Almost all of the 500+ software companies in the Phoenix area are in just a few zones.
They aren’t all within walking distance in each zone, but they are within a few square miles, just a short drive away. That’s similar to Silicon Valley (outside of downtown San Francisco), but with a lot less traffic.
Here’s how I see the five “zones” of Phoenix software companies
There are a few companies outside these zones, like MobileLogix in Glendale. It’s the only commercial software company in the founder’s home town. This is how each zone got started – someone was a first pioneer.
The reality is 95% of Arizona software companies are in the Phoenix metro area. 84% of Phoenix area software companies reside in three cities – Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix.
The economic development teams in each of these cities now actively support software startups. Most startup events include an appearance by the mayor delivering words of encouragement and appreciation.
Seeing all these companies on a map reveals challenges and opportunities.
In particular, most Phoenix software leaders struggle to connect with others software leaders. It’s a common complaint, one that caused me to publish Gregslist.
Blame it on our suburban sprawl, our long work hours and travel, the recent growth of software companies, the entrepreneurial spirit of independence or an influx of transplants. I’ve been here for 20 years and have experienced all of these challenges to connecting with others more.
Although we’re not all in one neighborhood within walking distance to common coffee shops, the reality is most software companies in Arizona are within 15-30 minutes driving distance of each other.
That’s actually a little closer than Silicon Valley companies. The Bay Area a 50-mile peninsula with software companies scattered from Los Gatos to Redwood Shores, 30 miles away. Drive further to San Francisco and across the bay to Oakland.
Despite the drive time and traffic, Silicon Valley networks are very connected. They invest in staying connected and reaching out. It’s a primary way to learn fast, attract talent, get moral support, build more connections and grow faster.
There’s a lot going on in the Arizona software ecosystem – much more than any one of us can see. I have written about how the Phoenix tech startup scene is booming and there are some really surprising facts about the Arizona software industry.