SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


San Francisco Joins the Nation’s Industry Towns

It’s inescapable: Tech tinges almost every aspect of life here.

The San Francisco Bay Area is consumed by — and consuming — tech at an insatiable rate. Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Pinterest, Airbnb, Dropbox and countless start-ups rule the landscape, real-estate market, economy and mind set. Construction and/or expansion of tech facilities canvasses the city.

The total value of Bay-area tech companies worth more than $1 billion is over $3 trillion and growing, according to a recent report in The Economist.

This was underscored last week by Uber’s revised market valuation of $51 billion, making it the most valued tech start-up, eclipsing Facebook’s once-record march to that lofty figure. Apple isn’t about to be left out of the land rush: It’s renting more than 75,000 square feet of office space in the hip South of Market area in addition to constructing a new 2.8 million-square foot campus in Cupertino, Calif.

The Uber-ification of the region recalls previous industries that defined the City by the Bay. It started with the 1848-55 Gold Rush, evolved into a maritime trade center, morphed into a banking community, benefited from the dot-com boom, and now is the site of a migration of tech firms from the Peninsula and South Bay.

The latest iteration of San Francisco looks like it’s here to stay for a while, barring the “B” word (can you say bubble?). More on that later.

Until then, tech is here, there and everywhere in San Francisco. It defines and colors the region — from the ubiquitous display of smartphones and tech-themed billboards to rooftop parties and conferences.

For all intents and purposes, the Bay Area is as aligned with tech as the three other industry cities in the U.S. are to other sectors: New York to finance; Los Angeles to entertainment; and Washington, D.C., to politics.

Read more: USA TODAY San Francisco joins the nation’s industry towns