First there was Silicon Valley. Then there was Massachusetts's Route 128 -- and North Carolina's Research Triangle. Now there's a new hot spot for high-tech start-ups: Multimedia Gulch. That rather unlikely name refers to a 10-to-12-block area in San Francisco where, by one estimate, as many as 60 young companies are working on multimedia computer applications. John Scull of two-year-old PF Magic argues that San Francisco is a natural for the fledgling multimedia industry, which uses sound and video to create a new type of interactive computer product. As Scull notes, the city combines a large "technically literate creative community" with the technical expertise -- and venture capital -- of nearby Silicon Valley. And the old warehouse district that has become Multimedia Gulch offers good support services and like-minded neighbors. "Some of the best meetings are when you're brainstorming over a cappuccino," says Scull.

-- Martha E. Mangelsdorf

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