Technology Drives San Mateo's Growing Economy

Being a tech geek is a good thing in this affluent San Francisco suburb.

On Saturday, June 21, 2008 - 16:46
San Mateo

There are a lot of geeks in San Mateo – and no one in the affluent San Francisco suburb is holding it against them.

After all, tech-based businesses are flowering in San Mateo, and in a county where residents take home the third highest salaries in the state, those geeks sure aren’t hurting the average. The city, formerly home to YouTube, boasts an impressive lineup of corporate citizens in the technology sector. Actuate Corporation is a growing enterprise data company that provides customer- and employee-facing information platforms that are RIA-ready. The company is one of many tech groups that has grown physically in the last year, leasing an 80,000-square-foot facility in the Oracle complex.

Business parks saw 2.3 million square feet of space leased in 2007, many to expanding tech companies. Leasing rates for that year climbed roughly 43 percent, a record for San Mateo County, excepting the year 2000, an anomaly during the dot-com boom. At the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, commercial real estate vacancy was just 11.1 percent, the lowest rate in six years. Another successful techie headquartered in San Mateo is Clarizen, a Web-based, collaborative project management software company. In addition to technology, tourism is a driving force of San Mateo’s economy. The city is just 20 miles from San Francisco, which attracts nearly 16 million visitors each year. Other industries support San Mateo, as well, including finance and retail.

The city is home to the headquarters of Franklin Templeton Investments, a global investment firm with offices in 29 countries and services in more than 150. The group manages investments for individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, partnerships and other clients. Pier 1 Imports, home of eclectic furnishings and ever-popular papasan chairs, opened its first store in San Mateo in 1962. The company now operates more than 1,100 stores across North America.