The hot new address for a tech startup these days is not on University Avenue in Palo Alto or overlooking the play structure in South Park in San Francisco.
Try Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley or the Innovation District in Fremont.
Once confined to the South Bay, the tech industry spread up the Peninsula and into San Francisco. Now it is expanding once again, this time into regions that didn't see themselves as part of the tech scene.
Taking a page from cities around the globe that have worked to rebrand themselves as tech hubs, the Bay Area's newest tech centers are starting to capitalizeon their proximity to the heart of Silicon Valley.
Jillian Ogle, of San Francisco, the Founder and CEO of Let's Robot, talks about the prototype robots at The Batchery in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The Batchery is a tech startup accelerator that nurtures entrepreneurs and helps them with their businesses. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
It came as a surprise to me that over the past two years, companies in Fremont received more than $400 million in venture funding in more than 45 deals, according to PitchBook Data, a private financial market data provider.
Berkeley companies, in over 77 deals, also received more than $400 million.
Those amounts aren't anywhere close to the cash given to entrepreneurs in the traditional boundaries of Silicon Valley or San Francisco. But what is happening in Fremont and Berkeley is an indication that cities far from the heart of the valley are building out their own technology hubs.
Fremont moving beyond manufacturing
Fremont has long been a Silicon Valley bedroom community and an important manufacturing hub. But when it comes to tech startups, Fremont often gets overlooked.
That perception began to change when a 2012 study by SizeUp, a San Francisco provider of business intelligence, pointed out that Fremont had 21 tech startups for every 100,000 people.
"It was as much of a surprise to us as to everyone else," said Kelly Kline, Fremont's economic development director and the city's chief innovation officer.
Part of Fremont's tech growth can be attributed to the Tesla effect. In 2010, the electric car manufacturer moved into the sprawling 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space that used to be occupied by NUMMI, the former Toyota/General Motors partnership. That in turn attracted entrepreneurs interested in clean tech to what is now Fremont's Warm Springs Innovation District.
But the city has also become a magnet for biotech firms and companies working on connected devices, known as the "Internet of Things."
Still, it's hard to get a true sense of the city's entrepreneurial ferment.
"Most of these people are pre business license, pre sign on the door," said Kline. "They're in stealth mode."
Technician Will Moran troubleshoots a 2.0 electric scooter at GenZe in Fremont, Calif., on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The company also makes electric bicycles, and the Fremont office is their distribution center. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Because of the disparate nature of Fremont's startups, the city has worked to fill in the missing pieces of a tech ecosystem, such as making the local tech community more visible to itself.
In September, the city hosted its first tech meet-up as part of the new Fremont chapter of Startup Grind, a company that runs monthly events for entrepreneurs.
GenZe, which is backed by Indian car manufacturer Mahindra and makes electric bikes and scooters, moved to the Innovation District from Palo Alto two years ago for more space.
Yesim Erez, GenZe's head of marketing and development who lives in Fremont, said he appreciates the city's proximity to public transit, as well as its civic enthusiasm for tech. Mayor Bill Harrison has visited GenZe multiple times and tried out the scooter.
Berkeley nurturing its own tech talent
A similar tale can be found in Berkeley. Tech companies quietly set up shop around town. The city began to notice and did an inventory to figure out what was going on.
In 2010, Berkeley officials counted 100 startups in a five-block radius of UC Berkeley's campus.
Now Berkeley has 300.
But what exactly is a Berkeley startup?
"Things that are a bit different," said Samantha Strom, operations and sales manager of the Batchery, a tech incubator that offers mentorship and connections to startups.
Most of the Berkeley startups she is seeing deal with machine learning, social good and connection, health care and innovative consumer goods.
The university is a big driver of the new tech scene, actively nurturing entrepreneurship in ways it never did before.
A pivotal moment came in 2012 when the university launched Berkeley SkyDeck, a tech incubator and accelerator housed in the top floor of the Chase building, the tallest in town.
Startups coming out of the university are now "more visible," said Caroline Winnett, SkyDeck's executive director. "That encourages more capital to come. Investors look for the watering hole for startups."
Capital is showing up. Venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park have sent emissaries. In April, the House Fund, a $6 million seed and pre seed stage fund focused on Berkeley startups, launched.
The Berkeley buzz has gotten the attention of entrepreneurs in the wider Bay Area.
In February, Other Machine Co., which manufactures high-precision desktop manufacturing tools, moved its 10-person office to Berkeley from San Francisco. The big draw was space but also the city's vibe.
"You have to have a startup energy," said Danielle Applestone, the firm's CEO.
Fremont and Berkeley are working to boost that energy as fast as they can.