Dear sf.citi members,
2021 brought yet another year of unexpected and unprecedented change to the sf.citi community and the broader tech industry. As we entered the year with vaccination deployment on the horizon and a hopeful outlook on office reopening, we quickly learned the pandemic was far from over. While 2020 was a year of great upheaval, it is now clear that 2021 has been a year of lasting change.
We began the year by debuting the Tech Exodus Dashboard, a first-of-its-kind resource created by sf.citi after months of careful research, data collection, and curation of information surrounding San Francisco’s tech ecosystem and the broader industry at large. Focused on the effects of the pandemic on our industry, we created data-driven conversations with tech, community, and legislative leaders around the future of tech in San Francisco. Our data was featured nationally and internationally as a critical resource in mapping tech migration.
Employing the data created through the Tech Exodus Dashboard, we spent the first half of the year diving deeper into this ever-changing landscape by engaging in cross-regional conversations with other tech leaders around the country, including leading tech hubs like Seattle, Austin, and New York, as well as emerging ecosystems like Nashville and Miami. Our national conversation series with leading tech policy advocates reached over 1,000 attendees and created unique industry insights, featured in media outlets around the country.
Looking at the broader picture, sf.citi continued to engage with policymakers in San Francisco and advocated for key policy initiatives to help offices reopen, including increased broadband access, return to in-person learning for public schools, and public safety improvements. In advocating for our members, we provided thought leadership around the realities of the return to in-person work, permanent changes to office life, and the effects San Francisco will face as a result of a predominantly hybrid work model in the tech industry. As this story continues to evolve, we remain steadfast in advocating for our members around the future of work.
On a final note, this year will also mark a special moment in sf.citi history, as we announce the retirement of our board chair and founder, Ron Conway. When Ron founded sf.citi nearly ten years ago, his mission was to make San Francisco the best place in the world to live and work. Working closely with Mayor Ed Lee in the wake of the 2008 Recession, they envisioned a city where founders could build companies with world-changing ideas, create socially impactful programs to benefit the community, and provide high-quality jobs to lift San Franciscans out of double-digit unemployment rates. Since then, sf.citi has represented hundreds of the world’s largest and most prolific tech companies, provided tens of thousands of hours of volunteer support and millions of dollars from member companies to the community, and forged a lasting partnership between the City of San Francisco and the tech community.
As we embrace the winds of change at sf.citi, we want to thank you for your continued support in our work. Without each of you, our work would not be possible. We look forward to a brighter future ahead.
WHO WE ARE
sf.citi is San Francisco’s tech trade association developed to empower the San Francisco tech community to have a voice in local tech policy decisions and collaborate with government on solving local issues. Founded in 2012, sf.citi drives cross-sector conversation between the City’s tech, nonprofit, and political communities, and advocates for innovative policy solutions to longstanding issues facing San Francisco.
Learn more about sf.citi’s work in 2021
Mapping the Tech Wave Sweeping the Country
In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, tech companies sent shockwaves throughout the San Francisco ecosystem as they adapted to the new realities of the pandemic and remote work. In essence, the start of the San Francisco tech exodus had begun. San Francisco journalists and policymakers alike reacted in dismay at the growing number of tech companies reducing their footprint in San Francisco and expanding to other emerging tech hubs across the country.
For us at sf.citi, however, the tech migration hardly came as a surprise. We were one of the first and most prominent organizations to highlight the growing COVID-19 induced tech migration and explore its long term impacts.
