Irvine’s Tech Strength Attracts Bay Area Companies

Friday, September 14, 2018

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As envisioned by the Irvine Master Plan, the city was built around a major university – what is now the University of California, Irvine (UCI) – to ensure area employers would always have a readily available workforce skilled in the latest technology. Irvine-based companies recognize this as a distinctive asset. And, executives at Bay Area tech firms are noticing.

One such firm diving into Irvine’s high-tech talent pool is Vincit, a digital design and app development agency.

Vincit California has successfully expanded from Finland to Irvine’s Spectrum Business Center – by way of Silicon Valley. After starting its U.S. venture in the Bay Area’s tech center, Vincit’s chief executive realized that happy, qualified employees would be the key to the company’s success. Irvine was ready to fill the bill.

“Vincit California is a perfect example of a company that has discovered Irvine as a key ingredient to its success in the U.S.,” said Bryan Starr, president and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber. “Irvine is the perfect environment to help tech companies with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to achieve their goals and grow.”

Vincit’s CEO Ville Houttu explored Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego before deciding on Irvine. With Irvine’s available talent, its central location to these neighboring markets, accessibility by air to San Francisco, and the quality of life Irvine offers, the choice was an easy one for Houttu to make.

“I believe this is the direction that more software and high-tech companies will move,” Houttu said. “And when they do, they will appreciate the business climate, talent, office infrastructure, and work-live-play balance in Irvine.”

Having a robust and modern job market is a vital component of Irvine’s success as an economic powerhouse.

Irvine has the most jobs per resident in the country, and the city’s tech sector is one of its strengths. As indicated in a recent study conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Irvine leads Orange County in tech startup companies. A majority are located either in the University Research Park or Irvine Spectrum areas. Collectively, the two areas account for 91 percent of startup funding in the county. The report points out that tech and startup companies are drawn to these two submarkets because of the “high concentration of millennials, strong retail and lifestyle amenities, and the depth of available labor.”

Concentration of Tech Companies in Irvine-Map

All of Orange County has benefited as startups in the technology sector are emerging as a significant driver for the local economy and propelling growth for the overall OC tech ecosystem. JLL reports that since the beginning of 2014, OC tech startups have raised $380 million, an average of $6.2 million per company. The local startup ecosystem is well diversified with firms from a wide spectrum of tech industry categories including software, fintech, cybersecurity, and electronics.

For tech employers such as Vincit, the combination of young companies and more established companies is attractive.

“We want our employees to build the company culture, which is the core of everything we do. If our employees keep changing every six to 12 months, soon we do not have a culture,” Houttu said. “In Irvine, having more established businesses, I feel people stay with the same companies longer. Of course, these companies have to treat their employees well.”

Irvine certainly treats its companies well.


Category: Economic Development, Chamber News