A sign in front of Google's Kirkland offices

Another day, another tech giant sets up shop in Seattle. Perhaps no story over the past 24 months has shaped the technology community in Seattle as much as the arrival of the powerhouses of tech.

Drawn to the region by a stable of anchor tenants like Amazon.com, Expedia and Microsoft and enticed by top-notch computer scientists from the University of Washington, companies such as eBay, Facebook and, most recently, Groupon have decided to mine Seattle’s treasure trove of technical talent.

The emergence of these companies is altering the technology landscape as we know it. For the most part, they’ve been warmly greeted, hosting fancy shin-digs at their offices in an effort to woo the best designers, developers and engineers.

We’ve viewed their arrival as a good thing, diversifying the makeup of Seattle’s tech community.

But there’s a potential downside. Some industry watchers — including a well-known venture capitalist that I spoke to earlier this month — lamented the fact that these companies are gobbling up the best talent. After all, wouldn’t the community be better served to have at least some of these folks taking the startup plunge?

That’s a topic for another debate, and we plan to explore that issue in greater detail in the coming days. But, for now, we simply wanted to put together a list of the companies that we know of that have established operations here. (Driven in part by yesterday’s column: “Hey, NYC: There’s a tech hub out here called Seattle”)

Let us know if we forgot any key players, and be sure to share your opinions on whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing in the comments below.

Climate Corp.: The San Francisco startup led by ex-Googlers established a branch in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood in January, drawn in part by Amazon Web Services. It plans to hire about 20 people at the office. Previously: “The Climate Corp. picks Seattle for branch office, looks to cultivate talent to crunch weather data”

CrowdStrike: Opened a 4,000 square-foot engineering office in Kirkland earlier this year with about 10 employees. Previously: “Stealth startup CrowdStrike wants to obliterate security threats, raises $26M”

Dassault Systemes: A key Boeing partner, the French software company opened an 11,000 square foot office in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood last year. Previously: “Aerospace software company Dassault Systemes making Seattle a new corporate hub”

eBay: Former Microsoftie Ken  Moss expanded eBay’s presence in Redmond last year, with the company saying at the time that the office in Amazon’s backyard would include “a sizeable global technology team.” Previously: “Microsoft vet Ken Moss lands at eBay, plans to grow Seattle office”

EMC: Before it acquired Seattle’s Isilon Systems for up to $2.25 billion, the storage giant already had a presence in the area. But that operation is getting much, much bigger, with the company moving into a 140,000 square-foot building on 1st Avenue South in Pioneer Square last year. At the time, Isilon announced plans to hire up to 200 more staffers at the location. Previously: “EMC boss Joe Tucci loves being in the backyard of Amazon and Microsoft”

Facebook: Opened a new office in the Metropolitan Towers in Seattle last month with room for 170 staffers, growing the presence of the social networking company’s first engineering office outside of Silicon Valley. The office is led by Ari Steinberg, with the office warming attended by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. Previously: “Facebook opens new Seattle office, plans more growth”

Google: The granddaddy of the Silicon Valley titans in Seattle, the Internet search pioneer established a presence in Kirkland eight years ago. It now employs about 1,000 people in the area, split between offices in Kirkland, Bothell and Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Previously: “As war for talent continues, Google opens mysterious Bothell location and expands in Fremont”

Groupon: Just announced today, the daily deal powerhouse hired former Amazon.com general manager Vinayak Hegde to lead a new office in the International District with room for 20 to 30 employees: Previously“Groupon hires ex-Amazon GM to lead Seattle office.”

Hulu: Established in February 2011, the Seattle office near Pike Place Market is led by Andrew Carter and now employs more than a dozen developers.  Previously: “Q&A: Hulu CTO Richard Tom on the future of television”

Jawbone: The San Francisco maker of Bluetooth headset and speakers set up shop in Seattle last year under the direction of Adam MacBeth, a former engineer at Symform and MergeLab. Previously: “$49 million richer, Jawbone becomes latest Bay Area darling to kiss up to Seattle”

RichRelevance: Expanding office in Seattle is led by former Amazon.com and Pelago veteran Darren Vengroff. Office, located at 1402 Third Avenue, now employs 12 people.

Salesforce.com: The maker of customer relationship management software picked the West 8th skyscraper in downtown Seattle for its hub in Seattle 18 months ago. It leased 12,000 square feet in the building, which is also the new home to an expanding Amazon.com.

Zynga's hip office in Pioneer Square

Splunk: Before its IPO, Splunk identified Seattle as a hotebed for talent. The Seattle office is responsible for the company’s developer platform as well as its Microsoft technologies. Opened one year ago, the offices are located in South Lake Union neighborhood and led by former Microsoft Technical Fellow Brad Lovering.  Previously‘Big data’ company Splunk, backed by Ignition, soars in IPO

Ticketmaster: Announced last month, the new engineering office will be led by  Cameron EtezadiPreviously: “Ticketmaster opens Seattle office led by Amazon vets”

Zynga: The social gaming powerhouse opened its Seattle branch in the old Washington Shoe Building in Pioneer Square last year. It was led for a time by former Amazon.com exec Neil Roseman, who departed the company in April.  Previously: “Exclusive: Zynga picks historic Pioneer Square building for office”

Not a bad list, huh? And who did we forget?

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • http://www.mcbuzz.com/ Mark McLaren

    Nice list! The trend is clear – and clearly beneficial to the region. I’d love to hear the argument as to why big companies hiring local tech talent is a negative. We only need to look at the Bay Area to see it’s not true. Haven’t more Seattle startups been created by folks who got their start at Microsoft than any other source?

    • Steveg

      Great article.  I agree with Mark regarding the negative impacts of big companies hiring local tech talent.  I would argue that having a big company listed on one’s resume can be seen as a benefit when pitching ideas to investors…many of whom have been with those very companies. It is certainly not a requirement but may be a tipping point.

  • Garrett A

    Also, HTC, Samsung, Swype, En Masse Entertainment…

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    Thanks, this is a handy list and nice to see how the tech base is diversifying.

    I do think though you’re missing one big draw: people leaving Microsoft.

    I remember in the 2000’s the idea of tech companies from outside the region setting up shop here was crazy because Microsoft was sucking all the oxygen out of the talent room. Microsoft got the talent and that talent wasn’t going to leave.

    With the stock flat and the “deal” changed after the 2009 layoffs, though, you’re seeing more mobility with talent.

  • http://twitter.com/nswa nwscience.org

    Not sure your criteria – but think big data co. Socrata, which opened in Pioneer Square a few years ago, may belong on tech list – they created dashboard for data.gov, and Tableau in  Fremont, which came from Palo Alto a few years ago. Likewise, data viz and data analysis.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesian Sally James

    Not big, but leverage-wise perhaps influential: Socrata (Pioneer Square big data and connected to data.gov by giant contract) and Tableau (Fremont phenom from Palo Alto) for data viz and analysis. They aren’t giants who moved, but represent employers with major room to grow.

  • Paul Barham

    While not considered Tech giants with large IT groups, three other larger corporations call the Seattle area home:  Starbucks, Costco, and REI.

Job Listings on GeekWork