Once the hub for tech companies in the world, San Francisco (and the Bay Area) is now facing a wave of businesses leaving.
Ironically, the tech innovation that was created in San Francisco was so good that the companies who made it no long need the offices they built. An astonishing 35% of San Francisco’s workforce works primarily from home, according to an NBC Bay Area report that analyzed data from the Census Bureau in 2021. That’s the highest among all US cities where data was collected.
The same workers that had to run to San Francisco to get the good jobs and high pay are now running away. According to Redfin, San Francisco has the highest net outflow of home buyers in the top 10 metro areas as of early 2022. Redfin derives this figure by calculating the home searchers looking to leave a metro area, minus the number of searchers looking to move in.
And with workers staying home or moving their homes altogether, the use of office space has cratered. The San Francisco Standard reported (from CBRE data) that in the first quarter of 2023, San Francisco’s office space vacancy rate ballooned to 29.5%. In 2020, that figure was just 4.1% (a seven-fold increase in three years). As a result, sales tax revenue is 35% below the trend line dating back to 2018, according to Stanford Professor, Nick Bloom. As Bloom puts it, “San Francisco has lost about a third of its economic activity.”
It’s a vicious cycle: The workers don’t want – and don’t need – to be there ➡️ the offices empty out ➡️ the tax revenue for the city craters ➡️ the companies leave San Francisco for good.
Below, you’ll find all of the businesses leaving San Francisco and the Bay Area since 2020. Whenever a company announces its plans to leave the state, we’ll update the list.
- Companies that have left San Francisco
- Companies reducing office space in San Francisco (but not moving)
- Why companies are leaving
- How many have left
- Where they are going
- Submit a company
These businesses used to be headquartered – or have major offices – in the Bay Area, but decided to leave.
Hero Digital, a tech consulting company with private equity ownership, will no longer call San Francisco home. The firm is shifting its headquarters to Chicago as part of an Aug. 14 merger with consulting firm Avionos, which is based in the Illinois city.
"What I kept experiencing was a pull to Miami. Some of the smartest people I knew in San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, moved to Miami. The people that moved — it's like they are more well-balanced people than they ever were."
April 25, 2023
April 13, 2023
Redaptive, which calls itself an energy-as-a-service provider, was formerly based in San Francisco."
"After closing a $40 million investment in January, the AI company Inbenta announced it’s moving its headquarters from San Francisco to Allen, Texas and named North Texan Melissa Solis as the company’s new CEO."
Garcia Hand Picked
January 29, 2023
January 20, 2023
January 9, 2023
Allspring Global Investments
October 20, 2022
October 6, 2022
Virta Health Corp
October 3, 2022
September 15, 2022
April 12, 2022
"Orange-based hydrogen fuel cell and transportation company Hyperion Companies said Tuesday it will move its global headquarters to Columbus, Ohio.
Hyperion said in a news release that it will create 680 new jobs over six years and invest about $300 million in a headquarters, research and development center and manufacturing operations in the city."
November 1, 2021
“To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California,” Musk said. “Our intention is to increase output from Fremont and Giga Nevada by 50%. If you go to our Fremont factory it’s jammed.”
But, he added, “It’s tough for people to afford houses, and people have to come in from far away....There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area.”
First Foundation Bank
September 26, 2021
“We are thrilled to announce our relocation of our corporate headquarters to Fort Worth to support our growth and the dynamic needs of our entire business,”
August 26, 2021
"HomeLight CEO Drew Uher said that it made sense for his fast-growing real estate company to move its HQ from San Francisco to the city that is its largest employment center. HomeLight has hiring and more in store as it continues to expand."
August 17, 2021
August 17, 2021
Smart Wires, Inc.
July 27, 2021
“IFly.vc made another big move during the pandemic, relocating its office from San Francisco to Austin, joining a wave of Californians fleeing the expensive area.“
June 29, 2021
Education Media Foundation (EMF)
March 24, 2021
“Austin, Texas meets our need for results-driven technology talent, private capital domain expertise and a public policy environment that rewards growth."
January 22, 2021
January 1, 2021
As part of the merger, the combined company’s headquarters would relocate from San Francisco to North Texas (Westlake)."
"The CEO and co-founder of a billion-dollar cybersecurity company has moved its headquarters out of San Francisco because it's "not the city it was.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
December 1, 2020
November 1, 2020
October 29, 2020
But the “most critical reason” for the relocation is access to the wide pool of tech talent in the Twin Cities area, Schneider said."
"San Antonio is filled with opportunity and creativity, it has a great talent pool, high quality of life, and is experiencing a cultural boom that we’d really like to be a part of,” he said. “The affordability of the city does make it attractive to business(es) and employees.”
O. W. Lee
September 23, 2020
August 19, 2020
DZS (Dasan Zhone Solutions)
August 3, 2020
July 25, 2020
June 16, 2020
"SignEasy, which provides digital signature technology, moved its home base to San Francisco last year."
"Finical, Inc.'s corporate headquarters has been relocated to Dallas, Texas, to facilitate the expansion and create a more collaborative workspace for the office and company as a whole."
XO (XO Jets)
January 27, 2020
January 26, 2020
"The tech company wants to find a buyer for 10 buildings in Mountain View that together total 707,000 square feet.
- News stories linked to from within the table
- The California Book of Exoduses compiled by California Policy Center
- Hoover Institution at Stanford
These businesses have made public announcements about office downsizes in San Francisco. However, they haven’t necessarily moved office space to a new city or state. For the most part, these downsizes are due to 1) more remote workers or hybrid schedules, or 2) layoffs.
- Affirm Holdings
- Alphabet (Google)
- Credit Karma
- Meta (Facebook)
Read our full report on major companies reducing office space here.
I’ve pulled out notable phrases that company leaders mentioned when explaining their decision to leave the San Francisco Bay Area. Here are some quotes from executives at San Francisco companies leaving to give you an idea:
There is an “increasing intolerance and monoculture of Silicon Valley“
“We believe San Francisco’s path to recovery remains clouded and elongated by major challenges”
- Employees can be homeowners in Texas, “which in the Bay Area is virtually impossible”
- (The Bay Area) was not sustainable for us…For the same price we can find really amazing people in other areas”
- There were “some symmetries in the way that the Bay Area works that just didn’t really work well for us”
Seeking “a strong economic climate with low taxes, reasonable regulations and a high-caliber workforce”
Moving for “our business needs, opportunities for cost savings, and team members”
Finding a place that is “easier to hire talent“
Seeking a “more sustainable place to do business“
- “Arizona provided the ideal conditions of being business-friendly, offering a high quality of life at reasonable cost”
53 companies have left San Francisco since 2020. At Buildremote, we’ve tracked every public announcement released by a company leaving San Francisco. Here are those figures.
- 2020: 17
- 2021: 19
- 2022: 9
- 2023 (through August): 8
The San Francisco Standard reported (from CBRE data) that in Q1 of 2023, San Francisco’s office space vacancy rate ballooned to 29.5%. That figure was just 4.1% in Q1 of 2020. Millions of square footage of office space has emptied out in three years, but it is nearly impossible to calculate exactly how many businesses have left San Francisco.
In my list current list, there are 53 companies leaving San Francisco between 2020 – July 2023. They’ve moved to 18 different states (and some companies have moved to multiple locations). Of those states, here are the biggest beneficiaries:
- Texas: 23 (45%)
- Arizona: 5 (10%)
- Colorado: 4 (8%)
- Florida: 4 (8%)
- North Carolina: 2 (4%)
- Montana: 2 (4%)
- Multiple locations: 2
- 11 states: 1
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