Secret Sauce
Photo by Steve McConnell/UC Berkeley

Secret Sauce

What’s the “secret” that established the Bay Area as an international leader in science, technology and innovation?

Three of our BASIC leaders respond:

Mark Bregman, Ph.D., BASIC Chairman

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Neustar, Inc.

A unique environment exists in the Bay Area that has led to its becoming a crucible for innovation.  The strong universities and rich sources of venture capital embedded in a tremendously diverse cultural environment make the Bay Area ‘The place to be’ for entrepreneurs.  For many years the Bay Area has nurtured a culture that supports risk taking and experimentation, whether in art, music, or business.  The open nature of the culture leads to a sharing of ideas that further stimulates innovation.  Today the Bay Area is not only a center of innovation in its own right but is also the key marketplace for the exchange of innovative ideas from around the globe.

Regis B. Kelly, Ph.D.,

Director, QB3, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences

The Bay Area succeeds as a hotbed of innovation because it is a worldwide magnet for ferociously ambitious young people who come here to succeed.  Just as every aspiring movie maker wants to locate to Hollywood, so young entrepreneurs want to be here, whether they are in cleantech, biotech or IT.  What makes the Bay Area the place to be is its culture which, fortunately, has taken years to build and is not easily reproducible. Many elements contribute to the richness of our culture, including extensive networking within and between expertise areas, a tradition of acceptance of ethnicity, belief systems and life style, a respect for scholarship and a willingness to risk failure. So far, our culture rejects complacency and a sense of entitlement.

Corey S. Goodman, Ph.D.,

Managing Director and co-founder, venBio

The Bay Area has something special.  But what is it?  Certainly it includes our great universities – innovative faculty; ambitious students, budding entrepreneurs mixed with experienced repeaters.  But it’s bigger than our universities.  It’s our entrepreneurial spirit.  It’s our culture and network.  A community that isn’t afraid to take risks — risk failure.  Shoot for the moon.  A couple of friends in a garage.  The rest is history.  Big ideas.  And the nurturing support of the venture, finance, legal, and intellectual property community to make it all possible.  We don’t know quite how to describe it, but we all feel it, and realize it is special and hard to replicate. Others come here from all over the world trying to figure it out — wanting to go home with a recipe of the ingredients in the sauce.  Doesn’t work that way.  So what is it?  It’s a community that fosters innovation, risk, and big dreams.


In Bay Area Strengths, we take a closer look at some of those individual ingredients which have come together to create the unique culture and leadership which is the San Francisco Bay Area.

Go to Links, see our financial supporters
Terms | Sitemap