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We’ve talked before about how Google has Portland fever — using the Rose City to test new products like Google Offers and real-time transit information. Now, the search giant is tossing its weight behind the Portland Incubator Experiment  — the startup incubator better known as PIE.

Rick Turoczy, who leads PIE, confirmed that Google is one of the major corporations (along with Coca-Cola and Target) that’s providing both monetary and staffing support to the initiative.

PIE is modeled on TechStars, the popular startup incubation program which started in Boulder and graduated its first Seattle class last summer.  We chatted with Turoczy about the concept on the GeekWire podcast and radio show earlier this month.

Started as a co-working space with advertising giant Wieden + Kennedy, it has now evolved into more of a mentorship program. Turoczy said the goal is to develop “better startups” in Portland and “help them grow more quickly.”

While there are all sorts of tech incubators popping up, Turoczy said that PIE is different because of its alliances with major brands. “It provides a new interesting opportunity beyond just venture capital funding,” he said.

As to Google’s involvement, Turoczy said:

“Having been small tech start-ups themselves at one point, both Google and YouTube are thrilled at the opportunity to join in supporting the Portland Incubator Experiment, helping the next generation tech start-ups build their brands through the use of digital communication tools.”

The application deadline for PIE is August 1, and Turoczy is actively encouraging startups from throughout the Pacific Northwest to apply. The first candidates — who will enter the program on September 1 — will receive $18,000 in startup capital and free office space for three months.

[Hat tip to TechCrunch]

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