Sacramento, the capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, is in the grips of a cultural revolution. It’s a growing tech hub and a thriving startup ecosystem. Though Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley are established startup ecosystems, Sacramento’s startup community has something truly unique to offer on the global stage.
Universities are one of the most important players of any startup ecosystem. They are the primary source of talent, innovation and new technologies. The Sacramento region is home to top-ranked universities abounding with research funding, ideas, and talent.
Multiple sources rank the Sacramento area among the nation's 20 best places for those specializing in STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NerdWallet ranked Sacramento #15 in the nation for STEM graduates and Smart Asset ranked Sacramento at #12.
UC Davis is recognized as a national center for new, creative, & innovative ideas and is ranked 16th highest in research funding.
According to the Sacramento Business Journal, UC Davis launched 14 commercial startups for the 2014 fiscal year. Since 2003, 62 startups using UC Davis-originated technology have launched.
Sacramento State works with UC Davis in cellular biology and stem cell research and is associated with the Sutter Institute for Medical Research.
Sacramento State is also home to the California Smart Grid Center established for the purpose of research and demonstration projects in the evolving smart grid area.
The Art Institute of California – Sacramento, a branch of The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, offers among other programs, a bachelor of science program in Game Art & Design.
The bachelor’s degree program in Game Art & Design prepares graduates for careers in the game and other industries as 2D and 3D artists, texture mappers, and project managers.
Two community college systems, Los Rios Community College District and Sierra College serve the greater Sacramento region with 12 campuses or educational centers located throughout the region.
Sacramento is home to a variety of accelerator, incubator and mentorship programs.
According to a recent Fast Company article, coworking spaces are a key ingredient for building a successful startup scene. A recent report placed 3 of Sacramento’s many coworking spaces among the top 75 in the nation
In June 2016 the Sacramento City Council approved an initiative by Mayor Kevin Johnson for a $10 Million fund. The Fund focuses resources on the three distinct capital program areas:
The City is committing up to $1Million in RAILS (Rapid Acceleration, Innovation & Leadership in Sacramento) grants for groups that drive acceleration, innovation & leadership for startups.
The City is allocating $1 Million in pre-seed investments for local Startups with $25,000 to $250,000 grants.
The City is allocating $2 Million in a strategic investment fund, investing $2 Million in global accelerator "500 StartUps" to invest in local startups.
Nationally recognized health systems, UC Davis & Sacramento State, hundreds of medical technology businesses all make Sacramento a MedTech hub.
Five local hospitals made U.S. News & World Report list. A total of 137 companies are now mapped in the Sacramento medical technology cluster, including Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Health, Sutter Health, Adventist, Shriner's, Mind Institute, Institute for Regenerative Cures.
Key Players: Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Health, Sutter Health, Adventist, Shriner's, Mind Institute, Institute for Regenerative Cures, MedStart
Sacramento is an Ag Tech hub thanks to its close proximity to vast farmlands and UC Davis, a leading agriculture university.
The AgTech sector has enormous growth potential. There’s new interest among Silicon Valley venture capitalists in ag and food technology startups in the Sacramento region with an influx of millions of dollars in the past year. UC Davis’ plans to build a World Food Center in Sacramento will help to further establish Sacramento as a hub for food research and policy.
Key Players & Successes: UC Davis, AgTech Innovation Fund, BioConsortia, AgStart
Sacramento was ranked #6 nationally by Clean Edge as a leading clean tech hub. According to Clean Edge’s 2014 U.S Clean Tech Leadership Index, the Sacramento metro area is #1 in the U.S. in Clean Electricity and Carbon Management. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is a perennial national leader in its green power sales and renewable-energy mix. Sacramento also ranks #7 in both Green Buildings and Advanced Transportation, and is #14 in CleanTech Investment, Innovation & Workforce.
Key Players: Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District, CleanStart
Market research firm International Data Corporation predicts the third platform - big data, app development, mobile, wearables, the cloud, the Internet of Things - will be the leading sector in IT. Sacramento is building a thriving industry around these technologies.
Key Players: Apptology, Raging Wire
The game industry is experiencing rapid growth. From 2009 to 2012, the video game industry grew four times faster than the U.S. economy and the market is forecast to reach $111 billion by 2015.
