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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

July 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Seattle faces scrappy rivals for tech crown

Creative class scholar Richard Florida has been digging into the geography of venture capital deals and high-tech startups, with a particular interest in how they are shifting from suburbs to cities, e.g. from Silicon Valley proper to San Francisco. His latest post has good news and bad news for Seattle.

Looking at venture capital deals by area code, Seattle’s 206 comes in at No. 10 nationally. The leaders are Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Los Altos), San Francisco, Manhattan and Boston. San Francisco leaped ahead of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara in Silicon Valley. Seattle comes in at No. 11 in dollar value, with Bellevue, Redmond and the Seattle suburbs ranked No. 16.

For my money, the Bay Area is sui generis with its combination of world-class universities, federal research operations, VC outfits and deep roots for technology companies going all the way back to Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett’s garage in 1939 and the defection of “The Traitorous Eight” from Shockley Semiconductor in 1957. So Seattle isn’t going to be the “next Silicon Valley.” No place is going to be the “next Silicon Valley.” Competing against New York and Boston is similarly unrealistic. The action is among the next tier, and here’s the bad news: Seattle faces formidable competition.

For example, in Florida’s area-code study, Denver-Boulder and Austin both came in ahead of Seattle in number of deals, and San Diego was just behind. In dollar value of deals, San Diego ranked No. 6, Austin No. 10 and Denver No. 12. The top 25 includes some expected contenders, such as Raleigh-Durham — but also Chicago and Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Seattle can’t take its advantages for granted. (And this ranking doesn’t even include world competitors, including from China).

And Don’t Miss: Subsidy megadeals out of control since the Great Recession | Middle Class Political Economist

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Food stamps for grifters?

The House must think poor people

Are defense outfits

Comments | More in Tech economy | Topics: Seattle economy, Venture capital


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