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Big Picture San Diego Blog

April 21, 2014

When MIT set out to the name the world’s smartest company in February, they didn’t look to count the number of patents or PHds or even stock gains; instead, they asked themselves whether a company had made strides which have helped redefine its field. The answer was not a company located in Silicon Valley or Seoul or London. The answer was – and still is – right here in San Diego. That company is Illumina.

Founded in 1998, Illumina has not only helped build the genomics field, but also has redefined it. In a time when medicine and medical research are becoming increasingly expensive, Illumina has made personalized medicine more attainable. They have made it feasible to sequence genomes for under $1,000 a patient.

Last week, more than 15 EDC stakeholders got to experience this innovation first hand when they toured Illumina’s UTC headquarters. With its wide array of platforms, Illumina is sought out by researchers and healthcare professionals as well as ancestry companies, such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me to provide valuable genetic information. Each day, Illumina and its 3,000 global employees- 1,500 in San Diego - work to improve lives around the world by unlocking the power of the genome.

On the tour of Illumina’s campus, guides walked participants through R&D space, on-site manufacturing facilities and a suite of amenities available to Illumina’s employees, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, coffee shops, an amphitheater and the cafeteria, which employees admit is the most effective and efficient meeting space on campus. Collaboration is at Illumina’s core and all of these spaces provide opportunities for employees to exchange information and generate new ideas, developing the next ideas that will fuel Illumina’s growth as a global brand.

As MIT notes when talking about their rankings, “It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it.” Thanks in part to Illumina, San Diego is showing the rest of the world what smart really means.


April 15, 2014

Jacobs School Research EXPO UCSD

Capital can be a pain point for many entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, many San Diego companies have found funding. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report, San Diego companies were involved in 23 venture capital deals and received more than $145 million in funding in Q4 of 2013. However, for a variety of reasons, overall venture capital invested in San Diego still took a dip between 2012 and 2013.

A group of alumni of the University of California, San Diego may help change that. They have created a venture capital fund—the Triton Technology Fund—that is specifically focused on commercializing innovations by UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni. (Read the Xconomy story here.)

The Triton Technology Fund will invest in companies affiliated with UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni with innovations in the software, communications, electronics, materials, medical devices and instruments sectors. The goal is to leverage breakthroughs in these areas to provide solutions for business-to-business enterprises.

“Commercializing university research requires external expertise and investment. The Triton Technology Fund is going to accelerate the success of our innovators by injecting crucial resources into our entrepreneurism and commercialization initiatives here at the Jacobs School of Engineering and across all of UC San Diego and its alumni networks,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in a statement announcing the fund.

The university is a breeding ground for ideas and innovation. To date, UC San Diego faculty and alumni have been credited with forming more than 500 startup companies. Some of these innovations can be seen in action this Thursday when the Jacobs School of Engineering hosts its annual Research Expo event. UC San Diego engineering graduate students will present their latest research at the 200-strong poster session at Research Expo on Thursday April 17 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on the UC San Diego campus. (You can scan poster titles or search by industry application area online.)

The Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo, now in its 33rd year, also includes ten-minute faculty tech talks covering regenerative medicine, big data, video processing for medical applications, robotics education, wearable sensors, and aerospace safety. Registration is available onsite.

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April 11, 2014
Every quarter, 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. This issue covers data from the October 2013 to January 2014 quarter. 
 
In this issue, EDC presents updates on trends in employment, real estate and venture capital, with a special spotlight on the cybersecurity industry in San Diego. The spotlight revealed details of a recent San Diego industry study on the subject, including employment trends and company reactions. 
 
Industry Highlights
 
  • San Diego County’s January 2014 unemployment rate was down 1.6 percentage points from January 2013. 
  • The San Diego region added 25,900 jobs from January 2013 to January 2014. 
  • San Diego had the third lowest foreclosure rate among recorded major U.S. metropolitan areas in January 2014. 
  • Led by the manufacturing industry, industrial tenants absorbed 2.3 million square feet in 2013. 
  • San Diego firms were involved in 23 venture capital deals in Q4 2013 and received more than $145 million in venture capital funding. 
 
