When you hear names like Apple, Intel, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard — or you read about the explosion of technology in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and bioscience — you’re likely to think about Silicon Valley. That’s understandable.
But would it surprise you to learn these companies and industries all have a significant presence in the greater Sacramento area as well?
Sacramento offers a diverse technology industry — from hardware to software design, in the fields of biomedicine, agriculture, and mobility. There is also a great opportunity for international corporations to take advantage of the region’s growing STEM-educated talent pool and government programs fostering innovation.
Why Technology Jobs Matter
It’s no secret that jobs in the tech industry are still in high demand. The salaries and benefits of working in the tech sector are some of the best. Tech employees tend to be happier overall, and there’s the inherent “cool factor” of working in a tech job, especially if the company has a lot of buzz around it in the news.
All this means technology companies tend to attract top talent from around the country and even the world. While the competition for the most desirable jobs is fierce, those who get hired are likely to be working with other talented and like-minded peers, which is often another big draw for those who are after a fulfilling career path.
When big companies like Apple, Google, or Amazon set up shop in a new location, it often means hundreds or thousands of new well-paying jobs will be created. This can instantly lift the status and appeal of the town or city they locate in and boost the local economy.
The Sacramento, California Tech Scene
Unbeknownst to many, the greater Sacramento area has become a hotbed for new and existing technology companies. Tech companies in Sacramento run the gamut from iconic names like Apple, Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Oracle to smaller local companies.
While the big names typically have their headquarters in Silicon Valley, their presence here in Sacramento is no less critical. Many use their locations here for research and development labs, warehousing, distribution, sales, and customer service positions.
Unlike Silicon Valley, which leans heavily towards consumer and business-to-business tech companies, Sacramento hosts diverse tech businesses working in various fields like agricultural technology, biotechnology, and technology manufacturing.
According to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, food production in the Sacramento area is a 2.25 billion dollar industry. This means the agricultural technology (AgTech) companies’ market is large and diverse. AgTech companies here primarily focus on seed and crop breeding, protection, development, and testing.
Leading companies like Bayer Crop Science, Tomra Sorting Solutions, and Marrone Bio Innovations have a significant local presence. Many smaller AgTech startups are also making the area home, with over two hundred million dollars in funding going to AgTech and biotech companies since 2010.
Jobs within the California ag industry grew by over 10% in 2020.
Sacramento’s biotechnology companies provide a little bit of everything. From stem cell research to pharmaceuticals, a tremendous amount of innovation is happening.
While the Bay Area is considered the birthplace of the California biotechnology industry, the Greater Sacramento area contains over one hundred biotechnology and medical device companies and over 150,000 life sciences and health sector employees.
In addition, U.C. Davis boasts one of the world’s premier life sciences research programs and labs. The university’s program covers everything from genetics and biology to agricultural and environmental sciences.
While not as big as the agritech or biotechnology sectors in Sacramento, the technology manufacturing presence here is still noteworthy. Major players located in the area include companies such as:
- Aerojet Rocketdyne: An American manufacturer of rocket, hypersonic, and electric propulsive systems for space, defense, civil, and commercial applications.
- Intel Corporation: Best known as Intel, this American multinational technology company produces computer processors and other hardware and is one of the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturers by revenue.
- Hewlett-Packard: Hewlett-Packard (HP) was known for being an American manufacturer of software and computer services. In 2015, the company split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
- TSI Semiconductors: A world-class semiconductor technology development and foundry services company — known for its quality manufacturing solutions for projects of all sizes.
These companies are building diverse products used in the technology, aerospace, and defense industries.
Sacramento Tech Businesses Startups
Below are several Sacramento tech companies founded after 2010 that have been getting media attention.
Rhombus started in 2016. The company simplifies video security for enterprise clients. No matter how many locations a company has, Rhombus allows for managing all cameras, sensors, and activity from a single console. As of October 2021, Rhombus has raised $20M. The goal is to grow from 10,000 to 100,000 managed locations.
e-Mission Control is a subsidiary of Momentum. The business was founded in 2019 and focuses on companies in California and Oregon that operate battery-electric material handling equipment — including material handling and cargo handling vehicles. Many businesses with this type of equipment are not taking advantage of their state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program. e-Mission Control manages the entire incentives process for a fee.
