Artificial intelligence. Software. Ecommerce. Semiconductors and nanotechnology. The Central Coast is a thriving tech hub, home to leading companies, a ripe entrepreneurial ecosystem and two top STEM-focused universities.
Amazon, Google, Zoom, PayPal and Sonos are some of the household names with operations in Santa Barbara, which newcomer Jackpocket has dubbed the “Silicon Riviera.” Up-and-comers include Appfolio, a cloud-based property management software with a $4.6 billion market capitalization, and Cognixion, a neural-interface start-up that earned investment from the Amazon Alexa Fund.
“Silicon Coast” is what Postal.io calls San Luis Obispo County, which landed on the tech map as wellness juggernaut Mindbody grew from garage to global company. It now has plenty of company, from small scrappy start-ups and mid-size companies attracting M&A deals to the nation’s leading voice for right-to-repair advocacy, iFixit, and Amazon, which has a growing office in downtown San Luis Obispo.
- Santa Barbara-based Invoca and Logic Monitor were named among Inc. magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2022.
- Two Santa Barbara software companies, cyber defense company MixMode and video analytics/compliance software company Theta Lake, raised $50 million and $45 million, respectively in March
- Santa Barbara-based Resonant, an emerging leader in 5G technology for mobile devices, was acquired by Murata Electronics in February
- Jackpocket, the country’s first licensed third-party lottery app which recently raised $120 million in series D funding, opened its second U.S. headquarters in Santa Barbara in November
- Santa Barbara-based Cognixion, which uses artificial intelligence-powered neural interfaces to help people with disabilities, raised $12 million in seed capital in November to fund expansion and development of its new augmented reality headset
- The $1.9B San Luis Obispo-based wellness platform Mindbody acquired Class Pass, a billion-dollar subscription-based fitness marketplace, in October and secured a $500 million investment, sparking a new growth phase and opening the door to a new IPO
regional knowledge and innovation companies
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“Software is the future and the Central Coast is poised to play a leading role.”
“There’s been exceptional value created on the Central Coast in the last 20 to 25 years. I don’t think people realize that that’s the case because it gets swept up in either the Southern California or Northern California’s ecosystem when those companies get named. But folks familiar with the market understand that there are incredible entrepreneurs and technologies and exceptional companies that have come out of the Central Coast.”
“The flow of capital into the Central Coast, especially in the tech sector, proves that it no longer matters where you are located in order to run a thriving tech company.”
“There was no better place to build our West Coast office. Santa Barbara offers an amazing active lifestyle, beautiful weather, a strong sense of community, and access to top colleges and universities.”
ASSETS + RESOURCES
In addition to a leading engineering program, the computer science program at Cal Poly is consistently rated among the best in the nation. Its undergraduate software engineering major was the first in California, and graduates are heavily recruited by the top firms in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.
The birthplace of the practical scanning microscope, UCSB is home to a world-renowned engineering program and an innovative Technology Management program. Its 10 national centers include the Center for Responsible Machine Learning, the Center for Digital Games Research and the Center for Information Technology and Society.
CA Cybersecurity Institute
Bringing together government, the private sector and academia, the California Cybersecurity Institute advances education, workforce development and applied research in cybersecurity, shaping the state’s cyber standards and training cybersecurity professionals.
SLO Partners offers a range of upskilling and tech apprenticeship programs in full-stack software development, software testing and IT networking to help companies build a pipeline of skilled talent. The nonprofit also provides candidate screening, specialized training and talent matching.
Softec + Ventech
Formerly the MIT Enterprise Forum, Ventech hosts regular events to inform, inspire and connect tech professionals and entrepreneurs. Softec has supported SLO County’s software and technology community for 25 years with monthly networking and educational events as well as advocacy and resource building.
The regions is home to a network of startup and small-business support services, a university-affiliated tech park, incubators and coworking spaces as well as venture capital firms, pitch competitions and angel and private equity conferences.
Knowledge + Innovation companies
Explore the map to discover the breadth of technology companies in the region.