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Ron Conway, Mayor Lee And Heather Harde Launch sfCITI, Want To Keep SF At The Forefront Of Tech

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Anthony Ha Joins TechCrunch

At a press conference at San Francisco’s Founders Den, newly elected Mayor Ed Lee announced sfCITI (San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation), a set of tech initiatives spearheaded by investor Ron Conway, Mayor Ed Lee and TechCrunch’s beloved Heather Harde and contributed to by a series of tech industry partners, including TechCrunch.

Harde will be taking on the (voluntary) role of Vice Chairman of sfCITI and newly hired SF Chief Innovation officer Jay Nath will serve as a liaison between tech companies, the committee and the SF city government. Alongside its mission of tech community support, sfCITI will be working with Code for America to build a civic-minded startup accelerator, funded by Google and the Kaufman foundation.

So why all the love San Francisco? One word, jobs. Okay, also, money.

“Last year with our Mid-Market payroll tax and stock option exemptions, as well as during my campaign and our administration’s priorities, we have worked hard to attract and recruit high-tech companies and jobs to San Francisco,” said Lee in a statement, understating the tens of thousands of jobs the tech boom will inevitably bring to whichever cities choose to embrace it, “Technology companies are key to our city’s economic future and a critical part of making San Francisco the innovation capital of the world.”

Conway told me earlier today that while sfCITI hopes to serve as civic leader in all things tech (including issues like payroll taxes and zoning laws), the committee’s main priority right now is hiring. Towards this goal, sfCITI wants to both place and train competent programmers in addition to further utilizing and streamlining the HireSF website, allowing partner companies who want to hire to easily find people looking for jobs.

According to sfCITI’s stats, San Francisco currently houses over 1,500 tech companies and the industry employs more than 30,000 people.  That’s a formidable chunk of the workforce in a city with an 800K population.

Perhaps this explains why throughout his campaign and even when he served as interim mayor, Lee has always been unabashedly pro-tech sector, “Job training and placement initiatives, helping bring innovation into government and of course, job-friendly policies like payroll tax reform and building more housing, this is an agenda I support,” Lee said.

sfCITI is the most recent spark of mayoral love for the technology industry, on par with Bloomberg pledging to learn to code and Gilbert Wong letting Steve Jobs park a spaceship in Cupertino’s backyard.

sf.citi partner companies include:

6waves, Lolapps, Academy of Art University, Adku, AdRoll, Airbnb, Airtine, Beautylish, Benchmark, Bebo, Boku Blissmo, Branchout.com, Chomp, Climate, Corp Code For America, Daily Booth, Dropbox, Eventbrite, Federated Media Publishing, Inc., Fliptop, Founder’s Den, Foursquare, Getaround, Github, Google, Greplin, Headsets.com, Inc., Hipmunk, Jawbone, Justin.tv/Twitch.tv, Kiip, KISSmetrics, Marin Software, Milk, MonkeyInferno.com, MoPub, Oracle, Pac 12 Enterprises, Pago, Path.com, Pontiflex, Portal-A, Posterous, Inc., Ready for Zero, Relevvant, Rentcycle, Retargeter, Riverbed, Salesforce, ShareThrough, Snapfish, Soundcloud, Spool, Square, Sugar Media, Tagged, TechCrunch, Thumbtack, Trigger.io, Trulia, TurnHere, Inc., Twitter, Udemy, Weebly, Wide Orbit, Xobni, Zecco Zendesk, and Zynga.