Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he founded Stanford University, following the death of his son, Leland Stanford Jr. The city includes portions of Stanford University and is headquarters to a number of high-technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Space Systems/Loral, VMware, Tesla, Ford Research and Innovation Center, PARC, IDEO, Skype, Palantir Technologies, Houzz, and Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center. Palo Alto has also served as an incubator and as headquarters to several other prominent high-technology companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Logitech, Intuit, Pinterest, and PayPal.
Palo Alto shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park. It is named after a coast redwood tree called El Palo Alto.