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Investor Spotlight

January 13, 2015

Citizens Business Bank Logo

In early 2014, Citizens Business Bank – a financial services company based in the Inland Empire – made the decision to open up shop in San Diego. Bringing its focus on community-centric banking to the region, they set out to tap into San Diego’s strong manufacturing and real estate firms. In less than a year of operations in the San Diego market, they have already had much success. 
 
A newcomer to EDC’s investor list, we sat down with Paul Rodeno, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager of Citizens Business Bank in San Diego, to learn about this bank’s regional growth plan.

 

1) Tell us about Citizens Business Bank
Citizens Business Bank is a financial services company with a bank at its core. Our roots in community banking lend us a unique capability to provide large bank products and solutions with the hands-on touch and personal attention of a local community bank. We provide business banking solutions across government and nonprofit organizations, as well as industrial, title & escrow, dairy & livestock, medical, property management, and real estate industries, among many others.  For over 40 years, Citizens Business Bank has thoughtfully emphasized and represented what is great and essential about community banking: a focused approach on the customer, and the many ways the bank can help them achieve more for their business, their employees, and the customers and communities they serve. 
 
2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego? 
Why Citizens Business Bank Chose SanDiegoThe San Diego market is made up of many successful small to medium-sized businesses, our target customer base. There are a great number of these successful businesses that are looking for a valued financial partner to help them thrive, which is why we knew San Diego was a good market for our recent expansion.
 
We aim to work with the best privately-held and/or family-owned businesses throughout California, and will maintain our focus across industrial, manufacturing, medical, property management, title & escrow, nonprofit, and agriculture businesses. All of these industries are well-represented across the region’s dynamic economy.
 
3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
It’s impossible to pick one company, so here are a few: Qualcomm, with a great local and international presence, is an iconic brand. Add other innovators, such as ViaSat, Stone Brewing Co., who is leading the craft brewing boom, and action sports firms such as Nixon, SKLZ, and prAna.  San Diego State University, my alma mater, has a tremendous entrepreneurship focus; and the University of San Diego, where I sit on the board of the School of Business, has great rankings, which contribute to the growth of ideas while educating future leaders. As a great local non-profit, California Southern Small Business Development Corporation is a community development lender providing over 600 loans totaling $56,000,000 in the past five years.
 
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? 
Citizens Business Bank will be the premier business and community bank in the State of California with a focus on continued growth, enhanced lending initiatives, acquisitions, and our valued relationships with our customers.

January 6, 2015

211 San Diego logo

We kick off our first investor spotlight of 2015 with an interview with John Ohanian, CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego, to learn more about how this valuable organization connects with the business community and makes San Diego a better place to live.
 
Tell us about 2-1-1 San Diego.
Most San Diegans know when there is a disaster, like a wildfire, they can dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live person 24/7 to get the most up-to-date information on evacuations, road closures and shelter information.
What most people may not know is they can turn to 2-1-1 any time to connect to more than 6,000 community and health services, including affordable health insurance to food or financial assistance, housing resources, substance abuse treatment, care for a child or parent with dementia, resources for our military and veteran community or a grandparent raising their grandchildren. With thousands of services in our community, finding help can sometimes seem impossible. And that’s where 2-1-1 San Diego comes in. 
2-1-1 also provides vital trend information on community needs to foundations and government officials to assist leaders assess and plan for a better future for the San Diego region.
 
What makes San Diego a good place to operate an organization like 2-1-1?
Why 2-1-1 thrives in San Diego The secret behind 2-1-1’s service is its uniqueness and flexibility in working with thousands of providers to streamline how people access resources in our community. It’s this collaborative spirit of organizations and leaders throughout San Diego that make this region a great place to operate a social utility like 2-1-1. 
 
While 2-1-1 is not a government agency, but rather a local nonprofit organization with an established business model of fee-for-service contracts, we have strong and longstanding partnerships with corporate, philanthropic and government partners like the County of San Diego, SDG&E, Qualcomm, and Susan G. Komen that have changed the San Diego landscape of how people connect to community resources. 
 
Whether it’s establishing technology roadmaps together to make sure 2-1-1 is ahead of the curve to better serve the community, or providing a one-stop-shop for people seeking resources for breast cancer, to utilizing 2-1-1’s contact center platform to raise awareness about benefits callers are entitled to, 2-1-1 and our valuable partners work together to meet the needs of our community.
 