WE LEAD THE CONVERSATION AROUND THE EVOLVING TECH LANDSCAPE
sf.citi Releases Tracking the San Francisco Tech Exodus Web Page
After closely monitoring the movements and trends of San Francisco tech companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, sf.citi launched a web page at the beginning of the year to highlight the mass migration of tech companies and tech workers out of the City. The web page took an in-depth look into the tech exodus by exploring the many factors behind it and analyzing its long-term impact on San Francisco. The routinely updated web page became an all-in-one resource used by the community, reporters, and politicians alike for the latest information on the data surrounding the San Francisco tech exodus.
sf.citi Launches the Mapping the Tech Exodus Series
Featuring tech policy leaders from across the country, sf.citi’s event series, Mapping the Tech Exodus, elevated the discussion surrounding national tech trends and analyzed how they compared to what we were seeing in San Francisco. To kick off the series, sf.citi Executive Director Jennifer Stojkovic sat down (virtually) with sea.citi CEO Nicholas Merriam for a discussion about the state of Seattle’s tech ecosystem in the age of COVID-19. He described the tech ecosystem in Seattle as continuing to see strong growth despite the pandemic, attracting tech talent and companies for similar features as San Francisco but at half the cost.
sf.citi Explores the Surging Tech Migration
sf.citi hosted a virtual event to explore how the pandemic and remote work are fundamentally changing the tech industry, our cities, and the way we work. At The Tech Migration: Reshaping the Industry, Jennifer Stojkovic, Executive Director of sf.citi, sat down for fireside chats with Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, and Anthemos Georgiades, CEO of Zumper. The Washington Post Silicon Valley Correspondent, Lizza Dwoskin, also moderated a panel discussion with Justin Bedecarre, CEO of Raise, Kim Mai-Cutler, Partner at Initialized Capital, and Guy Berger, Principal Economist at LinkedIn.
sf.citi Concludes the Mapping the Tech Exodus series
sf.citi ended our event series, Mapping the Tech Exodus, with Executive Director of Austin Tech Alliance, Sarah Ortiz Shields—a fitting end as Austin became the pandemic tech hub darling. Over the course of two months, we hosted virtual conversations with five burgeoning tech hubs throughout the country and learned so much about the ongoing migration of tech workers and companies outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as approaches other cities are taking to attract tech talent (and tax dollars).
- Nicholas Merriam, CEO of sea.citi
- Brian Moyer, President and CEO of Greater Nashville Tech Council
- Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC
- Maria Derchi Russo, Executive Director of Refresh Miami
- Sarah Ortiz Shields, Executive Director of Austin Tech Alliance
Representing our members in conversation with San Francisco policymakers
Advocating for collaborative policy solutions on behalf of the San Francisco tech community is core to sf.citi’s mission and work. The last decade has shown us that a thriving tech industry means a thriving San Francisco—a reality made all the more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our challenge at sf.citi has been working with local policymakers to develop legislation that ensures tech’s continued growth in San Francisco, especially as the City rebounds from COVID-19. Looking ahead, we are ready to partner with government leaders on San Francisco’s recovery, just as we are committed to maintaining San Francisco’s status as the tech and innovation capital of the world.
WE ADVOCATE FOR INNOVATIVE POLICY SOLUTIONS
This past year, sf.citi worked closely with our Policy Advisory Committee on continuing to evolve our policy agenda to guide our advocacy work for 2021 and continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. As in 2020, this year’s work was focused on the most critical solutions to San Francisco’s long-term recovery.
Return to Work Policies
2021 brought unexpected shifts in the moving target of return to work. With nearly 90,000 SF tech employees working remotely during the pandemic, we advocated for the solutions needed to bring our offices back in-person. Though the pandemic proved to challenge many of our member’s plans for reopening, we engaged in conversations with policymakers on important steps towards rebuilding a vibrant downtown, including advocating for safe, clean streets, bringing back in-person learning in public schools, and more.
Bridging the Broadband Gap
Continuing from 2020, the digital divide, specifically the broadband gap, continues to pose an issue to the very lifeline of people across the City. Beginning last year, sf.citi connected our members with government leaders in San Francisco and Oakland to better understand each city’s needs and supported numerous connectivity initiatives. Since then, we’ve focused on policy initiatives to make widespread broadband a reality and created important community conversations between elected officials, community leaders, and telecommunications leaders.
