Here’s why Mozilla picked Portland to open its first offices outside Silicon Valley

FirefoxMozilla, makers of the popular Firefox browser, announced last week that it was expanding its cohort in Portland and moving employees into a brand new office. This marks the first time the non-profit has opened an office in the U.S. outside of the Bay Area.

So, why did the Silicon Valley-based company choose Portland for expansion? For starters, Mozilla already had about 26 employees stationed in Portland and working out of the Collective Agency collaborative space.

But there are reasons past that. Some of Mozilla’s first employees came from Portland’s large open source ecosystem — many from Oregon State University’s Open Source lab — and the city has been an integral part of the company’s success from the very first days.

“We continue to be excited by Portland’s hotbed of open source talent, community, and our peer technology companies,” Chief Financial Officer Jim Cook told us.

The new 8,500-square-foot office, located in Portland’s upscale Pearl District, will house staff working across Firefox for Desktop, Android and the Firefox OS. Mozilla also plans to add 14 employees over the next few years and hold community events in its new space.

techtownportlandAs we’ve written on GeekWire before, Portland continues to grow not only as a hot spot for software developers, but also entrepreneurs. Online banking startup Simple moved there from New York because of its low cost of living and lifestyle, which sounds very familiar to another startup founder we just wrote about.

“It’s been phenomenal for us,” Simple CEO Joshua Reich said of Portland. “A big part of our success comes down to the personal human level of customer service, and Portland has a great talent pool for that. People share our morals and really want to build fantastic careers around what we do. It’s hard to find that in other cities.”

That is the same sentiment shared by our GeekWire CEO of the Year Sam Blackman from Elemental Technologies, who told us that the Rose City is the next great startup mecca.

“In my opinion, if you are a software engineer graduating from college right now, there is no better city you can move to than Portland,” Blackman said.

This video provides a nice look at some of the growing companies coming out of the Rose City.

Previously on GeekWire: Power to the web? Mozilla plans to challenge app store with cross-platform marketplace