*A quick Google search reveals no shortage of cities proclaiming themselves as the next Silicon Valley.
With cities like Orlando, Florida; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Chicago making the claim, how can you be certain where the next tech boom is taking place?
According to The New York Times, locations with a strong research presence and where people actually want to live tend to be strong contenders in which startups look to cultivate a strong workforce.
Cities must also provide an unmatched business advantage in the form of cross-industry collaboration. So with apologies to Chattanooga, here are three cities primed to host the next tech boom.
Seattle, already home to big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, continues to attract more and more startups to the area. Other tech companies like Mozy, a cloud backup service for consumers and businesses and which is owned by Dell, are also making their home in Seattle. Not only is Seattle a great place to find talented employees, but the top talent from these established companies are more likely to remain in the Emerald City when looking for new careers and opportunities.
Forbes reports that venture capitalist investment in IT companies doubled between 2013 and 2014 to $804 million. While housing prices in Seattle can be expensive, tech workers can more than afford these locales as take-home pay is also considerably higher than most cities. Add to that the appeal of a big city known for its laid back attitude — surrounded by unrivaled natural beauty — and you have all the makings of a tech mecca.
Denver may not be home to some of the top tech cities compared to Seattle, but the city is experiencing a tech boom of its own. People want to live there. Between 2014 and 2015, Denver was the fastest-growing city in the country, with a population increase of 3 percent. Vauhini Vara wrote in the New Yorker that with research universities in Denver and nearby Boulder and Fort Collins, Denver has a highly educated workforce who wants to stay in the area.
Tech companies with local affiliate offices include IBM and Oracle, which become training grounds for startups. In 2015, Colorado startups received more than $800 million in venture capital money. Tech companies like Datalogix and Wayin are headquartered in the city. And like Seattle, people are attracted to Denver’s bustling but affordable housing market, the natural beauty of the area and active lifestyle.
Salt Lake City/Provo/Ogden
In 2015, the New Yorker reported that the Wasatch Front region of Utah — an area that includes Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden — had the makings of the next Silicon Valley. The New York Times agreed, saying this area fit the tech boom model of a great research university in BYU and is an area where a lot of people want to live, both for religious reasons and lifestyle perks, including affordable housing and access to outdoor activities. There is a significant concentration of startups valued at more than $1 billion in the area, like software company Qualtrics, as well as offices of established companies like Adobe and eBay.