When one thinks about the American technology sector, their mind naturally conjures up images of Silicon Valley, an industry oasis located in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. Named after the large number of silicon chip manufacturers in the area, Silicon Valley has been the U.S. tech capital for decades and is home to a number of industry behemoths.
There’s really nothing wrong about associating American tech with the Valley. It’s true, there are almost too many household names in region to count. Take a trip to the area and you’ll find the international headquarters of Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Intel (INTC - Free Report) , Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , and many, many more.
Nevertheless, success in today’s tech industry does not necessarily depend on setting up shop in Silicon Valley. Throughout the country, city and state governments have lobbied to keep their talent at home, and we’re seeing a new generation of startups appear in a variety of emerging markets.
This new generation—one that doesn’t feel the need to pack up and move to Silicon Valley immediately—owes its inspiration to a number of massively successful firms that chose to take the same path.
Check out five of our favorite American tech companies that are not based in Silicon Valley:
1. Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report)
Headquarters: Redmond, Washington
Microsoft found its home in Redmond in 1986, just weeks before the company went public. Today, the software innovator’s main campus, which is located at “One Microsoft Way,” is home to an estimated 40,000 employees. Microsoft is actually in the process of expanding its Silicon Valley campus right now, and it does operate an East Coast headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Redmond had been an integral part of the company’s history—and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.
2. Amazon (AMZN - Free Report)
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
With Microsoft already proving that the Pacific Northwest could support tech companies, Amazon’s meteoric rise to e-commerce royalty simply cemented Washington as “Silicon Valley North.” Here’s a fun fact: Amazon currently occupies about 19% of all prime office space in its hometown, the most of any employer in a major U.S. city. What’s more, Amazon’s office space takes up a greater amount of square footage in Seattle than any other single company in a major American city.
3. Qualcomm (QCOM - Free Report)
Headquarters: San Diego, California
While many of its semiconductor rivals call the San Francisco area home, Qualcomm has opted to keep its operations in the warmer climate of sunny San Diego. The company is the second-largest private employer in the city, behind only non-profit healthcare services firm Sharp HealthCare. Qualcomm also makes its presence known throughout San Diego. The chipmaker held the naming rights to Qualcomm Stadium, the longtime home of the former San Diego Chargers, for over 20 years.
4. CDW Corporation (CDW - Free Report)
Headquarters: Lincolnshire, Illinois
CDW, which started when its founder flipped used PCs for small profits, has grown into a $10 billion enterprise technology powerhouse over the course of three decades. Headquartered in the Chicago suburbs of Lincolnshire and Vernon Hills, CDW is able to poach top talent from the universities in the Windy City and throughout the Midwest—a region not traditionally known for its tech industry.
5. Red Hat (RHT - Free Report)
Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
Open source software leader Red Hat finds itself in the heart of North Carolina’s infamous “Research Triangle,” which houses several major tech and pharmaceutical firms. While several of these industry giants use the Raleigh-Durham area as an East Coast hub, Red Hat calls the Triangle its permanent global headquarters. The “corners” of this region are marked by North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina, so Red Hat has plenty of talent to choose from.
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