As we were building out the 2013 StateTech Must-Read IT Blog list, we discovered a number of regional tech sites covering IT and innovation at the local level. Several of the sites' names played on the term "Silicon Valley," and soon we realized that there was a network of "Silicon" tech hubs around the country. Here's a list of the most active areas, with examples of the companies that make their homes in each respective city.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the Comments.
The original tech hub and birthplace of the some of the world’s most influential technology companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Adobe, HP, Netflix, VMware and hundreds more. What else needs to be said?
Silicon Alley — New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has invested heavily in technology. Most notably, he hired the first chief digital officer, Rachel Haot. Their work is paying dividends as more technology companies call New York City home, bringing them ever closer to their West Coast rival, according to WNYC News.
The genius of Silicon Valley, [Anna Lee-Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley] said, is its ability to market new ideas. “It’s about commercializing ideas, trying multiple experiments, new products, new ideas very, very quickly.”
“Our goals for New York are not to be number two. Our goal is to be number one, and today that position is clearly held by Silicon Valley,” said Seth Pinsky, the president of the Economic Development Corporation. “We think, though, that we have the ability over time to continue to gain on Silicon Valley.”
Silicon Bayou — New Orleans
There is so much innovation happening in Louisiana that a website has popped up for the sole purpose of covering the growth of tech in the region: Silicon Bayou News. The Verge recently did a feature on tech startups in New Orleans, and Inc. magazine named New Orleans the coolest startup city in America.
This is a place where entrepreneurs, developers, innovators, and venture capitalists are making great strides in modern technology. The state government, economic development groups, universities, start-up accelerators, and many more are supporting entrepreneurship and high growth companies here like never before.
Silicon Beach — Los Angeles
California is big enough to house two of the preeminent tech hubs in the United States. The L.A. metropolitan region is home to hundreds of startups, many of which have an "entertainment, celebrity or mobile edge," according to USA Today:
More than 500 tech start-ups have sprouted in sprawling Los Angeles and its environs, according to members of the L.A. tech scene who have compiled the list online as RepresentLA.com. But most of the action is at the beach.
"There's a creative energy to Venice," says James Citron, CEO of Venice-based Mogreet, a mobile entertainment marketing company. "A better quality of life. You can go surfing in the morning, code by day … and the weather's better than Palo Alto."
Read more at USA Today.
Silicon Canal — Seattle
Seattle, which is situated on the Lake Washington Ship Canal and also referred to as the Silicon Sound, is well known for its technology companies. Amazon and Microsoft are both headquartered in the Seattle area, along with Starbucks, which caters to caffeinated techies with mobile payments and free Wi-Fi.
The Fremont neighborhood is a niche of the Seattle tech scene and houses offices for Google, Adobe, GettyImages, Cray Supercomputers, Boeing, Nintendo and a number of smaller companies. It's been referred to as the "Silicon Canal" by various media outlets like The Seattle Times and KOMO News on occasion.
Silicon Desert — Phoenix
Did you know that Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the United States? Neither did we. AZ Tech Beat covers technology in the state and put together this amazing map of regional tech companies and investors. Check it out to get an idea of just how much innovation is happening in the Southwest.
Silicon Forest — Portland, Ore.
Portland, Ore., has quietly been building up an impressive roster of major tech companies with offices in their city. Apple, Intel, Xerox, Salesforce.com and IBM all have employees there. Nike, which, like Starbucks, is evolving into a technology company with mobile apps and wearable tech gear, also has an office in Portland. Check out the full list on Wikipedia, as well as Mike Rogoway’s Silicon Forest blog on OregonLive.com.
Silicon Harbor — Charleston, S.C.
Fast Company's profile of Charleston tells you everything you need to know about this rapidly growing tech hub: Despite being the 75th largest metro area in the U.S.,
Charleston is ranked in the top 10 fastest growing cities for software and Internet technology, according to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.
Big companies with footprints in Charleston include Blackbaud, Boeing, and Google. TwitPic and Amazon's CreateSpace count among the household names to emerge from Charleston.
“The reason people are here and want to be here is because it's a great lifestyle community, says Ernest Andrade, director of business development for the city of Charleston. “When you're in the technology industry you can choose to live where you want to.”
Silicon Hill — Washington, D.C.
The D.C. area is better known for politics and bureaucracy, but technology companies have been popping up in the city for the past few years. 1776, a startup incubator, recently launched just a few blocks from the White House with help from Microsoft and the city government. Check out Proudly Made in DC for a list of startups that call the nation’s capital home.
The growth of the Washington area's tech scene has many evangelists. Raymond Schillinger, a web producer for PBS's Digital Studios, used the "Silicon" moniker to trumpet the rise of the District's tech ecosystem in a 2011 article on the Huffington Post.
Silicon Hills — Austin, Texas
SXSW, the popular music and film convention, has been held in Austin for more than 25 years. Recently, the city's eccentric approach to the arts has permeated the tech scene as well. A sampling of the tech companies in the area include Dell, 3M, Apple, Google, Xerox, Oracle and AMD. According to the NY Times, venture capitalists have played an important role in the growth of the region's tech sector:
The city’s high-tech area adopted the name “Silicon Hills” in the 1990s. Since then the start-up infrastructure has expanded to bring along new companies and sustain old ones. Today, Austin is one of the top areas for venture capital investment in the country, garnering $621 million in 2012, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Software and semiconductor firms received about 43 percent of that.
Silicon Prairie — The Heartland
According to Silicon Prairie News, there are three tech hubs that make up the Silicon Prairie: Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and both halves of Kansas City. Wyoming, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota also have a tech presence. It's an enormous region, but these hubs are experiencing rapid growth in the tech sector. Kansas City, for example, has seen an influx of startups ever since it became the first city to get Google Fiber. Check out Silicon Prairie News for information about companies and innovation in the area.
Silicon Shire — Eugene and Springfield, Ore.
There aren't many hobbits in Oregon, but there are a lot of technology companies. Rick Turoczy put it best on his site Silicon Florist:
Apparently middle Oregon has a great deal in common with Middle Earth. The Eugene startup scene just launched Silicon Shire, and it’s an interesting visualization of what’s happening in the startup scene.
SiliconShire.org is loaded with great information, including an interactive map of tech companies in the region that wisely includes nearby microbreweries.
Silicon Slopes — Utah
In Utah, the tech sector is moving faster than the skiers. With Google Fiber on its way to Provo, the state is preparing for more jobs and more innovation, according to NPR.
Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies. Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.
Check out SiliconSlopes.com for more information.