By Eugene Kim

Business Insider/Eugene Kim

US Route 101 is the highway that connects Silicon Valley with San Francisco.

The highway itself is no different from any other road, but there’s one major difference: weird billboards.

Sure, you’ll find the standard fast food joint or car dealership signs along the way, but most of the billboards are served up by tech companies you’ve probably never heard of.

We recently took a drive up the 101 to see what companies advertise on Silicon Valley’s busiest highway.

Here’s a map of US 101. It’s one of the two highways that link Silicon Valley with San Francisco (I-280 is the other one). The highway runs all the way up to the state of Washington.

There’s usually lots of traffic, so it’s a good place to advertise.

You’ll find some big company billboards, like Apple’s.

And Yahoo’s.

But a lot of them aren’t really household names. NetSuite is a company that makes software for finance people. In case you’re wondering, ERP stands for “enterprise resource planning.”

Xero’s in the same space, but it’s more focused on accounting.

Most people have no clue what these companies do. Twilio has a good tip: just ask your developer.

There were at least 3 Brighterion signs on our short 30 minute drive. Apparently, it makes fraud prevention software.

Never heard of Braintree? It’s the payments technology behind apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Hotel Tonight.

Speaking of Uber, it’s now the most valuable startup in the world, at $66 billion.

Apttus makes software for salespeople. It has nothing to do with cyborgs.

Confused? It basically means MemSQL is a data storage and analytics company. It’s raised over $78 million so far.

Lyft had the strangest sign: a pink-colored van.

UCSF isn’t just any hospital. It’s a hospital named after Salesforce’s billionaire CEO Marc Benioff.

Salesforce, by the way, is the largest tech employer in San Francisco.

Self-driving cars are all the buzz in Silicon Valley, and Udacity had a clever take on the trend. It offers free online courses.

AppLovin was recently acquired for $1.4 billion by a Chinese private equity firm, Orient Hontai Capital.

Z2 is the name of the new product by Zenefits, the once-troubled, $2 billion startup.

Read more about the launch of Zenefits Z2 here.

Nest, the home automation company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, had its own sign too.

CallidusCloud is a public company with a market cap of $1.1 billion. They basically sell sales and marketing people a bunch of tools to close deals faster.

Of all the signs we saw, this was our favorite: Machine learning startup wishing a happy Diwali to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, celebrated this year on October 30.

Here are some great photos of Diwali celebrations.

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Source:: Business By Insider