Feb 06, 2019 - Annie Brown
San Diego is rightfully known for its gorgeous beaches and laid back, SoCal lifestyle - but did you know it’s a great place to launch and grow a startup as well. In fact, Inc. Magazine named San Diego as one of the top five best cities for entrepreneurs in 2018. With more entrepreneurs per capita than San Jose or San Francisco, there are many reasons why San Diego is one of the best kept secrets in the startup world.
Led by organizations such as Startup San Diego, the startup community in San Diego is not only made up of high-powered investors, veteran business leaders and passionate entrepreneurs - it’s also very welcoming. Because San Diego startups are eager to grow and develop the entrepreneurial spirit in the city that they love, community members are happy to introduce you to their contacts, provide advice, invite you to events and see you succeed.
Volunteering for Startup San Diego and helping them to organize their annual event is a great way to immerse yourself in the startup scene. Additionally, you can join their very active Slack channel which instantly connects you to all the movers and shakers.
Throughout the year there are large events such as Hera Venture Summit, San Diego Angel Conference, and UCSD Ignite. Additionally, there are weekly meetups and events for every niche group of founders and techies you can imagine from bitcoin to women and tech, meaning you’ll quickly build a support network in San Diego.
One of the best things about San Diego startup life is the great work environments available. Some of the most popular include Hera Hub, Downtown Works, DeskHub and Co-mmunity. Each of these spaces offer gorgeous interiors, a built-in network and full office services for one person or an entire team.
A recent report published by Brex, found that San Diego startups spend significantly less than their peers in other tech-savvy cities. Entrepreneurs who move here find that they get similar tech resources and community to well-known startup cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, but can more easily afford housing and living costs.
Additionally, maybe because of the beautiful beaches and outdoor activities available, San Diego startups are leading the way in remote startup culture - cutting costs even further. This remote culture contributes to the very important work/life balance which is an crucial aspect of San Diego culture, and perhaps one of the best reasons why entrepreneurs from around the world choose San Diego as their headquarters.
In 2018 San Diego startups raised twice as much compared to the previous year, not only breaking records but also leaving other cities in its dust.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports, “Local companies raised $2.5 billion from venture capitalists in 2018, up 94 percent from last year. In 2017, startups raised $1.3 billion. Statewide, venture capital saw an uptick of 50 percent, while the U.S. as a whole saw a year-over-year increase of 30 percent.”
Besides being on investor’s radar as one of the best places to find potential investments, San Diego also has a wide variety of resources and funds to launch your venture properly. For example, Blueprint Equity recently launched with $50 million in cash to invest in software startups. There are many accelerators in San Diego, including Think Tank, EvoNexus, and JLabs. All are well connected to investors worldwide and have renowned advisors available for your benefit.
Annie Brown is CEO and Founder of Lips, an online sharing platform for women and the LGBTQ community.