History Behind Silicon Valley

Discover the history behind Silicon Valley and discover the main companies located in the region

You’ve probably heard about Silicon Valley, haven’t you? Discover everything about this technological hub and get to know the main companies in the region.

Silicon Valley

A little over half a century ago, no one could have imagined that a group of cities on the outskirts of San Francisco, in the United States, would become one of the greatest technological poles at a global level.

If before, the place was a cluster of quiet towns in the interior, today it is the cradle of some of the most successful companies in the world. Or, if you prefer, the paradise for young professionals in the fields of technology, entrepreneurship and marketing But how did all this start? Why do so many successful organizations gather in the locality? And what are they?

The answers are here! In this article, you’ll find out about the main companies in the area, learn some interesting facts about them and discover the history of the Valley.

What Is Silicon Valley and Where Is It?

Silicon Valley is the name given to the grouping of cities south of San Francisco, California, United States. In this region are located the headquarters of the main technology companies in the world.

In addition to the famous Palo Alto, Silicon Valley is home to several other municipalities: Newark, Menlo Park, Campbell, Union City, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Fremont, Redwood City, Saratoga, Los Altos, Mountain View and San Jose.

It is natural that, with this flow of information and business, it is easier to find business partners, such as developers, investors and accelerators.

In view of this and the broad innovation scenario, the migration of promising startups to the local area is also common. Some of them became big companies, as you will see later in this text.

google headquarters
Google Headquarters

What Is the History of Silicon Valley?

At the time of World War II, the United States employed a large part of its investments in technology. Several intelligence centers and laboratories were created for this purpose, including in the region where Silicon Valley is today.

The activities continued even after the end of the war. This happened because of the instability of the Cold War period, an economic race between the land of Uncle Sam and the Russians.

The US created several policies to encourage the private sector and several industries sprang up around San Francisco.

One of the first people to settle in the region (more specifically in Palo Alto) was William Shockley, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. For this, he recruited eight young researchers.

Shockley’s company failed, but his employees persisted and founded a new organization, Fairchild Semiconductor a super successful business indeed.

They would then be considered the founders of Silicon Valley. The name of the place is not official, but a nickname derived from the main material used in the manufacture of processors.

Over the years, investments have increased and large companies have sprung up in the region, which makes Silicon Valley considered the cradle of new technological trends. Nowadays, conventions, lectures, workshops, congresses and events are regularly held, which attracts a large number of enterprises to the region.

The government incentive remains until today and stimulates the creation of new businesses.

What Are the Top Companies in Silicon Valley?

Several organizations have headquarters or branches in Silicon Valley. Some were born there, others set up offices or completely migrated their businesses.

This is a very simple reason: being in Silicon Valley guarantees the acceleration of the growth of large and small businesses, something that possibly would not happen in other locations.

“Those who live in Silicon Valley learned a long time ago that when you share knowledge with others, one plus one usually equals three.”

Vivek Wadwha, columnist for The Washington Post

Thanks to this culture of everyday innovation, many companies have managed to prosper in the region. Below, you will learn about some of the most important ones:


Remember when we talked about the eight young researchers who “founded” Silicon Valley? Two of them, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, later set up Intel.

The multinational is the second largest semiconductor company in the world, only behind Samsung. In addition, it develops its own products and supplies technology to other large organizations such as Dell, Lenovo and HP.

The company was rated the 14th most valuable in the world in 2016, with a value of 36.9 billion dollars.


You’ve probably already had contact with a Hewlett-Packard product (the union of its creators’ last names), but you probably know the company by its most common name: HP.

This multinational develops hardware and software for companies of all sizes, as well as high quality products such as laptops, computers and peripherals.

In 2015, the company was accused of distributing products with harmful toxins to the environment. Today, it is seen as a reference in the recycling of electronics, toners and ink cartridges.


In addition to being the largest search engine in the world, Google carries out other activities such as online advertising, APIs, hardware and software development and cloud computing.

The company’s base, Googlepex, in Mountain View. The company name is a play on the term “googol”, which in math represents the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.

But before it had its big headquarters, Google’s first office was a rented garage, like several other big companies in Silicon Valley.

apple park silicon valley
Apple Park in Cupertino


Located in Cupertino, Apple is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronics, software and online services.

Its most famous products include iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, more recently wearable technologies and even electronic vehicles.

In 2015, it became the first US company valued at over 700 billion dollars.

Oh, and if you want to know where the apple idea came from, Steve Jobs chose the company name for unusual reasons: first, he was on a fruit diet; second, he wanted to appear in front of Atari in the phone book.


Based in Sunnyvale, Yahoo! was one of the pioneers in the internet business in the world and still maintains its operations today.

Provider of various services on the web, such as email, search engine, news portal and servers, the company itself says it attracts “more than half a billion consumers a month in more than 30 languages”.

Yahoo! was once the most used search engine in the world before being surpassed by Google and Bing.


Mark Zuckerberg‘s social network is located in Menlo Park and has over 2 billion active users every month. The idea of ​​the social network originated at Harvard, when Zuckerberg was still in college (which he abandoned with the network’s success).

It is currently considered one of the most valuable companies in the world, with a business model that revolves around advertising and Big Data.


Another social network on our list, also called a microblog, Twitter is characterized by the character limitation, currently raised to 280 (previously, the limit was 140).

The number of monthly users is 328 million, who share several daily tweets with countless hashtags


The streaming service that already has more than 100 million users has revolutionized the way people consume movies and series. Today the company is worth over 20 billion dollars.

The idea for Netflix came when the CEO had to pay $40 for the delay of a VHS tape of Apollo 13 film. Initially a DVD rental platform, it has evolved into a subscription service and now even produces its own content.

And if you dream of working at Netflix, it can be really amazing: employees can take as many days off as they like! According to the company, it is a way of treating its employees as adults, giving them responsibilities, but with freedom.


Bill Gates’ company is one of the largest technology multinationals in the world. It offers a wide range of products and services, such as licenses and supports, computers, electronics and software.

In 1995, Bill Gates became the richest man in the world, with a fortune of 12.9 billion dollars. Today, still at the post, he accumulates 86 billion dollars;