Download the complete snapshot
 
 
Brought to you by: Chase Logo
 

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April 10, 2014

Brookings Panel in Seattle

 

San Diego is one of only six cities selected to participate in a new pilot program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the renowned Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

San Diego joined Columbus, Minneapolis, Portland, San Antonio and Seattle in Seattle today to participate in the first working session, where leadership will collaborate with other regions to address the region’s foreign direct investment plan. San Diego’s team is made up of representatives from the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, JPMorgan Chase, Biocom, Qualcomm, GO-Biz and San Diego Regional EDC.

Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. As the world’s largest economy with a stable investment environment, the United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment and San Diego is looking to ensure it pulls in a significant portion of this FDI.

In San Diego, many small and medium-sized enterprises have pushed their attention towards the issue of capital. As venture capitalists around the U.S. become more selective about companies they invest in, we must look for alternative solutions. FDI is one answer. Although FDI sounds like an elusive term, this means more capital flow to the region as well as more international attention paid to San Diego which has a strong economic payoff.   

Sean Barr, vice president of economic development at EDC, sat on panel today moderated by Amy Liu, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which discussed establishing a region’s global identity. According to Brookings, “the most globally fluent metro areas demonstrate a combination of an appealing identity, high standards and reputation, and global relevance in specific markets.”

San Diego has many strengths, and one of our admitted struggles is that it’s difficult to form a distinct global identity when we have so many industries of which to be proud. We are home to a thriving biotech sector where companies like Illumina - dubbed the “World’s Smartest Company” - are based. We have a strong defense sector that is second to none. From our telecom industry to our sports innovation and algae biofuels cluster, the region is an innovation hub. One thing that Sean stressed during the panel is that although San Diego loves its sun, we need to be comfortable shedding our strict tourism message and moving beyond “sun and Shamu.” Working with the Brookings Institute to increase San Diego’s share of FDI is one way to do this.

As part of the pilot, San Diego will develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, added to the region’s existing export plan, forms the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region's global economic connections and competitiveness.

San Diego is the only city in California selected for this pilot program and is one of only two cities in the program for which Brookings will be developing and publishing the complete FDI plan.

Here’s what some people are saying about the announcement:

  • City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “San Diego’s strong ties to international markets, high-growth industries and culture of innovation mean we have the necessary ingredients to attract foreign direct investment to the region. I am honored Brookings selected San Diego for this pilot program and I look forward to working with the core team  to show that San Diego is open for business.”
     
  • Councilman Mark Kersey, fifth district, City of San Diego said: “San Diego is becoming start-up central and small-medium enterprises will benefit from a regional strategy for attracting foreign direct investment. I’d like to see more companies born global, attracting international investment and competing in worldwide markets.”
     
  • William Bold, senior vice president of government affairs of Qualcomm said:  “The highly educated work force, technology clusters, and location of San Diego already make it a thriving hub of the globalized economy. The Global Cities Initiative will only strengthen San Diego’s attractiveness to foreign investors looking for a solid innovation and high-technology track record. We’re delighted to help with an effort to share with the rest of the world the trade, talent and financial potential to be found here.”
     
  • Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking in San Diego said: “We’re delighted that  San Diego will be a part of this new pilot – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that will ensure our community’s long-term economic success. We have a history of helping businesses connect to global markets and the Global Cities Initiative’s foreign direct investment work brings another level of depth to our region’s efforts to further create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.”
     
  • Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment said: “For this pilot, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy. The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”
     
  •  Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom said: “The region’s global mindset is apparent when you look at the thriving life sciences industry. Companies have long looked to San Diego for its world-class talent pool and abundant research opportunities. San Diego’s new collaboration with Brookings not only means that the region has opportunities to create more jobs, but also that we will be looked at as a role model for other areas looking to embrace the global economy.”

