With its outdoorsy culture and chill vibe, more and more tech companies and workers are eschewing the commute to Silicon Valley and setting up shop in Surf City. Given the epicenter of technology and innovation just neighbors Santa Cruz County, anyone visiting this coastal California region can feel the buzz. Santa Cruz's stunning natural scenery and active lifestyle, coupled with proximity to larger gateway cities like San Jose and San Francisco, make it the perfect place for innovation inspiration.
Santa Cruz County has innovation in its roots. In 1885, the sport of surfing was introduced to the mainland by three Hawaiian princes, who relocated to Santa Cruz seeking jobs and education in Silicon Valley. Noticing the bountiful point breaks, they took to the local lumber mill and crafted surfboards from coastal redwood logs. Years later, founder of the O'Neill surf apparel brand, Jack O'Neill, invented the wetsuit, allowing watermen and surfers around the world to stay warm in the cold ocean waters. At a Santa Cruz maternity clinic in 1997, the world's first ever camera phone was created and used. That same year, the on-demand streaming media provider, Netflix, founded their first headquarters in Scotts Valley.
Today, Santa Cruz County is home to tech companies such as Looker, Plantronics, and PredPol predictive policing software. Strides in the marine and life science fields are made in UCSC laboratories, and advancements in 3-D printing education take place at the MakersFactory. Santa Cruz County is also a recurring playground for the UAV technology industry (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, AKA 'drones'). Lending itself to visually stimulating outdoor activities like surfing, mountain biking, and kitesurfing, Santa Cruz provides a productive locale for testing and perfecting in-motion aerial video capture capabilities. The Drone Data X Conference will take place in May 2015 at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. "Unlike a traditional conference, the speakers, investors, CEOs, and others will enjoy a weekend together to discuss strategy, learn from each other, and build relationships," says Sara Isenberg, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher of Santa Cruz Tech Beat.
Given this exciting momentum fueling the technological-age we live in, a meeting or event in Santa Cruz County can enliven your team and spur new ways of thinking. Small off-site meetings and groups can get an immersive retreat at Santa Cruz County based co-working and co-living space, The Surf Office. The Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council provides great resources to planners: full-service hotels, day use meeting spaces, and the area's most distinctive teambuilding opportunities. Meet Santa Cruz and soak up the lifestyle -- innovation awaits!