San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company or organization that is at the top of its game. 
For 40 years, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker has been a leading community pillar in San Diego. Offering all the bells and whistles of a high profile corporate entity, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker fashions itself a boutique communications firm, providing trusting and intimate client/executive relationships and high-quality creative services through reliable and trusting staff who take clients on journeys to explore possibilities. They take ideas and create a vision, and then bring that vision to life. 
 
What do you anticipate for your organization in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
At our 10-year milestone, 2-1-1 has made more than 2.5 million connections to community, health and disaster services.  
When we reflect on those connections, we see our community connecting with us in multiple channels, beyond our easy to remember 3-digit phone number.  We are developing mobile websites, apps and engaging our social media platforms and chat capabilities.   We envision a community-wide ecosystem of organizations that share data, resources, and solutions; and ultimately where customers, 2-1-1 and service providers work toward solutions together. 
We are currently working with our public safety partners to ensure that 2-1-1 can provide assistance directly with First Responders when they face families and individuals with daily non-emergency needs such as food, housing and other health care options.  We are also building on existing partnerships with fire, police and other jurisdictions to share critical information during times crisis. 
In our immediate future, we are kicking off our 10-year anniversary at the Annual 2-1-1 Connections Luncheon on February 20 at the San Diego Convention Center. 

December 16, 2014

AT&T LOGO

Most people have heard of AT&T. But what they don’t know is how closely they work with the community.  As one the nation’s largest wireless service providers, they are committed to connecting San Diego – and its non-profits, businesses, and residents – to other entities across the globe.
 
This week, we sat down with Ignacio De La Torre, regional VP, external affairs for AT&T, to learn more about how they view their relationship with San Diego.
 
1) Tell us about AT&T.
AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services.  AT&T has nearly 3,700 employees working in the San Diego and Imperial Counties region and has strong relationships with various community organizations including: Junior Achievement, Operation Homefront, United through Reading, Urban League of San Diego County, Imperial County Community Foundation, and Barrio Logan College Institute.  AT&T is committed to investing in San Diego.  For example, this past November, AT&T made a $300,000 contribution to Interfaith Community Services to support its Transitional Youth Academy, a program to improve academic and career outcomes for under-served youth.  AT&T also has two “Store of the Future” locations in San Diego County, which are focused on customers’ lifestyles and allow customers to interact with new technology products creating a fun, unique and interactive shopping experience.
 
2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego? 
Why AT&T Chose San Diego San Diego continues to outpace the rest of the nation – and much of the world – when it comes to job creation and economic recovery.  In fact, a recent report by the University of San Diego found that San Diego County is on pace to add more than 30,000 jobs for the third straight year.  San Diego’s economic success is fueled in large part by the growth of the “knowledge-based” economy, its climate, and its geographic location enabling ease of trade and global commerce. Innovative high-tech and life science companies have found a home in San Diego, and world-class research universities and exciting startup businesses continue to shape our economic landscape. AT&T is a part of this economic growth and prosperity, and is excited to be a part of San Diego’s future.
 
3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Organizations such as CONNECT, EvoNexus, and CommNexus have changed the way that businesses are formed.  Through their collaborative approach in working with investors, inventors, industry and service providers, they offer incubator platforms for technology and life sciences start-ups, which has helped grow the San Diego economy.  Thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars have been realized as a result of their tremendous work.   
 
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
In the past five years, the mobile Internet along with smart phones, applications and tablets have transformed our world in how we work, shop, communicate and socialize. AT&T will continue to lead this innovation and growth, and in the next five years, we expect to see all devices becoming more connected, more user-friendly and more intelligent.  In fact, by 2022, the average household with two teenage children will own roughly 50 Internet-connected devices, up from approximately 10 today, according to estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. San Diego is ideally situated to be a leader in this new technology wave.  As a leader in technology advancement, San Diego will bring incredible economic opportunities for businesses and individuals alike.
 
 

December 9, 2014

Barney & Barney logo

Not only does Barney & Barney know how to assist growing companies, but they’ve also seen growth of their own. In the past seven years, the firm has doubled in size in San Diego, housing 400 employees at its UTC location.

This week, we learned more about Barney & Barney’s growing San Diego business from Trindl Reeves, principal  & CSO.

1) Tell us about Barney & Barney

Barney & Barney provides insurance, risk management, executive liability and employee benefit solutions to companies and private clients.  We’ve been serving the San Diego community for over 100 years. 