Sacramento has a growing video game industry with experienced professionals currently in the industry who are making Web, PC, Mobile, & Console games. These professionals include Game Designers, Programmers, Web Developers, Indie Game Studio Start-up Founders, & more.
Key Players: Art Institute of Sacramento, 5th Planet Games, Sacramento Game Developers Meetup Group, International Game Developers Group
GovTech startups build hardware and software tools for governments that are significantly better than existing technologies. Through their innovation, govtech startups enable government — local, state, and federal — to become more efficient, more responsive, and better able to serve society.
As the state capital of the seventh largest economy in the world, Sacramento is an ideal location for entrepreneurs and ideas in the GovTech sector.
Key Players: Hansen Information Technologies, Stratovan
The startup scene in Sacramento abounds with weekly events, ranging from informal monthly meetups to organized technology conferences.
A community’s entrepreneur network ... is crucial for new firms to succeed.
Yasuyuki Motoyama, Ph.D. & K. Watkin
Sacramento is a community willing to go above & beyond to help each other out, fix problems, and build bridges.
Brian Collins, VP of Marketing, Angel Hack
This community bends over backwards for each other and this does not happen in other cities.
Brian Collins, VP of Marketing, Angel Hack
The cost of living and doing business in Sacramento is significantly lower than other startup ecosystems such as San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles. Your dollar goes further in Sacramento.
Sacramento is the 7th sunniest metro area in the U.S. with 78% sunny days per year.
Sacramento is nationally recognized as bicycling-friendly, with top-ranked urban bike paths.
Known as the City of Trees, thousands of residents volunteer thousands of hours each year for the city’s urban forest.
A strong sense of community is palpable in Sacramento as the community rallies around the cultural revolution under way, uniting around its sports teams, and revitalizing the region. It’s a community that is truly Sacramento Proud.
Sacramento has a thriving sports scene. Sacramento is home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, who are building a new arena downtown. The Sacramento River Cats are the AAA affiliate for the San Francisco Giants. The Sacramento Republic FC, a minor league soccer franchise, smashed attendance records in 2014 and won the league championship. Sacramento is also a leading candidate for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.
Recently named the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America by regional elected officials and the State of California, the Sacramento region offers thriving agricultural and food scenes that work hand-in-hand.
Designed to showcase where our food and drinks come from, the third annual festival promises to be bigger and better in 2015 than 2014, which drew 35,000 people.
In 2014, TBD Fest, formerly knows as “Launch,” a multi-day, city-wide festival that showcases music, design, food and ideas expanded to a three-day festival and drew an estimated 21,000 people with headliners Blondie, Empire of the Sun, Moby and Justice.
Startup Genome reports a correlation between successful startup ecosystems and strong art and music scenes, and the arts, theater, and music scenes in Sacramento are vibrant, ranking 14th on Forbes list of “Coolest American Cities.”
The Crocker Art Museum was the first public art museum in the West and is one of the leading art museums in California.
Sacramento has great galleries, a great art scene. Theater is popping.
Gordon Fowler, President and CEO, 3Fold Communications
Founded in 1954, the Sacramento Ballet has gained national recognition as one of the finest regional arts companies. The company has enjoyed substantial success and is widely recognized as a leading arts organization in Sacramento.
In 18 seasons, the Ballet has added 13 full-length ballets, 18 Balanchine masterworks, 36 Sacramento premieres, and 34 world premieres. The company is highly regarded as a cultural asset to the community and consistently receives outstanding reviews for its artistic quality.
The Sacramento restaurant scene is sizzling, with a growing number of top-ranked chefs, and is leading the Farm-to-Fork movement.
Sacramento recently ranked as one of the top coffee cities in the US, is home to dozens of craft breweries, and is within hours of hundreds of wineries.
Sacramento has a vibrant music scene 365 days a year. Touring acts perform regularly at venues such as Harlow's and Ace of Spades (rated the #7 venue in CA by Pollstar) while local acts can be found on any given night at some of the cities best music destinations such as Old Ironsides, LowBrau, Fox & Goose, Torch Club and The Press Club. The nightlife scene is equally as exciting with clubs such as D30, Vanguard, Barfly, Social, The Park and more.