Why Portland, Maine, Is the Next Tech Hot Spot

The tech scene in the U.S. has been expanding beyond the borders of the West Coast for several years.

In fact, in 2015 Silicon Valley lost more than 7,500 residents, marking the first time in four years that the technology hub has experienced a net loss in population, according to a study by the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project.

The East Coast—with New York and its fast-paced metropolitan area serving as the epicenter of startups and entrepreneurial vision—has long been a bastion of tech growth. But now, with more cloud-based companies and a growing emphasis on worker quality of life, the opportunities are expanding for businesses looking to offer staff a better work-life balance than can be found in the more established urban tech centers.

One location that is ready for its own tech boom may surprise you: Portland, Maine. This small city is an up-and-coming tech-friendly locale due largely to the fact that today’s tech companies want not just work-life balance for their employees but also locations with great quality of place—access to nature and culture, and availability of talent.

The state’s home sales grew almost 12 percent in 2016, compared to less than 1 percent for the rest of the country. That serves as just one indicator that Maine is a place families want to be. Another important indicator is the fact that the state placed the nation’s top 10 in economic performance for 2016.

The local tech scene in this scenic region has grown substantially over the past few years, as well. Portland, Maine, now offers a powerful mix of companies specializing in software development, app development, health informatics, payment systems, clean technology and more. And the opportunities—and advantages—to entrepreneurs looking to launch the business of their dreams in the Portland area are only growing.

Some of the forward-thinking businesses located in this fairly small city include some very big names, such as CashStar, WEX, IDEXX Laboratories, L.L. Bean, Bottomline Technologies (headquartered in New Hampshire but has a piece of business located in Portland), and Tyler Technologies, among others.