Some reassuring data for those worried unicorns are wrecking the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Region is a worldwide powerhouse at launching startups that go on to dominate their industries. For locals, this has lengthy been a blessing and a curse.

On the vibrant side, the tech startup machine produces properly-paid tech jobs and dollars flowing into regional economies. On the flip side, it also exacerbates housing scarcity and sky-higher living fees.

These challenges have been leading-of-thoughts lengthy ahead of the unicorn boom: Just after all, tech giants from Intel to Google to Facebook have been scaling up in Northern California for more than 4 decades. Lately nonetheless, the query of how several tech giants the area can sustainably help is acquiring fresh interest, as Pinterest, Uber and other super-important regional firms embark on the IPO path.

The worries of techie oversaturation led us at Crunchbase News to take a appear at the query: To what extent do tech firms launched and primarily based in the Bay Region continue to develop right here? And what portion of personnel perform elsewhere?

For these agonizing about the inflationary effect of the regional unicorn boom, the information gives a bit of reassurance. Although firms founded in the Bay Region seldom move their headquarters, their workforces have a tendency to turn into considerably extra geographically dispersed as they develop.

Headquarters ≠ headcount

Just simply because a corporation is primarily based in Northern California does not imply most workers are there also. Headquarters, our survey shows, does not generally translate into headcount.

“Headquarters location can often be the wrong benchmark to use to identify where employees are located,” said Steve Cadigan, founder of Cadigan Talent Ventures, a Silicon Valley-primarily based talent consultancy. That is especially the case for massive tech firms.

Amongst the biggest technologies employers in Northern California, Crunchbase News located most have fewer than 25 % of their complete-time personnel functioning in the city exactly where they’re headquartered. We lay out the facts for 10 of the most important regional tech firms in the chart under.

With the exception of Intel, all of these firms have a double-digit percentage of personnel at headquarters, so it is not as if they’re leaving town. Nevertheless, if you are a new employ at Silicon Valley’s most important firms, it seems possibilities are higher that you will be primarily based outdoors of headquarters.

Tesla, meanwhile, is somewhat of a exclusive case. The corporation is primarily based in Palo Alto, but does not crack the city’s list of leading 10 employers. In nearby Fremont, Calif., nonetheless, Tesla is the biggest city employer, with roughly 10,000 reportedly functioning at its auto plant there.(Tesla has about 49,000 personnel globally.)

Unicorns flock to San Fran, workers much less so

Higher-valuation private and lately public tech firms can also be quite dispersed.

Though they have a tendency to have a bigger percentage of personnel at headquarters than extra-established technologies giants, the unicorn crowd does like to spread its wings.

Take Uber, the poster kid for this trend. Though primarily based in San Francisco, the ride-hailing giant has fewer than 1-fourth of its personnel there. Out of a worldwide workforce of about 22,300, only about 5,000 are SF-primarily based.

It is unclear if that sort of breakdown is standard. We had difficulty assembling equivalent geographic employee counts at other Bay Region unicorns, mostly simply because cities break out numbers only for their 10 biggest employers. The lion’s share of regional unicorns are San Francisco-primarily based, and of them only Uber produced the Top rated 10.

That stated, there is an additional, rougher methodology for assessing who functions at headquarters: job postings. At a quantity of the most important Bay Region-primarily based unicorns — such as Airbnb, Juul, Lime, Instacart, Stripe and the now-public Lyft —  a higher quantity of open positions are far from the dwelling workplace. And as we wrote final year, private firms have been actively searching for out cities to set up secondary hubs.

Even for earlier-stage startups, it is not uncommon to set up headquarters in the San Francisco location for access to financing and networking, even though carrying out the bulk of hiring in an additional place, Cadigan stated. The evolution of collaborative perform tools has also enabled extra firms to add employees functioning remotely or in secondary offices.

Plus, of course, unicorn startups have a tendency to be national or worldwide in concentrate, and that necessitates hiring exactly where their clients are situated.

Take our jobs, please

As we wrap up, it is worth bringing up how uncommon it when was for denizens of a metro location to oppose a huge influx of higher-ability jobs. In the previous couple of years, nonetheless, these attitudes have turn into extra frequent. Witness Queens residents’ mixed reactions to Amazon’s HQ2 plans. And in San Francisco, a possible surge of newly minted IPO millionaires is causing some consternation amongst locals, along with jubilation amongst the realtor crowd.

Just as college towns retain area for new students by graduating older ones, nonetheless, it appears affordable that sustaining Northern California’s strength as a startup hub calls for locating jobs out-of-location as firms scale. That could be great news for other cities, such as Austin, Phoenix, Nashville, Portland and other folks, which have emerged as common secondary areas for quick-increasing unicorns.

That stated, we’re not predicting close to-term contraction in Bay Region tech employment, especially of the startup range. The region’s enormous entrepreneurial and venture ecosystem keeps on generating important newcomers properly-capitalized to maintain hiring.


We looked only at employment at corporation headquarters (except for Apple) . Firms on the list may possibly have more personnel primarily based in other Northern California cities. For Apple, we integrated all Silicon Valley personnel, per estimates by the Silicon Valley Business enterprise Journal.

Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred for the biggest employers. Most of the information is for complete-time personnel only. Significant tech employers employ predominantly complete-time for employees positions, so aspect-time, irrespective of whether integrated or not, is anticipated to reflect only a extremely compact percentage of employment.

Cities list their 10 biggest employers in annual reports. We employed either the annual reports themselves or information excerpted in Wikipedia, utilizing calendar year 2017 or 2018.