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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


July 2013

July 29, 2013

Aerospace is part of a large and thriving Aerospace, Navigation & Maritime Technologies (ANMT) cluster in San Diego. Among the 25 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, San Diego ranks second in the concentration of ANMT employment behind longtime aerospace leader Seattle.

 The cluster accounts for more than 20 percent of San Diego’s innovation economy, more than any other cluster except Information and Communication Technologies. San Diego’s growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector presents a unique opportunity for companies in the Aerospace industry, with cutting-edge applications being developed in San Diego and throughout California. Currently, 60 percent of U.S. technology development in unmanned systems is performed in San Diego County, according to National University System Institute for Policy Research. With the rise in commercial and consumer uses, this industry sector is well positioned to carry the aerospace industry forward and continue to attract top engineering talent to the region.

  Since the aerospace industry shares many components with other industries in the ANMT cluster, it is difficult to break down aerospace companies and employment from the rest of the cluster. Some of the key aerospace-specific components of the cluster include: Search, Detection, Navigation and Guidance; Aeronautical and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing; Aircraft Manufacturing including Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing; and Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing. San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego's standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. For more information about San Diego’s aerospace industry and the full run down on how San Diego is faring compared to other major metropolitan regions, see the July 2013 Economic Snapshot.

 

 

 

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July 15, 2013

 

Gwynne Shotwell just might work for the coolest company on the planet - or as she puts it "In 10 years or so, it might be the coolest company on another planet." Shotwell is talking about SpaceX, the company where she serves as president and COO. Even the most sophisticated in the audience at San Diego Venture Group’s July 12 Venture Summit gasped at the video of SpaceX rockets being tested that blast off and then return to the launch pad. “Grasshopper” is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle that SpaceX designed to enable a rocket to return to earth. The ultimate destination? Mars – which Shotwell described as a “fixer-upper planet.” Her humorous and very informative talk left everyone thinking about the power of dreaming big.

Dave Titus, San Diego Venture Group’s president gave a “Venture Status Update” that included both good news and sobering news. Venture fundraising has dropped over the last five years even though the number of firms has stayed about the same. Active funds are down 20 percent in the last five years and the first half of 2013 looks to be following this trend. The industry is consolidating – the top 20 firms raise 55 percent of all the dollars with an average fund size of $400 million. The remaining firms have an average fund size of $41 million.

One surprising statistic shows that since 2008, venture investing has surpassed venture raised, resulting in deficit spending. Titus cited some reasons that could account for the discrepancy – imprecise data, investment coming from non-traditional funds (family offices, foreign investors, hedge funds) and the rise of corporate venture capital. Corporate venture has increased 50 percent in the last three years but seems to be leveling off. On the local front, Qualcomm Ventures is the second largest technology corporate venture fund in the world, exceeded only by Intel.

According to Titus, financings will be harder – he told the entrepreneurs in the audience to plan for that reality and practice, practice, practice your pitch! As for the good news: exits are up with 21 venture-backed IPOs in the second quarter of 2013 and 11 biotech IPOs.

Citing sectors like enterprise software and hardware, Titus told the 600-plus attendees “Hard things are popular again and San Diego is good at hard things.”

 

 


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July 2, 2013

San Diego Venture Group Cool CompaniesIn 2012, the San Diego region raked in upwards of $1.1 billion in venture funding, beating Texas, Colorado, the DC Metroplex and other locales. At the San Diego Venture Group’s Annual Venture Summit on July 12, participants will be able to interact with more than 120 VCs and 30 “cool” companies.

The Venture Summit is one of the most popular events produced by SDVG and connects numerous top entrepreneurs from the region with many investors from Southern California, the Bay Area and other areas to showcase how the innovation climate thrives in San Diego. The Summit will feature a keynote by Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, as well as other San Diego innovators including Chris Anderson (3D Robotics), Dr. James Mault (Qualcomm Life) and Larry Stambaugh (San Diego Zoo Bioinspiration Centre.)

For the second year in a row, the Venture Summit will include 30 San Diego “Cool Companies.” From social media to software and algae biofuels, companies making this year’s roster include Roambi, Sapphire Energy, and Embarke. They are indicative of the dynamic industries that fuel San Diego’s innovation economy.

Venture Summit is not the only venture-related activity that’s happening in San Diego on July 12. On that day, companies from around the globe will hand in WBT logotheir submissions to present at WBT Innovation Marketplace. Now in its 11th year, WBT Innovation Marketplace brings together the largest collection of vetted and mentored companies and technologies emanating from top universities, labs, research institutions, and the private sector. More than 10 years of research shows that one in three WBT presenters goes on to license, secure venture funding, or sell their IP outright. Last year, the show moved from Arlington, Texas to San Diego, so it could benefit from the region’s world-class talent pool and strong venture capital community.

Companies are invited to apply to present at the Oct. 22 showcase.

With all of the venture activity going on throughout the region, it’s no wonder San Diego has been identified as a high-tech challenger to Silicon Valley.


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