3 SF Companies Making Waves in the AI and Data Industries

An inside look at what three Bay Area companies have on the horizon.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on May. 30, 2024
3 SF Companies Making Waves in the AI and Data Industries
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It’s possible that 2024 could mark the first lap in the tech industry’s full-sprint AI race. 

Multimodal AIs are leading the way with the capability to analyze text, video, audio and images in real time. In May, OpenAI announced the launch of ChatGPT-4o — which was broadly compared to the AI assistant in the movie Her. Google is set to release the voice interaction version of Gemini later in the year. Data centers are becoming AI computing farms, and search engines are likely to shift to generative AI interfaces over ranked pages.

And San Francisco is at the epicenter of it all. 

Of course, the Bay Area is a longtime tech capital, but the swell of AI has recemented the city at the forefront even as many tech companies have dispersed around the country. The AI Safety Institute, a research testing and review body from the UK, announced recently that it will set up a second location in San Francisco, further signaling the area is home to some of the biggest names in AI development today. 

Read on to learn more about the latest news, employment perks and more from three Bay Area tech companies. 


Cisco Meraki is a cloud-managed IT company and leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. 


AI News 

The IT company recently released Cisco Hypershield, a new offering in AI cybersecurity. Hypershield is a cloud-native distributed security that is built for AI-scale data centers. Cisco noted that this new level of security is “built into the fabric of the network.” The idea behind the new security approach is to address the widely distributed microservices and data centers that are all interconnected to an unprecedented level with AI. 


The Perks

When a new teammate joins Cisco, they can expect perks like: 

  • Pay transparency and performance bonuses 
  • Childcare benefits and adoption assistance 
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Abortion travel benefits
  • Sabbaticals 


Acquisition of Splunk

Cisco recently acquired cybersecurity company Splunk — in the largest deal in Cisco’s history — for $28 billion. Former Splunk CEO Gary Steele is now an executive vice president at Cisco. Splunk is known for his creation of a dashboard that helps users understand machine-generated data. 



Render is a cloud-based platform to build apps and other digital products. The platform is designed so that companies using it have the capability to scale. 

Data News 

The Render platform recently announced the full launch of High Availability for Render PostgreSQL. The launch joins together Render’s database features, like read replicas and point-in-time recovery, with a PostgreSQL database, offering users at-rest encryption, daily backups and comprehensive extension support. 


    The Perks

    When a new teammate joins Render, they can expect perks like: 

    • Company equity
    • Relocation assistance
    • Home-office stipend for remote employees
    • Health insurance premiums for employees and dependents paid in full by Render 


    New Hires 

    Render brought a new face onboard recently, hiring Mike Smith, its first VP of marketing and growth. Smith shared on LinkedIn that what sold him on joining the company was Anurag Goel, the founder and CEO of Render, saying, “I want to take on AWS.”

    “After my startup heart skipped a few beats — ‘Yes please!!! Challenge accepted. Where do I sign up?’” said Smith.  



    Forge is a data platform that tracks stock market investments. 


    Data News

    The Forge data platform is built to help investors understand market shifts and share values. The recent launch of Forge Pro will allow investors to make better-informed decisions on private and publicly traded companies. 


      The Perks

      When a new teammate joins Forge, they can expect perks like: 

      • Company equity
      • Mental health benefits
      • Generous parental leave
      • Diversity employee resource groups
      • Paid volunteer time


      New Hires 

      Forge welcomed two key new hires recently: Natasha Brooks is the new senior vice president and head of data sales; and Harnalli DeepaSwamy is the new vice president of data, AI and analytics platform engineering. In Brooks’ 20-plus years of experience working in both startups and global organizations, she has established a proven track record of “driving rapid revenue growth” and “will be responsible for facilitating exponential expansion of data product adoption,” according to an announcement from Forge.  

      DeepaSwamy also has over 20 years of experience in data, analytics, AI and strategy. Formerly the head of data and AI at JPMorgan Chase, “DeepaSwamy will lead the development and oversight of an enterprise data, AI, data governance and analytics strategy, ensuring the implementation of associated programs and methodologies that yield tangible business results,” an announcement from the company read. Forge also noted that there are several AI initiatives that will take place later this year that DeepaSwamy will play a significant role in. 



      Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Image provided by Shutterstock.

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