Phoenix competes to become next 'Silicon Valley'

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Competition is heating up for the title of the "new Silicon Valley."

"Silicon Valley will be crumbled within the next five years," said Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

Broome said Phoenix is in competition with Denver, Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.

"These companies start off small and we pay close attention to them as they grow," Broome said.

He cites ZocDoc, a Web company that links doctors to patients, which grew from a couple of employees in a small Scottsdale office to a sprawling office and plans to hire hundreds.

"They had a just few guys on the ground and now there's the potential to get 600 jobs, so it's a big play for the Valley," Broome said.

ZocDoc's New York-based CEO cited cooperation with elected officials, the area's affordability, and the climate for choosing Scottsdale over other cities and the Bay Area.

Other CEOs seem to move and stay for the same reasons.

"The Bay Area is a hard place to start a business. Costs are so high," said Harry Curtin, CEO of BestIT.

Curtin grew his company from an apartment in Buckeye, Ariz., to a large office space in Central Phoenix. He now has 100 employees.

"For someone starting out, it makes a lot of sense to come here," Curtin said. "Phoenix is nice and clean and affordable for families, and that's getting a lot of companies interested in moving here, especially startups trying to stretch every dollar."

Broome said to continue the momentum and encourage more tech companies to move to the Valley, Arizona officials will have to make more investments in higher education.