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Expensive SF Bay Area Sends Tech Start-Ups Increasingly Elsewhere

The difficulty of paying workers, and workers’ difficulty in finding affordable places to live is benefiting other areas, like Portland, Boise.

The outsized salary expectations of tech workers – who need the money to pay the astronomical costs for housing in the San Francisco bay area – and the nature of an industry in which people can easily work remotely is shifting some work from Silicon Valley to other burgeoning tech centers, benefiting cities like Boise and Portland.

Bay area companies that do manage to hire workers also have a tough time keeping them – because they find their money can go a lot farther in other cities, Tribune News Service reports.

“As we’ve been looking to hire, we’re running into the same issue that everyone else is running into _ in that the Bay Area is broken,” Michael Dougherty, co-founder and CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based advertising tech startup Jelli, told the news service.

Jelli opened an office in Boise, Idaho last June. Dougherty says average salaries there are about a third lower than the Bay Area.

The median home value in Boise is $236,200 — compared to $1.3 million in San Francisco, $1.1 million in San Jose and $755,600 in Oakland, according to Tribune News Service, citing figures from real estate company Zillow.

Chris Nicholson, co-founder and CEO of open-source artificial intelligence startup Skymind said most of its employees work outside the Bay Area because the company wouldn’t be able to afford to have its full staff making San Francisco wages.

Nicholson noted that engineers can code anywhere, and email their work product anywhere else around the world, with no shipping costs.

“Startups that decide to keep all their employees physically in one office in the Bay Area,” Nicholson said, “by default become vehicles that transfer cash from venture capitalists to Bay Area landlords.”

READ the full story from Tribune News Service

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