PSFK talks to Director of W+K Tomorrow about bolstering the start-up community by providing them a creative, educational, and collaborative working environment.
PSFK is excited to welcome Nick Barham as a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO. Nick is the Director of W+K Tomorrow, a Wieden + Kennedy initiative that experiments at the intersection of sustainability, emerging tech and story building, which has been heavily instrumental working within the start-up scene in Portland, Oregon. On November 1st, Nick will discuss the challenges facing creative businesses and introduce Sharp Stuff, a new publishing and story building experiment.
Can you tell us about the Portland Incubator Experiment? What is its goal?
PIE is a space within W+K for start-up tech companies.Founded by Renny Gleeson and Rick Turoczy, its goal is to help young companies develop, and to to offer a working and meet-up space for Portland’s tech community.Our 2012 class graduated in early October, so we hope all of those companies will find success as they continue to grow. We have been happy to see several companies from the 2011 class achieve substantial funding and continue to expand their capabilities.
What changes have you noticed in the startup space? Is PIE a response to some of these?
Mainstream appeal and (over) familiarity of the idea of start-ups. There are many more start-ups than great businesses. And there’s been a subsequent growth of incubators, accelerators, etc to support them. PIE tries to make sure it can offer an experience that sets it apart from other incubators. So we supported the 2012 class with branding and positioning. We also included a non-profit in the class because we felt their mission of growing the number of women coders and developers would be beneficial to the wider tech community.
What service can W+K provide these start-ups? In turn, what can W+K learn from the start-up community?
PIE provides most of the support and services for the start-ups. Run by Rick Turoczy, he ensures that they have a creative and collaborative working environment, access to our wide network of mentors, advice about product development, funding, pricing, etc. And lots of good Portland food and beer.
For the 2012 class, W+K offered strategy, positioning and identity work for the start-ups. We helped with naming two companies and developed brand identities for five.
Entrepreneurs and developers are a new creative class, and W+K is always keen to understand how creativity, in its various diverse forms, can make our work better.
Can you help us picture an optimistic future based on your work?
One day all people will work with the energy and passion of a start-up CEO, but without the long hours.
Please join us on November 1st to hear Nick discuss igniting the start-up scene in Portland through providing an educational and collaborative environment at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO.