San Diego: SoCal’s Unique Tech And Startup Ecosystem
San Diego has long been a hub of innovation. It is the most patent dense region in the United States, and science and tech are thriving here. Qualcomm makes the mobile web possible, and once tiny startup GoFundMe has helped people raise $3 billion since it started in 2010. There’s creativity here and there’s also drive to succeed. The startup community is thriving, and it’s just a matter of time before we become not the next Silicon Valley, but the first San Diego.
“San Diego is a collaborative community and if someone personally can’t help they know someone who can and are more than willing to make an introduction. There’s a lot of collaboration in the startup space,” says Amanda Nelson, Digital Marketing Specialist at San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “[There are] over a dozen coworking spaces including WeWork and their 6 floor building. They regularly host events and encourage members to do the same.”
In just five years, San Diego Startup Week has grown from a small conference with just a few hundred attendees and half a dozen events to a massive 5000 attendee conference with more than 150 events. Entrepreneurs pitched ideas in fields ranging from clean tech to robotics to business collaborations between the U.S. and Mexico. The startup currents are strong here and there’s plenty of room to grow.
BioTech here is amazingly profitable not only to San Diego but to the entire United States. According to Hatch:
- San Diego hold the most genomics patents in the United States
- San Diego’s 115+ genomics firms add $5.6 billion to the economy
- 22% of all genomics VC funds are invested in San Diego
“I've been keeping my finger on the pulse of the startup scene in San Diego for a little over 3 years now. In the beginning, I noticed a significant amount of startups and talent being "brain-sucked" up to San Francisco. Be it for funding or better job opportunities, when someone got “good” down in San Diego, they typically ended up finding a bigger opportunity in San Francisco,” says Vulpine Interactive CEO Derric Haynie. “Over the last 12 months, I've started to see the tide turn. For as many companies that are being “brain-sucked” to San Francisco, I also see early stage and funded companies, and talent, coming out of San Francisco to escape the pressure and cost of living.”
Indeed there is a much lower cost of living in San Diego as well as a more laid-back lifestyle. This makes San Diego a great place to start a business while enjoying the benefits of being located in California.
“San Diego will never be “the next Silicon Valley.” It will be different, it's own thing,” continues Haynie. “The San Diego vibe comes from enjoying life, finding balance, and yet being talented and driven to succeed. The city is literally surrounded by great schools and has access to Qualcomm and other massive companies for acquisition. Overall, it's a thriving and growing ecosystem for tech and startup life. It's small in comparison to Silicon Valley, but that opens up opportunities for those creative enough to take advantage.”
How are you leveraging San Diego’s unique startup ecosystem?
Joy Bender is the co-founder/owner of Aumann Bender & Associates real estate group with Pacific Sotheby's International Realty. She has a passion for digital marketing, the serps, and helping clients discover San Diego. Follow her on Facebook for luxury lifestyle and more real estate tips.