It’s this stability along with adherence to our core values that has allowed us to grow without losing the culture that makes us who we are.  In February of 2014, Barney & Barney became the Western region headquarters for Marsh & McLennan Agency, a group of brokers nationwide dedicated to serving the middle market.  This unique structure enables us to operate autonomously and retain our culture while bringing ever greater resources to our clients though our parent company Marsh.  In San Diego, where our clients are also growing quickly and expanding into emerging markets, this distinctive model provides the best of both worlds.  

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

WHy Barney and Barney chose SD

We share a long history with San Diego. It’s our hometown.  San Diego offers a vibrant culture, an interplay of innovation and integrity, creativity and commitment.  We very much see ourselves as part of this interconnected community and continually look for ways to nurture those connections. 

San Diego fosters a business environment ripe for rapid growth and so it’s no secret that sometimes enterprising companies become attractive acquisition targets.  What’s advantageous about San Diego is the collaboration that acts as a buffer when companies enter the next phase of their growth.  What may seem like a loss quickly turns to opportunity for new growth, for the next innovation, whether it’s in life science or technology or hospitality. The next entrepreneur is right there, designing, creating, building.  We are honored to be part of this business community and to be here to advise and advocate for those companies as they evolve.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Human Longevity, Inc. is one that comes to mind.  They epitomize the possibilities for a company in San Diego.  They’ve increased their personnel from 25 to 80 employees in three months.  HLI is taking what was once only a whisper of hope for people suffering from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease and creating advances in prevention, diagnosis and therapies that increase longevity and improve health.  Remarkable science matched only by their vision.  

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Thanks to our clients, we’ve doubled in size in the last seven years, employing 400 associates here in University Town Center alone with no signs of slowing down.  We expect to grow by that measure again in five years both through continuing our local, organic development and by expanding our footprint across the West. 

While change always comes with some growing pains, we are confident in the culture we have established over the last century.  We remain committed to serving our clients, colleagues and community.  Part of that commitment includes giving back to the community through the Barney & Barney Foundation.  Last year, the Foundation passed the $1 million mark in donations and over the next five years we look forward to giving more to the communities we serve. 

San Diego is not going to slow down either.  We’ve handled 15 IPOs in the last two years which illustrates the dynamic business atmosphere here in San Diego. It’s a continuous cycle.  As soon as one ship launches, there’s always a new fleet of innovative companies ready to pull into port.  And Barney & Barney will be there to support them. 

December 2, 2014

 

If you ask companies why they chose San Diego, more often than not, they will mention a combination of three things: the availability of talent, a strong innovation economy and access to Mexico. Global IT company KIO Networks - formerly redIT - will site all three. Since opening its first facility in Kearny Mesa in 2001, KIO Networks has seen its data business boom and has grown its San Diego and Tijuana footprint as a result.

We spoke with Matt Thoene, managing director, for this week’s spotlight.

1) Tell us about KIO Networks.

KIO Networks is a global technology company that provides managed IT services, high-capacity connectivity and data center services for a wide range of organizations in the U.S. and Latin America.  Our job is to enable companies to focus resources on what drives their competitive advantage – not the distractions of owning and managing IT – for a lower total cost of ownership than if they were to set up, implement, and manage it themselves.  Our managed cloud service offerings are focused at the “infrastructure as a service” level, so we're providing the facilities, hardware, and support that our clients rely on for the applications that are mission-critical to their business. A key differentiator for our San Diego business is our cross-border connectivity. We have more than 1,000 miles of fiber throughout Mexico which provide connectivity to U.S. based businesses that need access to their facilities and businesses in Tijuana and throughout Mexico.

2) What are some advantages of doing business in San Diego?
Why redIT chose SD?

