A U.S. Coast Guard boat passes in front of the San Francisco Skyline on June 20, 2018 in Oakland, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Investors haven't totally lost their infatuation with Silicon Valley as the heart of tech innovation, but skyrocketing costs of living and competition for talent have definitely cooled the affair, according to several speakers at TechCrunch's Disrupt conference on Wednesday.

Why it matters: As technology and engineering jobs have spread into other industries and locations, more startup founders are questioning whether they need to be in Silicon Valley, though many still acknowledge the region's unique strengths.

The Bay Area’s cost of living and intense competition for employees have become unsustainable, said some investors.

  • "I used to believe that if you wanted to build a multi-billion dollar company… you have to be here,” said Benchmark managing partner Sarah Tavel. “I’ve stopped giving that speech — it’s amazing how you have to compete for talent here,” she added, especially with deep-pocketed companies like Facebook and Google.
  • Cowboy Ventures co-founder Aileen Lee and Spark Capital managing partner Megan Quinn said they increasingly have conversations with their portfolio companies about opening offices outside of the Bay Area, especially in cities within a short flight and with a good university, as Quinn added.
  • Yi Wang, co-founder and CEO of Chinese language app LingoChamp and a former employee at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, also pointed out the Bay Area’s rising costs during a separate panel. There’s now a growing number of Chinese engineers who decide to go back to China found startups instead of staying around Silicon Valley, he said.

But, but, but: While finding talented employees and engineers is no longer limited to Silicon Valley, the region remains unique in some ways.

  • “I do still believe that if you want to reach escape velocity, you need people who have been there before,” said Tavel, echoing a common sentiment that experienced startup executives remain scarce and can best be found in Silicon Valley.
  • Wang said he believes the region is still the center of innovation for many important technologies.

Go deeper

Los Angeles and San Diego public schools will be online only this fall

Alhambra Unified School District. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Public schools in Los Angeles and San Diego, the two largest public school districts in California, will not be sending children back to campuses next month and will instead administer online classes only due to concerns over the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The two districts, which together enroll about 825,000 students, are the largest in the country thus far to announce that they will not return to in-person learning in the fall, even as the Trump administration aggressively pushes for schools to do so.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 12,984,811 — Total deaths: 570,375 — Total recoveries — 7,154,492Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 3,327,388— Total deaths: 135,379 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for the foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Politics: Mick Mulvaney: "We still have a testing problem in this country."

Cuomo: New York will use formula to determine if it's safe to reopen schools

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that schools will only reopen if they meet scientific criteria that show the coronavirus is under control in their region, including a daily infection rate of below 5% over a 14-day average. "We're not going to use our children as guinea pigs," he added.

The big picture: Cuomo's insistence that New York will rely on data to decide whether to reopen schools comes as President Trump and his administration continue an aggressive push to get kids back in the classroom as part of their efforts to juice the economy.