The OC has become a hub for Artificial Intelligence development. Featuring 2,400+ technology companies that have their HQ in the area, the OC is also home to America’s top talent in the fields of engineering, math, science and technology.
Vis-à-vis AI, OC companies are able to access more than 415,000 STEM professionals which is the highest for any area throughout Western America. Home to the founding of Oculus VR, just in the last 5 years, more than $5 billion has been drawn from these companies in VC funding, putting it at Number 9 in America.
One example is Irvine’s Cylance which was the first company to apply AI, machine learning and algorithmic science to cybersecurity. To date, the firm has received the most cumulative funding in any AI startup – $177 million
Today, companies in Southern California account for most of California’s AI grants awarded by the National Science Foundation and AI experts in the area are in high demand. It is believed that the OC is likely to become America’s center for AI due to the University of Irvine boasting the largest engineering and computer science program throughout California. According to a Southern California Association of Governments and OC Business Council chief economic advisor Obviously, Dr. Wallace Walrod. “A.I. ecosystems with big data analytics, in cybersecurity, virtual reality and advanced transportation will fuel future high-paying job growth in this region, both in their own sectors and in the wider economy due to multiplier effects.”
Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, a new CBRE report, noted a staggering 23 percent increase in OC office rents between Q2 in 2015 and 2017. One senior manager at CBRE Kurt Strasmann pointed out that while San Francisco and LA have traditionally been the areas to have thrived, the OC “has been kind of a hidden gem.” Now however, tech firms are expanding there, in particular in Irvine due to the supply of many skilled workers in the field as noted above.