the most demographically and linguistically diverse cities in America.”
LExC: What characteristics of your community make your space extraordinary?
TPW: The Port Workspaces is proudly Oakland, CA born. We occupy three historic buildings here on the sunny side of the San Francisco Bay. These include a former broom factory, a former gold-rush era hotel and “bawdy house” (frequented by Jack London himself and talked about in his novels) and a former 1960s-era indoor shopping mall. In addition to offering coworking, desks, offices and spaces for teams, we have Oakland’s largest coworking kitchen (The Port Kitchens), a video production studio (The Port Studio), and Port Academy, our home for technology education. We are also developing a Port Makerspace concept – a prototyping and maker facility slated for in 2017. Our three neighborhood locations are all walking distance from one another and public transit. Our Kaiser Campus location has a private roof terrace overlooking Lake Merritt and a 3.2 acre public roof garden as its backyard, complete with a pond and ridiculously adorable baby ducks. When our 101 Broadway members need a break from work, they can ride our 30-foot green spiral tube slide — a.k.a. our “gravitational productivity booster.” If you’ve never had a meeting in a former walk-in refrigerator, the Cooler is definitely the place for you. The Port offers distinct environments for your every mood.
LExC: What kinds of coworkers call your space home?
TPW: The Port is proud to reflect the extraordinary diversity of Oakland, California, the most demographically and linguistically diverse cities in America. Our members are entrepreneurs, artists, chefs, makers, tech startups, non-profit companies and independent professionals. Our unusual variety of specialized spaces (light industrial, culinary, studio) lets us extend coworking to users outside of traditional office use. Port Kitchens provides a unique home for artisan chefs, caterers, foodtech startups and aspiring restaurateurs. We’ve become a hub for edtech companies and robotics entrepreneurs, and for a variety of technology educators including coding instructors and an electrical engineer career accelerator. Our resident incubator Batchery, the East Bay’s largest non-university tech incubator, attracts a large number of investor-advisors and software entrepreneurs. Finally, reflective of Oakland’s robust political and social enterprise environment, we are proud to host an unusually high number of nonprofit and activist organizations. We’ve got innovators of every stripe—from robot builders to artisan chefs—and an ecosystem of supportive members who enjoy contributing to and sharing our spaces and creating community.
LExC: Describe a unique way in which a coworker has utilized your space or connected with your community.
TPW: One of our most recent members has a company that makes crowd-controlled, pet-sized robots. They are using our soon-to-be Port Makerspace to create cool environments for their weekly webcasts, including a castle and dungeon environment. During their live webcasts on Twitch, thousands of people can get online and control the robots themselves. Just recently the company and space was filmed for an episode of “Beyond Geek”, broadcast on public television here in the U.S.
LExC: What kind of music is playing in your space?
TPW: Joel Pool, our CEO and founder, met Jerome Chang of BLANKSPACES at his first GCUC in 2012, as well as Nick Clark from Common Desk, just as both Nick and Joel were starting up their first locations. Joel also has worked closely with Eric Zellhart at Liquidspace since the Port’s first days.
LExC: Where do your members usually go for lunch? Happy hour?
TPW: We’ve got tons of options near all three of our locations in Oakland – a food-lovers mecca. Our members can also purchase great box lunches or catering from from a variety of artisan food vendors who are Port Kitchens member-chefs. We host Wine Wednesdays and TGIFriday happy hours which are often sponsored by members of The Port community.
LExC: What is your most popular recurring event?
TPW: Our monthly Member Lunches are a time to showcase local food vendors, and also give our members an opportunity to meet one another, share any exciting announcements, and enjoy a free lunch!
LExC: Describe your space’s “vibe” in 3 words.
TPW: Inspiring, surprising, playful.
LExC: If your coworking community was a superhero, what superpower would it possess?
TPW: Our mascot, Lola, is a female pirate. She is our very own superhero. She possesses the playful fierceness that keeps our ship proudly afloat for our entrepreneurs in any weather. Her superpower is to put a smile on the faces of the stressed and cynical!