Technology + Innovation

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, plus Amazon, which has a growing office in downtown SLO.

Recent Highlights

Santa Barbara #8 among America’s fastest-growing startup cities

“If you’re not playing the Silicon Valley growth-at-all-costs game of chasing vanity metrics on a fundraising hamster wheel, you’ll be able to find there is a ton of capital available to you from many committed partners,” said York IE CEO Kyle York.

Read more

Passord manager Bitwarden raises $100M

The Santa Barbara company’s big differentiator, TechCrunch says, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open source codebase.

Read more

Invoca joins Central Coast unicorns

The intelligent conversation platform raised $83 million, reaching a valuation of $1.1 billion, joining several other billion-dollar companies on the Central Coast.

Read more

ASSETS + RESOURCES

Cal Poly-SLO

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.

UCSB's campus on the ocean cliffs

UC-Santa Barbara

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

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.

people working at the HotHouse incubator

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

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.

1287

tech + innovation companies

10,500

tech workers

$84k

average annual wages

Technology + Innovation Companies

Click the dots to see companies in the region, and find detailed company, industry and regional data in our data center.

Want to know more?