Electro Scan specializes in sewer and stormwater machine-intelligent leak detection. Electro Scan’s model ES-620 probe was designed for gravity mains with a diameter from 6″ – 30.” The ES-38 was designed to find leaks in small-diameter, non-metallic pipes. The company’s products are used by contractors and agencies across the globe.
GRIN was founded in 2017 and pioneered the category of creator management software. The creator economy is one in which someone who does not work with the brand — such as an influencer — helps shape the brand. Brands must remove the middleman and create direct partnerships with people who create content around the brand. GRIN’s software platform helps brands build authentic partnerships with creators.
Blaize produces Edge AI hardware and software products. Edge AI is artificial intelligence that operates at the edge of networks and vehicles, where data collection happens. In other words, Blaize puts computational power, such as graphical processing power, where it’s most efficient from an energy and performance perspective. Automotive applications, including autonomous vehicles, is one of the customer markets that Blaize serves.
Building A Pipeline For Innovative Startups
In 2016, the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, was on a mission to elevate the city to a top choice for entrepreneurs and innovators. Abhi Nemani, a government tech entrepreneur, highlights these efforts in a case study.
The challenge was that Sacramento was over-reliant on the public sector for its economy, and the opportunity was to position Sacramento to increase innovation and grow the tech sector.
EthosLabs was brought on to develop a program to help put Sacramento on the map. Project highlights included:
- Creating an innovation fund ($10M)
- Setting up an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Office
- Building an entrepreneurship gram program (RAILS)
- Developing a community stakeholder engagement program
Sacramento Venture Capital Investments And Grants
With Sacramento being such a large tech industry hub, many startups in the region are being funded by VCs. For example, Sacramento-based data startup Unstructured.io was founded in July 2022. The company offers technology that enables customers to access data from all file types, document locations, and layouts — to better use artificial intelligence. Unstructured.io raised $25 million in a funding round led by Seattle VC firm Madrona Venture Group.
Grants For Startups
The City of Sacramento Office of Innovation and Economic Development is currently accepting grant applications to support startups and entrepreneurs in Sacramento. The city is offering $1 million in grants — to be allocated between Innovation Events Grants and Ecosystem Building Grants.
Innovation Events Grants are used to fund a one-time or series of events such as scheduled networking meetings and business pitch competitions. Ecosystem Building Grants are designed to fund incubator and accelerator programs and educational programs.
The Top Tech Companies In Sacramento In 2023
As previously mentioned, Intel Corporation produces computer chips and other advanced technologies.
Also previously mentioned, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a multinational technology company that provides IT solutions and services to businesses and organizations worldwide.
VSP Global is a vision care company that provides customers with a range of products and services worldwide.
Adventist Health is a non-profit healthcare organization that provides medical services to patients in California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.
Raley’s is a regional supermarket chain with over 120 stores in California and Nevada.
Nitrogen Wealth, formally known as Riskalyze, is a fintech company that provides risk assessment tools and other financial services to investors and financial advisors.
Five Star Bank is a regional bank that provides financial services to customers in California.
Current Trends In The Sacramento Tech Industry
Factors Driving Growth
The tech industry in Sacramento has grown significantly in recent years. According to a report by the Sacramento Business Journal, the number of tech jobs in the region increased by 31% between 2011 and 2016. This growth is due to the city’s supportive startup ecosystem, its talented workforce, and the affordable cost of living.
Opportunities For Job Seekers And Investors
Sacramento’s growth has increased the number and variety of job opportunities across different sectors. The jobs available include software development, data analysis, project management, and more.
Challenges Facing the Tech Industry
Despite the advantages for tech companies and investors in Sacramento, the industry still faces some challenges. There is competition from other tech hubs in California in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Additionally, there is a need for continued investment in Sacramento’s infrastructure and talent pipeline — to ensure the city has the resources needed to support the continued growth of the tech industry.
What Comes Next?
Tech companies in Sacramento are here to stay, without question. There is every indication that the industry is not just growing but thriving.
Local tech companies are also listed as some of the most extraordinary and cutting-edge workplaces.
For those new to the Sacramento area or considering relocating and looking for work in a tech-related field, there are many opportunities to choose from.