The San Francisco-Silicon Valley tech startup rivalry has gotten a new Richard Florida treatment.
This week, the urban policy guru (famous for identifying the urban “creative class”) broke down “Why San Francisco May Be the New Silicon Valley.” He used venture capital investment data provided by Dow Jones and analyzed by the Martin Prosperity Institute.
The Bay Area polarization is admittedly not a new concept, and it’s no surprise that Florida plays up tech icons like Peter Thiel high-tailing it out of the Valley to run investment funds surrounded by urban amenities in San Francisco. He also focuses on the highly-publicized startups putting down roots in San Francisco like Twitter, Square and Pinterest.
The article does briefly mention the concentration of large public technology firms located farther South. It’s worth noting that critics of comparing San Francisco and the South Bay argue it is most accurate to consider the entire region (including the city to the North) part of Silicon Valley.
The Business Journal also recently reported new quarterly data from research firm CB Insights, which showed Silicon Valley startups raising $1.17 billion compared to $1.04 billion garnered by San Francisco startups during the second quarter of 2013.
But Florida points to zipcode-level data to underscore an increasing flow of capital in urban centers like San Francisco. He summarizes: “This urban shift in venture capital and start-ups is in line with the long held view that dense cities, as opposed to sprawling suburbs, provide the ecology required for breakthrough innovation.”
Here are the numbers Florida used in his analysis, breaking down the top Bay Area neighborhoods for VC investment by zipcode:
1. $1.9 billion — Potrero Hill/South Beach/South Park (San Francisco, zipcode 94107)
2. $693 million —Rincon Hill, Embarcadero South (San Francisco, 94105)
3. $661 million — Suburban Mountain View, including Google HQ (Mountain View, 94043)
4. $575 million — Centennial, Stambaugh Heller, Redwood Village, Friendly Acres (Redwood City, 94063)
5. $555 million – South of Market, or SoMa (San Francisco, 94103)
This is the data broken down by total venture capital investment in Bay Area cities:
1. $4.4 billion — San Francisco
2. $1.3 billion — Palo Alto
3. $1.1 billion — Redwood City
4. $918 million — Mountain View
5. $800 million — Sunnyvale
Florida also adds that all is not lost for Silicon Valley, outlining a “locational symbiosis” where the two nearby regions carve out separate niches.
“Of course cities and suburbs are not either/or propositions when it comes to startups, venture capital and high-tech in the Bay Area,” Florida writes. “If start-ups thrive in dense, diverse urban center cities where talent clusters, serendipity thrives, and services can be found in the surrounding neighborhood, large established companies like Google, Apple and Facebook need the space that their suburban campuses provide.”