PortLabs is an incubator and prototyping space that is ready to help clean tech startups in our region from its home base in downtown Oakland, near the 19th Street BART station.  They have a new 22,000 square foot office space.  They offer shop space, coworking space, classes, and most importantly coaching and community.  Building a startup can be an isolating and lonely experience.  It is important to get involved in groups that keep the motivation up.  PortLabs looks like one way to do that.  We recorded our discussion with them and you can view it here.

They operate on a membership basis, but it’s pretty inexpensive, especially for a part-time membership.  And they offer a number of webinars for free.  They work with technology companies of all kinds, but do include clean tech.  Founder Sal Bednarz and his colleagues Matt Kelly (Community and Workshop Manager) and Kyle Valiton (Product Engineering and Manufacturing) have years of experience in prototyping and in connecting to experienced mentors and economic development funding.  They offer some of their services virtually, which may be of particular value here.  A promo video is available here.  

They are having some upcoming free events online.  You can sign up for any of these events, and others, at this site.  Just browse and see what looks interesting.  

Here are some topics that may be of interest:

Crowdfunding 101: Funding Your Small Business Through Kickstarter, Feb 22 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm PST

Closing the Best Deal – Negotiation for Start-Ups and Small Businesses, Mar 2 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm PST

Capital Planning Deep Dive, Mar 14 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm PST – the start of a four-session overview of how to make a capital plan for your startup or growing business.

Measure and Manage Your Company Valuation, Mar 23 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm PST

As an example of their connection to clean tech, they have one clean tech company in particular, a zinc ion battery company called Salient Energy.  They started with space for 2 engineers and now are at 7 staff, hoping to double soon—and then probably move out into their own space.  ChargePoint and EVGo similarly were members at their early stages and now obviously have become larger, successful companies.

Matthew says drop in any time you might need a place to hang your hat if you are doing business in the Bay Area.  They have one-day free passes.  They would love to give people a tour.  The door is open.

Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

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