- Supported SB 556 to expand broadband services
- Hosted Bridging the Digital Divide: The Road to a Digital-First SF with AT&T and Verizon, featuring Supervisor Matt Haney, Kami Griffiths, Executive Director of Community Tech Network, Manny Yekutiel, SFMTA Board Member, and Rudy Reyes, West VP of Government Affairs at Verizon
WE DRIVE DATA-DRIVEN CONVERSATIONS AROUND THE FUTURE OF SAN FRANCISCO
Continuing our leadership on the future of tech’s footprint through data-driven conversation, we launched The Tech Exodus dashboard, an all-in-one resource with insights about tech’s relocation, the economic implications of a tech exodus in San Francisco, and context around the policies that have led us to where we are today. This first-of-its-kind dashboard reached communities far and wide and was featured both locally and nationally in various media outlets, driving important discussions around the future of tech in San Francisco and beyond.
WE EDUCATE OUR COMMUNITY ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO POLITICS AND ELECTIONS
2021 proved to be a light political year for San Francisco residents as they participated in only one election: the Recall Election of California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 14, 2021. Nevertheless, the political landscape in San Francisco remained highly active with the addition of new Supervisors, a new Board President, many high-level political appointees, and more recall campaigns. Committed to helping San Franciscans exercise the full power of their political voice, sf.citi made sure to produce write-ups that outline and assess notable political actions in the City.
WE CONNECT OUR MEMBERS WITH KEY DECISION-MAKERS
We routinely connect our members with key decision makers in and outside of San Francisco through our Lunch and Learn discussion series. Held in a virtual setting for a second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lunch and Learn series provides sf.citi members and leaders in government an intimate setting to speak candidly about current challenges facing the City and explore collaborative solutions.
Featured Speakers in 2021
Supervisor Myrna Melgar, District 7 | Supervisor Connie Chan, District 1 | Chief Economist Ted Egan, San Francisco | Supervisor Matt Haney, District 6 | Board President Shamann Walton, District 10 | City Administrator Carmen Chu, San Francisco | Board of Education Member Jenny Lam, San Francisco | Assessor-Record Joaquin Torres, San Francisco | Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, District 8 | Office of Economic and Workforce Development Director Kate Sofis, San Francisco | Assemblymember Phil Ting, 19th Assembly District
San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits and initiatives featured in sf.citi’s Community Update
job seekers connected to employees at Breaking into Tech since 2018
Engaging our members in volunteer opportunities and partnerships that serve the broader San Francisco community
Since our founding in 2012, sf.citi has helped expand the tech industry’s social impact footprint in San Francisco. Every year, we organize events, volunteer opportunities, and partnerships for sf.citi members and their employees to give back to the San Francisco community.
In 2021, our work continued to focus on combating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and fostering collaborative solutions to San Francisco’s recovery. Throughout this past year, we brought tech and nonprofit leaders together to navigate these unprecedented challenges.
WE KEEP OUR NETWORK INFORMED
After starting as a weekly communication on the latest COVID-19 developments, we transitioned the SF Tech Community Update into a permanent communication focused on local issues. Sent out every Monday, our SF Tech Community Update has become the community’s go-to resource for tech social impact news, local and state political updates, and local nonprofit stories. We also gave the SF Tech Community Update a sleek redesign in the spring!
WE ARE ONE CITY
The One City Forum has been a vital piece of sf.cit’s community-building since its inception in 2016. The driving force behind some of sf.citi’s most well-loved and well-attended events, the One City Forum helps us continue to forge cross-sector partnerships and conversations in San Francisco. In 2021, the One City Forum pushed through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to produce events that addressed the greatest challenges facing San Francisco. With an emphasis on pandemic recovery, the conversations hosted by the One City Form are needed more than ever.
New Members join the One City Forum
This spring, the One City Forum welcomed four new members, two tech and two nonprofit members, to the now 11-person leadership committee. The new members included Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, Amanda Lenaghan, Head of Social Impact and Community Engagement at Cruise, Bita Nazarian, Executive Director of 826 Valencia, and Orlando White, Head of Community Development in North America at LinkedIn. Later in the year, the One City Forum also added Victor Cordon, Senior Program Manager of Philanthropy at Okta, as Okta’s new representative on the Forum.
