Tech Coast - Southern California(USA)
Southern California's Tech Coast features a range of businesses active in computer, software and multimedia sectors. Stretching from Santa Barbara to San Diego, the high tech corridor includes start-ups and established technology companies leading the industry with innovative research and development. From medical equipment to aerospace parts, a broad array of products and services are developed and manufactured in the Tech Coast. Although only one strong sector in Southern California's diverse economy, the high technology sector and the Tech Coast is one of the region's leading economic drivers and employers.
About the Tech Coast
The Tech Coast emerged in the late 1990s as Southern California sought spill-over business and benefits from Silicon Valley. The high tech corridor includes Los Angeles and Orange counties, one of the most populous urban areas in the United States. It also includes San Diego, Santa Barbara and the Inland Empire. The region is well connected to the rest of the world through various major airports in Southern California, including Los Angeles International Airport and San Diego International Airport. It is also linked to the rest of the United States with regular transcontinental rail service and the nation's Interstate highway network.
From start-ups to established corporations, the region's initial growth benefited from firms looking for new locations for business to avoid congestion from commuter traffic in the Silicon Valley and the San Jose region. In 1984, the Irvine Company created a 3,600-acre industrial park in Orange County to attract high tech business to Southern California. The Irvine Spectrum High Technology Industrial Park was fully leased by 1997 with tenants ranging from start-ups to established firms, such as AT&T, Western Digital, Mazda, Toshiba and Motorola. In 1999, the Tech Coast Incubator opened in Irvine, California. The 10,000-square-foot facility was built to help support companies developing core technologies and services.
Research and Development
The Tech Coast is a major center for innovation and the source of the second highest number of patents granted each year in the United States. A major investor in early-stage companies in Southern California is Tech Coast Angels. The angel investor network was launched in 1997. Its members have invested approximately $119 million and have helped businesses attract over $1.4 billion in additional capital. With over 300 members, the Tech Coast Angels have helped support over 200 companies, including ElephantDrive, Green Dot Corporation, HitFix, MicroPower Technologies, SodaHead.com, Vokle and WiSpry.
In addition to innovative businesses, the Tech Coast is also home of the University of California at Irvine's Life Science department, which spends approximately $60 million annually on research alone. The region is also the base for the Scripps Research Institute. The organization is one of the world's largest private, non-for-profit research institutions. It is a leader in biomedical sciences, including immunology, virology and autoimmune diseases, as well as molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, cardiovascular diseases, virology, neurosciences and vaccine development.
The Tech Coast features a range of computer, software and multimedia companies. Sun Microsystems was one of the first major firms to establish major operations in the Tech Coast. In 1996, the company announced plans to build a new research and development complex in Santa Clara. Sun Microsystems's one-million-square-foot, $230 million facility was soon followed by the decision to relocate major operations to Southern California by industry leaders Hewlett-Packard, Intel, 3Com and National Semiconductor.
Southern California's Tech Coast is home to Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company. A Fortune 500 company, Amgen has developed innovative products based on advances in recombinant DNA and molecular biology. The company is one of several biomedical firms in Southern California, which hosts one of the world's largest concentrations of medical product manufacturers. Among these businesses is Edwards Life Sciences, which develops leading products and technology to treat cardiovascular disease. The company operates the world's largest heart valve therapy manufacturing plant at its headquarters in Irvine.
The technology corridor is also the base for Conexant. The company is a leader in developing innovative semiconductor solutions for broadband and digital home networks. Based in Orange County, rival company Broadcom is also a major player in developing and manufacturing semiconductors for telecommunications. Orange County is also home to major operations for Google, Ingram Micro, Mercedes Benz Advanced Design, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Oakley, QLogic, Toshiba, Kingston Technology, Jazz Semiconductor, Emulex, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, Linksys (Cisco) and Gateway.
Other technology leaders in the Tech Coast include Northrop Grumman, a major innovator in information technology, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding. QUALCOMM, a pioneer in CDMA digital wireless technology and a developing advanced wireless products and services, is also based within the Tech Coast in San Diego. The city is also the home of General Atomics and SAIC. The Tech Coast is also the site for major facilities operated by Quest Software, FileNet, Blizzard Entertainment and Disney.