We hope you enjoy this two-part blog post that examines popular tech hubs competing with Silicon Valley to become the premier tech destination and that uncovers which lifestyle factors motivate tech workers to stay there.
Seattle is a thriving tech hub with Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo and a slew of other established tech companies as well as startups nearby. Washington’s robust technical educational program and libraries also provide ample resources for young Millennials looking to join the tech job market. Even Seattle’s non-tech companies like Starbucks have embraced the digital world with mobile payment options that rival Apple Pay. Finally, opportunities for nature enthusiasts, renowned seafood, and more make Seattle a great alternative to Silicon Valley.
The startup competition and housing costs in San Francisco and Seattle lead many tech workers to Portland. Portland has slowly built up a strong tech reputation over the years and even tech giants like Apple, IBM and Salesforce have offices here. Outside of economic factors like affordable housing, many people choose to move to Oregon for its vibrant music scene, diverse foods, and less rainy weather than Seattle. The hit show Portlandia no doubt helped with Oregon’s popularity too.
Los Angeles, California
Many Bay Area startups relocated to L.A’s Venice Beach and Santa Monica resulting in the area gaining a new nickname: Silicon Beach. As expected, the tech growth attracted many venture capitalists’ attention with a reported 1.6 billion in new VC investments in L.A. and Southern California based on stats from PricewaterCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Additionally, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and media giants like Walt Disney and Time Warner all have offices in L.A. More affordable housing than the Bay Area, warmer weather, ample surfing opportunities and Hollywood all make L.A. a very appealing place for many startups.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah experienced tremendous tech growth last year with computer science, manufacturing, life sciences, energy development and more all in hot demand. The strong job growth means venture capital investment has been through the roof. According to Inc., Utah was the only tech hub to top Silicon Valley in average investment amount per deal last year. Lifestyle factors that attract people here include the breathtaking winter mountains, a huge Delta airline terminal for spontaneous getaway trips, great beer, light traffic and affordable housing.
One of Phoenix’s biggest advantages as a tech hub outside California involves its proximity to the Bay Area. Airplane flights less than two hours away allow many tech companies like BOCA’s client Gigya to open a second office there. Many startups praise Arizona for its business-friendly climate, which offers cheap office space, very low tax rates and a strong job training grant program. Other advantages include warmer weather, recruiting future tech workers from the two famous college universities and a tech sector that’s not as crowded as Silicon Valley.
The giant state of Texas has established itself as more than just a home for SXSW, the Dallas Cowboys and King of the Hill. The tech economy continues to thrive and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It also helps that Google made a substantial investment in Austin as a Google Tech Hub Network and chose Austin as its second broadband Google Fiber location. Samsung also made a $4 billion investment in the 30-year-old semiconductor and software industry that’s helped Austin prosper. Besides strong support from venture capitalists, the low housing make the city a great place to raise and family and the unique cultures makes it a good place to retire.
Stay tuned for part two, which covers big tech spots in the Northeast, Southeast, and other niche tech spots that may surprise you.
I wrote this blog originally for BOCA Communications.