Mike Krenn: San Diego is creating a smaller, better version of Silicon Valley

Mar 02, 2021 - San Diego: Life. Changing.

When you think of San Diego, you might think of beaches, beer, and burritos.

"What people don’t think of is San Diego’s underbelly — it’s a hub for cutting edge tech and life sciences innovation. The intellectual talent in San Diego is off-the-charts. People here build amazing companies," says Mike Krenn, president and CEO at Connect w/ SDVG.

Here's how San Diego is, in Mike's words, absolutely crushing it:

We're innovating in big ways — and pulling in the funds to prove it

You might know Qualcomm, Illumina, Dexcom, Resmed, and Viasat—all life-changing companies. But there are plenty of up-and-comers that will soon be household names.

Mike says, "It’s kind of entertaining for us. While regions like Austin and Denver get all the press as “tech hubs,” it generally goes unreported that San Diego companies raised more venture capital dollars than those two regions combined in 2020. Yeah, you read that right."

And the financial support? It's not too shabby. "The regional VC investment totals go like this: SF, NY, San Jose, Boston, LA … and then little ol’ laid back San Diego. And it’s quite a gap behind us. San Diego companies raised $5.2 billion in 2020. Next up was Seattle at $3.3 billion," he says.

Coworking space for entrepreneurs | San Diego: Life. Changing.

We're changing lives through life sciences...and more

San Diego plays host to nearly every major life sciences company you can think of — whether specialty sites or headquarters. Pfizer? Check. Thermo Fisher. Of course. BD? Present.

But that's not all. Mike says: "We are a top 3 life sciences region — our companies excel in therapeutics, genomics, diagnostics, devices, and platforms. (A little known factoid — these companies hire thousands of software engineers.) On the tech side, our companies operate across the spectrum: mobile, software, cyber, genomics, cleantech, bluetech, agtech, and even consumer tech. And because tech and life sci continue to converge — it’s worth noting our health tech industry is also booming."

UCSD male female scientist | San Diego: Life. Changing.

We're collaborative and community driven

Collaboration is key in San Diego — it's how tech is developed, how beer is brewed, how cures are made. It's the backbone of communities like Connect, Startup San Diego, We Tha Plug, and San Diego Tech Hub.

"One of the reasons why San Diego has performed so well over the past five years is the community itself. It’s highly collaborative. CEOs know one another and support one another. We gather well. We enjoy random collisions. The supporting infrastructure is helpful," Mike says.

Group of entrepreneurs on stage | San Diego: Life. Changing.

We have our sights set on a global future

And if you're joining us in setting your sights globally, Mike says, "There’s also Mexico. Mexico is AWESOME. San Diego to Ensenada is our mega region, and it is a huge strength that no other tech region has. There is amazing software talent in Tijuana. More and more companies are near-shoring some of their operations. There’s also the Cross Border (CBX) airport. You park on the US side, the walking bridge literally goes right over the fence, and you’re in the airport. It’s amazing. Latin America access right there."

International flags against a blue sky | San Diego: Life. Changing.

Read more in Mike Krenn's full piece: San Diego is creating a smaller, better version of Silicon Valley

Connect helps innovators and entrepreneurs in Southern California by providing access to investors, mentors, and education. Learn more at Connect's website.

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