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cities tech cities

Global Tech Cities: Bay Area

Robert Sammons • 8/8/2022

The Catalyst

The region surrounding the San Francisco Bay remains the epicenter of the technology industry. It is homebase to some of the most powerful–and profitable–companies in the world, including multiple locations across the region for Alphabet (Google) with 40,000+ local employees (4.2% growth over past 12 months), Apple with 25,000+ local employees (4.0% growth) and Facebook with 17,000+ local employees (8.3% growth). Beyond those behemoths are many other homegrown public and private companies on both the hardware and software sides in a wide variety of industry verticals. There have been a variety of factors that have contributed to the strength of this market over the years, including the sheer depth of talent. That is derived in many respects from the local universities where many of the founders of the local technology companies graduated or at least attended for a time. Those include UC Berkeley (42,000 students), Stanford University (16,900), UC San Francisco (3,300), San Francisco State University (29,600) and UC Davis (35,200). The regional impact has been exponential—those that started their careers at the tech giants left to start their own companies, the venture capitalists were local and it was incumbent on them to keep their start-ups in the Bay Area at least initially. In short, well-funded companies are still being created here at a faster pace than anywhere else and there is significant money flowing into the companies themselves and into the local economy.

Quality of Life

The cost of doing business, the cost of living and a strained labor force are all issues the region has struggled with for years; in fact, it has caused several high-profile companies to move their HQs though still maintaining a significant footprint in the region. The Bay Area is made up of several urban nodes surrounded by rather dense suburbs all connected via mass transit (Caltrain, BART and others) and of course numerous freeways. The region is quite large geographically and near or surrounded by water as well as mountains. The temperate climate lends itself to numerous outdoor activities. 

Tech Real Estate

Many of the big tech players maintain a significant presence in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County) and the Peninsula (San Mateo County) which is a more suburban environment. Most of those companies along with numerous startups (VC-backed) also have offices in the more urban environment of San Francisco as much of the talent has had more of a desire to live in the city and its transit-oriented environment along with a wide variety of major cultural institutions and a large selection of bars and restaurants. Due to the cost of living and doing business, some of those companies and their employees have migrated to Oakland in the East Bay to work and live.

 

Tech Cities: The Global Intersection of Talent and Real Estate
In this report we assess how tech cities are competing for business across key talent, real estate, and business environment metrics.
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