What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the largest companies in Silicon Valley? There's probably a good chance that some of the world's most popular tech, computer, and digital giants pop up, like Apple, Alphabet, and Meta, formerly Facebook, are the first that come to mind. But did you know that there are a host of other successful public companies within Silicon Valley that aren't part of the technology sector?
If you do, you can count Wells Fargo, Visa, and Chevron as major multinational corporations that are all headquartered in the Valley. And they aren't part of the Big Tech world. Let's look at the big six companies of Silicon Valley, incorporating three public tech companies and three that aren't. All data is current as of Feb. 5, 2022.
- Silicon Valley is generally known to be a technology hub because of the large concentration of tech companies.
- The area is also home to all sorts of corporate giants, including financial services and big energy.
- The six largest Silicon Valley firms consist of three tech firms—Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Meta (formerly Facebook)
- Visa, Wells Fargo, and Chevron are three of the largest non-tech companies in the region.
- Apple is the proverbial king with the largest market cap of them all.
What is Silicon Valley?
Apple (AAPL) is one of the most successful companies on the planet and makes its headquarters in Cupertino, Santa Clara County, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. The company has a market capitalization of $2.81 trillion and was the first American company whose market cap reached $1 trillion in August 2018. Its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 28.7.
Apple designs, manufactures, and sells mobile devices, personal computers, and digital music players. It also sells related software, services, networking solutions, and digital content and applications.
The company's main products include the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers—along with the operating system software and application software to run them. It became a player in the financial services field after launching the Apple Card in 2019. And in 2021, the company introduced the fifth generation of its entertainment streaming services Apple TV+.
Alphabet (GOOGL) is the holding company of Google, the world's most widely used internet search engine. It is headquartered in Mountain View, in Santa Clara County. It has a market cap of $1.83 trillion, giving the company a P/E ratio of 25.5.
Since its inception, the company reached success on a massive scale and has business units that go beyond its search engine capabilities. It now offers a range of products and services across multiple screens and device types, from browsers like Chrome to phones like Android to the G Suite of cloud-based word-processing apps.
The company's biggest moneymaker is its offering of brand advertising and performance advertising. Google offers a self-serve platform for advertisers, agencies, and publishers, allowing them to power their digital marketing across desktop display, mobile, and video.
The name for Silicon Valley was first used in the 1970s. It was named after the silicon transistor, which is used in the manufacturing of all microprocessors.
Meta (META) is arguably the world's original social networking company and certainly one of the most successful. Based in Menlo Park, in San Mateo County (often known as the geographic center of the Valley), the company has a market cap of $645.4 billion and a P/E ratio of 17.2.
Facebook was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg as a college social networking website, but it has since expanded to allow any person above the age of 13 to create a social profile. The company boasts billions of users, connecting them through posts, messages, status updates, photo and video sharing, and notification updates.
The company's massive scale allows it to offer highly targeted advertising, resulting in billions of dollars in annual revenue and, of late, some controversy.
4. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo (WFC) breaks the Silicon Valley mold in a couple of ways. For one thing, it wasn't born around the turn of the 21st century or even the 20th century. For another, its field isn't a technology company but a financial services firm.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo was founded in 1852—two years after California became a state. After a series of mergers with other regional banks on both coasts, it is now the third-largest bank in the United States in terms of assets. It is one of the largest U.S. banks by market cap, currently $218.9 billion. Its P/E ratio is 11.08.
Wells Fargo is technically a holding company that consists of four banking and financial services subsidiaries: consumer banking and lending, commercial banking, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management.
Although plagued by a series of consumer abuse scandals throughout the 2010s, resulting in billions in penalties, the financial institution still clocked $72 billion in revenues on its 2020 annual income statement.
The combined net worth of Silicon Valley's billionaires.
Known for its ubiquitous credit cards, Visa (V) is another multinational financial services company based in Silicon Valley. Its headquarters are in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its market cap is $478.7 billion, and its current P/E ratio is 39.24.
Contrary to what most people think, Visa doesn't issue cards or extend lines of credit. Instead, it provides banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions with products (i.e., credit or debit cards) that they can offer to their customers. Technically speaking, it's a retail electronic payment network specializing in facilitating funds transfers through its credit card and debit card services.
Chevron (CVX) is a bit of an outlier in our group, both figuratively (it's the only energy company) and literally, where its headquarters are in San Ramon, in Contra Costa County (a bit north of the Valley proper). The company has a market cap of $261.9 billion and a current P/E ratio of 16.5.
Like Wells Fargo, Chevron's roots trace back to the 19th century. Incorporated in 1906, it has grown from a small oil refiner into a multinational energy giant. Also, like Wells Fargo, Chevron is technically a holding company made up of upstream and downstream segments.
Upstream deals with crude oil and natural gas exploration and production. On the other hand, downstream involves the refining of crude oil into petroleum products and the subsequent marketing of them. These segments combine to give Chevron control of the entire supply chain of energy.
What Is the Biggest Company in Silicon Valley?
Apple is the largest company in Silicon Valley. The corporation has a market capitalization of almost $3 trillion and was the first American company whose market cap hit $1 trillion in August 2018.
What Is the Largest Industry in Silicon Valley?
Electronics and big tech is the largest industry in Silicon Valley. But it is also home to some other types of businesses, including big energy and financial services.
What Is Silicon Valley Known for?
Silicon Valley is known as being a hub for technology. Some of the most popular tech companies got their start there and still call it home. This includes companies like Meta, Apple, and Alphabet. The area is also home to some of the world's richest people, most notably tech billionaires.
Where Is Silicon Valley Located?
Silicon Valley is located in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Palo Alto, which is where Stanford University is located, is generally considered the area's intellectual hub.