 

 

April 8, 2014
 
San Diego is not Silicon Valley...and that's a good thing. Yes, the weather here is nicer, but that's not the only reason people come here. They come for access to resources, lower cost of living compared to other startup hubs, and of course, talent. Like many other tech founders, Stephan Goss, CEO of Zeeto Media and Jeff Brice, CEO of TrustEgg believe this so much, that they decided to locate their companies here. 
 
There is always room for improvement, but as San Diego's startup community continues to grow, so does the momentum we see to better the region. Take a look at the piece they wrote below for The Daily Transcript.
 
 

Why we chose San Diego over Silicon Valley (appeared in The Daily Transcript on April 7) by StephanGoss and Jeff Brice
It is conventional wisdom that if you want to launch a startup, Silicon Valley is the place to be. The funding, talent and resources are available in spades there. So people have flocked there hoping to become the next Facebook or Google, and some have succeeded.
 
We made a different choice. For us, San Diego was a smarter choice to launch our two businesses, Zeeto Media, an online media company, and TrustEgg, a simple venue to start online trust accounts for kids. The weather was certainly a seductive draw. It’s hard to ignore the climate and laid-back lifestyle of this Southern California city, but that is not why we are here. 
 
Read more in the Daily Transcript....

#GoSanDiego

 

March 28, 2014

Patents, as legal records of novel and useful ideas, help drive regional innovation and economic growth. With strong biotech and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors, San Diego is a patent producing hub; according to the Brookings Institution, the region currently produces 2.3 patents per 1,000 jobs. Current legislation being proposed in Washington will make it more difficult for San Diego to innovate.

Mark Cafferty and Greg McKee of CONNECT penned a piece in the U-T discussing how the proposed legislation could harm our economy.


Patent legislation could hurt San Diego economy (appeared in the U-T on March 28)
 
It is easy for San Diegans to forget that what happens in Washington can affect our lives some 3,000 miles away. But the San Diego economy, so strongly reliant on innovation across a spectrum of industries, could be severely harmed by Congress’ latest attempt at patent reform.
 
Patents may seem to be a complex and obscure issue, but as legal documentation of intellectual property (IP) — just like the deed to a plot of land — they help drive regional innovation and job creation. According to the Brookings Institution, from 2007-2011, the San Diego region was granted an average of 3,165 patents a year, making us the eighth-highest patent producing region in the U.S.
 
Our innovative climate is the single largest factor that attracts and sustains our most important economic drivers — the businesses and individuals that operate successfully here. For example, San Diego-based Illumina recently developed the first low-cost genome machine, which could change health care significantly. UC San Diego — ranked the 20th best university in the world — is not only essential to training many that will go on to file patents at San Diego’s companies, but also has a growing portfolio of over 2,600 active innovations and more than 1,600 patents that translate into new startups and innovations. Please read the complete piece in the U-T....

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March 26, 2014

The California Competes Tax Credit, an economic incentive that is part of the Governor's Economic Development Initiative, is now accepting applications for its first round through Monday, April 14, 2014.

California Competes is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. Tax credit agreements will be negotiated by GO-Biz and approved by a newly created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee,” consisting of the State Treasurer, the Director of the Department of Finance, the Director of GO-Biz, one appointee from the Senate, and one appointee from the Assembly.

California Competes  will be allocating $30 million for fiscal year 2013/2014 and it will increase next fiscal year to $150 million, and then finally $200 million for 2015/2016 through 2017/2018. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the CCTC 

Related post: $30 million up for grabs

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March 20, 2014

Projected employment growth for Cyber industry

A report released today found that international criminal enterprises are increasingly focusing on California because of its wealth and innovation.

While this information can be off-putting at first, it’s good thing that San Diego is doing something about it. And it’s happening right now.

This morning, in an unprecedented show of collaboration, the San Diego business community came together to grow the region’s cyber footprint. Released today, “Cybersecurity in San Diego: an economic impact and industry assessment” found that the cyber industry impacts more than 13,000 jobs and has a total economic impact of $1.5 billion, which is more than the impact of hosting three Super Bowls every year. San Diego, with its culture of innovation and military footprint, is in a position to lead the industry nationally.

Cyber can be San Diego's next big jobs generator,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. "Like biotech was 30 years ago, cyber has the potential to be a driving force for growth in both our innovation and military economies."

City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Representatives Scott Peters (D- 52) and Susan Davis (D–53) joined us for the release. City of San Diego Councilmember Mark Kersey (D -5) and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner (D -1) also were in attendance at both an industry event and press conference at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Mayor Faulconer addresses crowd at CCOE launch

“San Diego’s robust culture of innovation and strong ties to America’s military forces uniquely positions our City to lead the cybersecurity industry,” said City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “I look forward to working with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and all of San Diego’s entrepreneurs and tech leaders to make sure that San Diego is a global pioneer in cybersecurity.”

Cybersecurity firms are expected to experience rapid employment growth. While the entire San Diego County employment base is expected to grow 2.2 percent from 2013-2014, cybersecurity firms are expected to grow by 13 percent. Overall, cybersecurity-centric jobs, such as software developers and information security analysts, are expected to grow by 25 percent.

"If we care about creating jobs and growing our economy, than we need to support the cybersecurity industry," said Congressman Scott Peters (D). "I have supported specific cyber legislation in the past and remain committed to working together to advocate for an industry that not only protects San Diego's jobs, but also safeguards American companies."

CCOE Logo

In an effort to accelerate this job growth strategy, the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) – a partnership dedicated to accelerating the cyber innovation economy – has formed.  Its powerfully diverse platform of leading cyber-related companies, military leaders and world-class academic partners are uniting in pursuit of a common economic-driven agenda to promote the region’s cyber strengths. Currently, the CCOE is comprised of an executive committee and is overseen by Holly Smithson of Sentek.

Nationally, cybersecurity has emerged as a priority as global retailers, medical providers, and critical infrastructure fall prey to significant data breaches and cyber theft. Cyber has evolved to become more than just an issue of the government, and now is a potential threat to all businesses and individuals.  In San Diego, more than 100 core cyber firms create a strong opportunity for the region to lead.

“We’re extremely excited about the launch of the CCOE and the opportunity for San Diego to capitalize on the national leadership of our cyber security sector,” said Andrew Lee CEO, ESET North America. “From supporting more cyber infrastructure growth, to attracting and developing IT talent, ESET is proud to contribute our resources and 25 years of experience in the cyber security space to this unique partnership of community and business leaders.”

On the heels of another round of sequestration, the cyber industry has even greater significance in both the national and local dialogue. Cybersecurity is one of two areas where the Department of Defense is adding resources. Locally, the cybersecurity industry is anchored by the U.S. Navy Space & Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). SPAWAR alone impacts more than 6,100 jobs in San Diego and generates more than $705 million in total economic impact locally. U-T’s editorial board penned a great op-ed on the importance of SPAWAR to advancing San Diego’s cybersecurity cluster.

“SPAWAR's ability to accomplish our mission is strengthened by our public-private partnerships in this community.  These partnerships range from cooperative research initiatives with local industry or universities, to the more traditional contractual relationships for development, procurement and sustainment of advanced capabilities,” said Rear Admiral Patrick Brady, SPAWAR commander. “We rely heavily on the expertise of local businesses to build the tools our Fleet needs. In fiscal year 2013 alone, SPAWAR obligated more than $1 billion on contracts for worked performed in San Diego County.”

SPAWAR is central source of innovation for cybersecurity.  More than 90 percent of SPAWAR’s $7.3B budget is put on contract with private industry.

As a private-sector company, the military and government are important customers and are vital to our decision to be headquartered here, ” said Eric Basu, president and CEO of Sentek. “Sentek is proud to be in San Diego and we’re proud to be working with the CCOE to push the cyber cluster forward.”

As the study suggests, The Cyber Center of Excellence will be partnering with San Diego’s prestigious universities to attract and train entry- to mid-level cybersecurity workers.  As part of this commitment, EDC will continue its “iTrends @ UCSD” series, which will focus on cybersecurity. Open to individuals across all majors and schools, the program works to educate students about industries with growth opportunities throughout the San Diego region.

