The AI Boom Is Pulling Tech Entrepreneurs Back to San Francisco

Madisen Taylor, who runs operations for Hugging Face and organized the event alongside Mr. Delangue, said its communal vibe had mirrored that of Woodstock. “Peace, love, building cool A.I.,” she said.

Taken together, the activity is enough to draw back people like Ms. Fischer, who is starting a company that uses A.I. in the hospitality industry. She and Mr. Fulop got involved in the 350-person tech scene in Bend, but they missed the inspiration, hustle and connections in San Francisco.

“There’s just nowhere else like the Bay,” Ms. Fischer, 32, said.

Jen Yip, who has been organizing events for tech workers over the past six years, said that what had been a quiet San Francisco tech scene during the pandemic began changing last year in tandem with the A.I. boom. At nightly hackathons and demo days, she watched people meet their co-founders, secure investments, win over customers and network with potential hires.

“I’ve seen people come to an event with an idea they want to test and pitch it to 30 different people in the course of one night,” she said.

Ms. Yip, 42, runs a secret group of 800 people focused on A.I. and robotics called Society of Artificers. Its monthly events have become a hot ticket, often selling out within an hour. “People definitely try to crash,” she said.

Her other speaker series, Founders You Should Know, features leaders of A.I. companies speaking to an audience of mostly engineers looking for their next gig. The last event had more than 2,000 applicants for 120 spots, Ms. Yip said.

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