Innovation at work: 5 AAPI-owned companies to know in San Diego

May 20, 2021 - Heather Dewis

Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) owned businesses collectively employ 50,000 in San Diego and generate more than $4 billion in sales each year. From diagnostics to life sciences, animal health to engineering, here are five AAPI-owned and led businesses in San Diego you should know:

Menon Renewable Products/Menon Biosensors

Founded by Dr. Suresh Menon, Escondido-based companies Menon Renewable Products and Menon Biosensors aim to improve both animal and human health. As president of both, Dr. Menon works through Menon Renewable Products to make MrFeed, a sustainable, healthy animal feed. And in partnership with UC San Diego, Dr. Menon develops rapid COVID-19 tests through Menon Biosensors.

Mesa Biotech

Co-founded by Dr. Hong Cai in 2009, a former principal investigator at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mesa Biotech is known for its point-of-care molecular diagnostics that enabled decentralized testing at central laboratory standards. When COVID-19 hit, the company transitioned to develop COVID-19 tests – ultimately receiving FDA Emergency Use Authorization for its 30 minute Accula COVID-19 test. Recently acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Mesa’s rapid testing technology has since been used to clear NFL players for safe gameplay.


Founded by Ha TranKearny Mesa‘s Micro Q provides innovative manufacturing solutions to optimize the performance of electronic systems. With more than 75 years of combined experience in the microelectronics industry specializing in manufacturing and assembly, Micro Q supports its customers from the developmental prototype stages to production.


Led by President Tri Le, Rancho Bernardo-based Microtek bridges engineering with life sciences. In addition to partnering with clients on R&D, prototyping, and manufacturing microelectronic technologies that integrate engineering with chemistry and biology, the company is developing its own devices to help with life sciences research. Recently, the San Diego Business Journal named Microtek San Diego’s Most Innovative Asian Pacific Islander Business.


Founded in 2016 by Dr. Yi Chao, Vista-based Seatrec uses technology originated from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology to provide clean power for remote off-grid locations. The company helps its heavyweight customers, which include the likes of NASA, Caltech, DARPA, and NOAA, by using its energy harvesting technologies to power underwater technology and sensors to support ocean research, commercial efforts, and more.

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