Silicon Valley, while still dominant, is not the only center of startup activity in the electronics and semiconductor domain anymore.
The names of more than 340 companies have appeared on the EE Times Silicon 60 list of emerging technology companies since it first appeared in April 2004. That includes the 38 newcomers in the latest iteration -- version 15.1. And many hundreds of startup companies have been written about on the pages of EE Times over the last decade and considered for the Silicon 60.
And the list is global. There is no doubt that Silicon Valley is still the largest center of startup activity in the electronics and semiconductor domain, but perhaps not to the degree it was.
One quarter of version 15.1 of the Silicon 60 is headquartered in California, and nearly half is based in the US. After that, in order, come France, China, Israel, the UK, and then more countries represented by one or two companies.
Many of the companies located in the San Francisco Bay Area are there for reasons of sales, marketing, and finance, while the senior executives have roots elsewhere. It was observed that in the last published iteration of the Silicon 60 about half of the US companies had Indians as founders or co-founders although only a couple of companies were actually headquartered in India.
Things are changing. In version 14.0 24 companies were headquartered in California, or 40 percent of the list, and in the latest iteration it is down to 16, or 26 percent, of the list. Does that mean California is getting less entrepreneurial?
Probably not, but it may demonstrate that as the Chinese manufacturing and consumer electronics nexus has become stronger, and as Internet communications become more pervasive, the need to locate a startup in expensive Silicon Valley has diminished.
There have been Silicon Valley-style startup companies in the eastern hemisphere for many years but considerably fewer than in the United States. At the same time it has been hard for many of those companies to achieve "escape velocity" and go on to be globally successful.
But now several eastern hemisphere companies have emerged as global market leaders. There is foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. but also younger fabless chip companies such as Taiwan's MediaTek and China's Spreadtrum Communications.
This, together with executives returning home after serving time working in Silicon Valley, encourages the capital investment and entrepreneurship for a new generation of startups in Asia. It helps build the economic success and reinvestment engine that has served California well for so many decades. But such changes do not happen suddenly, as it can take many years to gestate an electronics startup. Of the Silicon 60 v15.1 more than half (33) of the companies were founded in 2009 or earlier, with the rest founded in 2010 or later.