Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
In high tech, San Francisco used to be seen as a suburb of Silicon Valley.Not anymore.
Super angel Ron Conway says there’s been a migration of tech companies into urban areas — more than 50% of his portfolio companies are now based in the city of San Francisco.
That’s up from 20% a few years ago.
Something like 1,500 companies employ more than 30,000 people — a number that’s coming close to the last tech bubble.
Conway was speaking at an event in San Francisco this afternoon to announce the launch of San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation (sf.citi), which wants to connect the tech community to government.
“We know there is a skills gap and an experience gap. With training we can fill those gaps and employ more San Franciscans in San Francisco,” Conway said.
The program will hopefully bring together talented tech guys who can help the government fix problems like the horrible taxi system in SF or to band together to address Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which threatens to censor the Internet.
But for the most part, Mayor Ed Lee said the program will help create jobs and train people to work in technology.
“I want to hope instilled in our kids and people in their mid careers that there is a chance. I want them all to believe…in what SF is doing to improve this city,” he said.
The program will do this by asking all the HR departments in the tech community for available positions and then find out the skills these companies need and go ahead and train people in the community.
After the announcement, I spoke to a few of the tech entrepreneurs.
Sam Zaid, co-founder of Getaround said, “for me, I think this is great because you have people speaking the same language. There’s a barrier when private companies try to collaborate with the public sector. The more you do it, the easier it is for more people to work together. You figure things out that much quicker.”
Standing in the back, Aaron Bell, the CEO AdRoll, told me that “it’s exciting that the SF tech community is unifying and standing together to have a unified voice into government. Last year there were issues with taxation on private stock options and the crisis of Twitter almost leaving. That could have been more smoothly addressed if there was an organisation like sf.citi. Bringing the innovative tech community together can also help situations like creating jobs or catching an Uber cab and see the driver swipe your card with his Square device.”
It will be interesting to see what this “innovative” team does now that its entrepreneurial ambitions have been expressed.