From North to South, What Makes California a Hub for Innovation

A Sponsored Message From Visit California

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

people drinking at rooftop in San Francisco

San Francisco’s innovative spirit is reflected in its spaces, communities, and industries.

Technology and innovation are part of California’s DNA. From San Francisco where blue jeans were invented (Levi’s) to the Silicon Valley, birthplace of the internet and incubator for social media, to Los Angeles, where Hollywood changed entertainment, to San Carlos, where Tesla changed the course of automobile development, California has always been a place where big ideas flourish, next-generation technology is born, and inventive thinking is a way of life.



Northern California is deservedly well-known as the world’s preeminent hub for technology. Home to the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, including more than 30 businesses in the Fortune 500 and thousands of startups, Silicon Valley is synonymous with innovation. It’s where you’ll find the nation’s largest concentration of venture capital funding, accounting for one-third of the country’s venture capital investment. Apple, Google, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo! all call Silicon Valley home, and Uber and Fitbit are in neighboring San Francisco.

But not all of the state’s brainpower is concentrated in Northern California. Caltech in Pasadena, just north of Los Angeles, is a research university known for its strength in science and engineering. The university manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a research and development lab federally funded by NASA that sends rovers to Mars and probes into the farthest reaches of the solar system.

Head further south and you’ll find the University of California San Diego, where a pool of talented engineers have gone on to found more than 300 companies and raise more than $5 billion in revenue since 2006. As a result, San Diego is where tech companies across every sector imaginable are setting up shop. Among them are Qualcomm, a pioneer in the 5G industry; data and analytics company Teradata; and green-tech companies like ecoATM and EDF Renewable Energy.

cocktail party on hotel deck

The Hotel Californian provides a picturesque basecamp for group meetings in Santa Barbara, just a two-hour drive north from Los Angeles. This hotspot city on California’s central coast features a walkable downtown, an urban wine trail, and of course, ocean views for days.

For meetings and events, this kind of intellectual capital offers visitors a wellspring of resources to tap into for education, collaboration, and business opportunities. Below, a sampling of recent high-tech events from around the state:

San Francisco — Dreamforce 2022, held Sept. 20-22 at the Moscone Center, is Salesforce’s flagship event, brought together 40,000 attendees for more than 1,000 sessions and speeches from notable speakers like Jane Goodall and Matthew McConaughey.

Los Angeles — The heart of Silicon Beach saw developers, brands, marketers, tech providers, designers, innovators, and evangelists in advanced technology gather for TECHSPO, held July 11–12, at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Long Beach — The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center hosted IT professionals in education from across the state for CITE’s 62nd Annual Conference, held Nov. 29–Dec. 2.

San Diego — The 41st edition of ICCAD, the International Conference on Computer-Aided Design, which has a longstanding tradition of producing a cutting-edge technical program, was held Oct. 30–Nov. 4 at the San Diego Mission Bay Resort.