Multi-sector partnership and collaboration is essential to any serious problem solving in our community and the table that sf.citi has set provides just the right venue for that work. I’m honored to join the hard-working and innovative people already at the table and hope to make a contribution to making San Francisco an even better place to live, work, and play.
—Fred Blackwell, San Francisco Foundation
The One City Forum Launches its Inaugural Mandate
With its inaugural mandate, the One City Forum created a set of guiding principles that established a clear scope of what the members and their organizations are working towards. The first One City Forum mandate focuses on addressing three areas critical to the long-term success of San Francisco and its residents. This includes developing the workforce of tomorrow, bridging the digital divide, and engaging the San Francisco community.
WE GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY
Every year, sf.citi partners with local nonprofits to organize multiple industry-wide volunteer opportunities for our members and their employees. In 2021, we continued the tradition of bringing San Francisco’s tech community together—albeit virtually—to give back to those in need.
Breaking into Tech Week
Breaking Into Tech has easily become one of sf.citi’s most popular events. Each year, we connect current and aspiring tech workers through a series of speed networking sessions. With so many jobs lost during the pandemic, Breaking into Tech has become more important than ever. Participants were able to virtually network with tech professionals, as well as listen to a panel discussion about breaking down barriers to hiring.
9/11 Day of Action
Over the past few years, sf.citi has partnered with 9/11 Day on its mission to transform 9/11 into the country’s largest day of service. This year the organizers of 9/11 Day authored an sf.citi guest blog that outlined how to safely volunteer —in-person or virtually—for the 2021 9/11 Day of Action. With so many communities in dire need of support due to the pandemic, it was essential for event organizers to reach volunteers like sf.citi member companies wherever they could.
Connecting our members at events with other industry leaders to discuss the most pressing issues facing tech and San Francisco as a whole
Events have become a major component of sf.citi’s work. Each year, we host large-scale events that offer thoughtful insight and information on topics affecting both the tech industry and the greater San Francisco community. And in 2021, despite another year of virtual events, we continued to host more events than we did pre-pandemic!
Our main event series is organized by sf.citi’s One City Forum, a group of eleven tech and nonprofit leaders dedicated to bringing a ‘one city’ approach to bettering San Francisco. We also partner with other influential San Francisco organizations to produce events focused on strengthening relationships between the tech industry and other sectors in the City.
sf.citi events hosted to date
attendees at sf.citi events
speakers featured at sf.citi events
WE DRIVE CROSS-SECTOR CONVERSATION
Scaling Social Impact in a Remote World
In part three of the Scaling Impact in a Remote World event series, sf.citi brought in social impact and public policy leaders at Instacart, Lyft, and Salesforce to discuss how tech can drive civic engagement in and outside of election cycles. Speaking to the panelists, we discovered innovative ways in which tech companies leveraged civic engagement to strengthen their social impact strategy, business, and the communities in which they operate.
Mapping the Tech Exodus Event Series
sf.citi organized a series of discussions with tech policy leaders from across the country to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s tech landscape. We looked at the effect the pandemic and remote work had on the migration of tech workers, the health of office space markets, investments from venture capitalists, and housing prices.
Silicon Valley will very likely continue to be the U.S.’s tech hub for years to come. And yet other hubs like Miami and Austin will absolutely attract some of its talent away for new adventures. It’s totally possible to hold both these positions. And the spread of the Silicon Valley mindset into a diaspora across the U.S. is a great thing for innovation in this country.
—Anthemos Georgiades, CEO of Zumper
If you can identify the skills required for the role, make sure everyone is aligned on what great looks like, and assess those skills, that’s how you’re going to take bias out.
—Tony Bush, Senior Director of Recruiting, Okta
Bridging the Divide: The Road to a Digital-First SF
sf.citi partnered with AT&T and Verizon to host a timely discussion on the current state of the digital divide in San Francisco. With the pandemic exacerbating the issues of the digital divide, the panel of local leaders discussed the importance of digital resources and skills in today’s world and the solutions that the City should implement to make San Francisco a digital-first city.