New Coworking Space Planned for South Portland

September 27, 2017

8:30 am

What's a tech ecosystem without a coworking space? At the Startup South Portland pitch contest, the winner wasn't an app, a gadget, but a coworking space.

James LaPlante, who pitched his concept for a new coworking and shared-studio space named SoPoCo.Works, took home the win.

LaPlante, who runs his own Emmy-award-winning animation studio, told Maine Startups Insider he’s currently working on financing, but hopes to open the space in early 2018.

The space will be located on Broadway near Cash Corner and offer the usual coworking amenities such as: shared and private office space, communal kitchen, printer, conference room, etc. What makes this coworking space unique is LaPlante plans to create a small production studio for members who want to create YouTube content, a Kickstarter video, or product photos. He also plans to provide members with access to virtual reality development equipment.

“We’re just completing financing and hope to start the build out on our building in November,” LaPlante said. “We hope to create a collaborative working community with a technology, media and design focus.”

With media and design as a focus, SoPoCo.Works will be anchored by LaPlante’s own studio, Sputnik Animation, which has produced work for clients such as National Geographic, PBS NOVA, The Discovery Channel and MIT.

LaPante walked away with $750 and secured a spot to compete for a grand prize in the final pitch event on Oct. 4.

Startup South Portland Finals

Startup South Portland finals will feature LaPlante and second place winner Amanda Farrington of Latte Meow, along with the top two finishers from the first pitch contest, Allegra McNeally from Blynk Technologies, the smart shopping cart startup, and Luke Thomas, founder of Friday Feedback.

The panel of judges at the final event will be Martha Bentley from the Maine Technology Institute, Kerem Durdag, COO of GWI, Sam Fratoni, chair of Maine Angels, plus representatives from sponsors, Opticliff Law and People’s United Bank.

The winner will receive $1,500, and the runner-up will receive $750. The top two finishers will also receive a package of trademark law services from Opticliff Law.

Other sponsors include: the City of South Portland, the South Portland Economic Development Committee, and Southern Maine Community College.

Read more about emerging Maine startups at TechCo 

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Whit Richardson is a former daily newspaper journalist in Portland, Maine, who has covered business and entrepreneurship for the past decade. He's founder of Maine Startups Insider and currently editor-in-chief of 4Front Publishing, an online news startup covering the nascent legal cannabis industry.