“UC San Diego has always worked hand-in-hand with the community to refine our curriculum and prepare our top-notch graduates for in-demand jobs,” said Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego. “Our graduates go on to hold positions in some of the most competitive companies around the globe. As home to the San Diego Supercomputer Center, we will continue to produce the talent to ensure San Diego remains a cyber center of excellence.”

Tom Clancy, Chair of Software San Diego said: “San Diego is very compelling to cybersecurity companies due to its incredible technical talent pool, and the close collaboration between industry and academia. We have an abundance of individuals with security clearances, universities with cutting-edge research and workforce training programs, and direct access to customers in healthcare, defense, mobile, finance and energy.

Bank of America

The study was underwritten by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Sentek Global.  National University System Institute for Policy Research – under the leadership of president Erik Bruvold – authored the study.

For a complete copy of the executive summary and full study, please visit http://www.sandiegobusiness.org/research/lvltw  and look under the report section.

Below, Chad Nelley of ESET on KPBS’ Midday Edition

 

Media coverage so far:

 

March 18, 2014

Linden Blue

Linden Blue, vice chairman of General Atomics and current chairman and CEO of Spectrum Aeronautical, was honored by the Tesla Foundation this past Saturday with the Nikola Tesla Award for Innovation.

Linden Blue is one of the masters of modern energy and aviation and San Diego is honored to have such an innovative leader in its region. The event program reads, “Linden Blue has always been very interested in technology. That interest has led him from innovating Learjet product improvements while working at Gates Learjet, to overseeing the development of the Lear Fan and the Beech Starship, and, more recently, to develop unmanned aerial vehicles and nuclear reactors.”

The Tesla Foundation’s mission is to create, promote, and protect American jobs and businesses through innovation and commercialization. 

Here’s to you Linden, for your incredible contributions to the aeronautics and energy sectors and for pioneering San Diego’s game-changing innovative culture.

The thing that’s always turned me on in aviation is the innovation part of it. If you could dramatically improve the technology, that interested me. That’s what I want to do.” – Linden Blue

March 13, 2014

It’s EDC’s job to be a booster of all-things San Diego. Through our work, we get the opportunity to meet budding entrepreneurs and small businesses owners.  They differ in the types of enterprises they run and in the people they hire, but they all say one thing: San Diego is a great place to launch a startup or small business.  We know that San Diego has many ingredients for entrepreneurs to be successful -- from a top tier talent pool to diverse neighborhoods which help attract the right people -- but we haven’t had a definitive ranking that said it all. Now we do: Today, Forbes ranked San Diego “The Best Place to Launch a Startup in 2014.”

San Diego is the best place to launch a startup in 2014. We’ll give that a moment to sink in.

One of the criteria used to rank location is based on social media use of small businesses in the selected city. As the article writes, “It turns out that Internet-savvy businesses are likely to grow faster than those that don’t…. Web presence indicates adaptability and likelihood to innovate—creating a network effect for communities dedicated to growth and positive change.” There’s no doubt that San Diego has its share of social media-savvy entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Recognizing this, EDC has recently brought together a group of these “Digital Ambassadors” to help carry positive messages about the region to the rest of the world. We’re constantly amazed about the powerful things we learn about San Diego through social media every day.  Just yesterday, we learned that Google Analytics got its start in San Diego as Urchin.

Here’s a little more about what Forbes had to say about the region:

"Small enterprises ranked in the top five on nearly every category to lift San Diego into the top slot. There is heavy concentration in projected high growth industries, as well as a high likelihood of accepting credit cards and adopting social media. San Diego is home to the fifth-best rated business community in the country. “

Although we have often been known to criticize the methodology of “rankings,” we need to celebrate where we can. And today, we celebrate!  San Diego Is, in fact, the best place to launch a startup in 2014.

Now, let’s continue to use our award-winning social media skills to get the word out.


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