Characteristics of an Anchor Technology Company

Strong startup communities need to have anchor technology companies in town for a number of reasons. The idea is that anchor technology companies provide large-scale success stories for the area, import talent from outside the region, and directly support a number of functions in the community. In addition, anchor technology companies generate large amounts of press, get attention from outside the city, and have significant influence due to size and scale. So, we know that anchor technology companies are important, but what are some of their characteristics?

Here are a few characteristics of anchor technology companies:

  • Significant number of high paying jobs in the city (greater than 500)
  • National or international recognition in the press
  • Support for the community through events, talks, donations (greater than $100,000/yr), etc
  • Willingness to buy from or work with smaller technology startups
  • Serious wealth creation (often monetized via an IPO)

Putting hard metrics and definitions on the characteristics of an anchor technology company is difficult. You’ll know it when you see it and the value is immense.

What else? What are some other characteristics of an anchor technology company?

2 thoughts on “Characteristics of an Anchor Technology Company

  1. David, I’d be interested in your list of anchor technology companies for big cities (tomorrow night’s post?). What are some that come to mind for you? Obviously, the valley/bay area has tons, but in other areas of the country?

    Here are some I thought of:

    Seattle – Amazon/Microsoft
    Las Vegas – would Zappos qualify?
    Boston – EMC/iRobot
    Chicago – GroupOn
    Raleigh/Durham – SAS (not public), RedHat
    Atlanta – ISS, JBoss

    • For Atlanta, ISS definitely was. JBoss had the potential but I don’t think got past 250 employees in Atlanta. Manhattan Associates and Cbeyond are two more in Atlanta.

      Austin has Dell and some new ones in HomeAway and BazaarVoice.

      Denver/Boulder has had a few hardware companies that got large.

      San Diego has ServiceNow that just went public.

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