The fact that one of our primary services is providing cross-border connectivity to an extensive fiber network in Tijuana and throughout Mexico is the largest advantage to being located in San Diego. We have helped customers stretch their critical applications from our world class secure data centers here in San Diego to the door of their facilities in Mexico with little latency. It is essentially as if KIO Networks can provide a fiber cross connect and all on the KIO Networks infrastructure to a client’s door internationally. In addition, the ability to leverage a pool of local technical talent has been a great driver for success in our business and has fueled our dynamic growth.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

I would have to select Cyberflow Analytics. I’m impressed with their innovative approach to security and system analytics. Their approach leads to early detection of advanced-persistent threats (APTs) and other anomalous behavior within a client’s environment.  KIO Networks is working with CyberFlow Analytics to use their technology within our network and managed-services environment to help our customers address the ever-increasing challenges of cybersecurity.  San Diego has a strong cyber cluster and Cyberflow Analytics is one company that proves that. As the Internet becomes the Internet of Things (IoT), CyberFlow Analytics allows us to address the more varied security requirements that IoT necessitates.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

We see ourselves expanding our data center and cloud computing services along our current fiber footprint from San Diego to the East Coast, with points of presence (PoP) in Los Angeles, Phoenix, El Paso, Dallas and Miami. We are also hoping to launch a PoP in New York within the next few months, allowing our customers to utilize our network to pass data from New York to Los Angeles. In addition, we will be growing our cross-border network assets as far south as Peru and overseas into Spain.  We're aggressively growing as a company that can truly support the needs of our international clients across the globe. Leveraging multiple platforms for cloud computing technologies is a big piece of our strategy as we continue to anticipate the needs of the market and build specific services and capabilities that align with those needs.

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November 25, 2014

Lighthouse for the Blind

There are approximately 1.3 million people who are blind living in the United States. Like any other individuals, they need and want jobs. This is where Lighthouse for the Blind comes in.

As a privately-funded non-profit, they provide employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. Their military roots run deep, which makes San Diego an ideal location for Lighthouse. Not only do they serve many veterans with disabilities, but the military is also one of its largest customers.

This week, we spoke with Kirk Adams, president and CEO, to learn more about why this social enterprise operates in San Diego.

1) Tell us about Lighthouse for the Blind
We provide jobs to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. In San Diego, we operate a Servmart, which is a store where military, civilians, and contractors can purchase the supplies from paperclips to tactical equipment and clothing.  We specialize in offering a high volume of AbilityOne (blind-made) products and expert knowledge of military requirements. We also operate two Contract Management Support (CMS) services in San Diego and are currently closing out contracts for NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Command in downtown San Diego, and DCMA (Defense Contracting Management Agency) in Kearny Mesa. CMS services help mitigate the critical government shortage of contract specialists by providing post-contract award administration support services. The Lighthouse employs 14 employees who are legally blind in San Diego. On the West Coast, we employ more than 240 people who are blind in 11 different locations. 

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

Why Lighthouse chose San Diego

San Diego makes sense for us because of the strong military economy; it is where our customers and contracts are located, such as the Navy base. Additionally, there is a large population of capable blind adults looking for employment in the San Diego area. Growing our business means jobs for San Diegans who are frequently overlooked in traditional employment settings. Our mission – “to create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities” – stems from veterans who are blind returning from WWII with no hope for employment. Today, our mission is more critical than ever with the numbers of service men and women returning blinded from IED’s (improvised explosive devises) used in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Qualcomm is committed to an environment of inclusion in which all people, including those with disabilities, have equal access and opportunities. Qualcomm connects students with disabilities of all ages to help prepare them for their careers and partners with local universities for Disability Mentoring Day. They also participate in the annual San Diego career fair for people with disabilities.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?  
In five years we hope to have more than 25 employees who are legally blind employed in the San Diego area and a much larger community presence. 

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November 18, 2014

SeaWorld San Diego

People across the globe – and in San Diego - know SeaWorld.  But what many people don’t know is their deep commitment to the communities they serve. In addition to hosting EDC’s Annual Dinner last year, SeaWorld San Diego is involved in many programs that bolster our economy. Through various community initiatives, they have demonstrated their commitment to putting youth to work and conserving many of the region’s resources.

We sat down with John Reilly, park president at SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica Chula Vista, to learn more about the company’s broad reach.

1) Tell us about SeaWorld San Diego
Most San Diegans have heard of SeaWorld. Animals, shows, rides, Shamu —that’s all true, but most people don’t know how deeply SeaWorld affects the lives of park visitors. Jody Westberg visited the park as a youngster and dreamed of working with marine life. Today she heads SeaWorld’s animal rescue program, dedicating her life to giving ill and injured animals a second chance. Jenna Golden visited SeaWorld as a student enrolled in one of our camps. During college Jenna returned to the park as an Educator, and she now teaches youngsters about conservation and how their actions affect the world’s oceans.  Kristi Burtis grew up in San Diego and enjoyed numerous Shamu shows as a child. Today she trains the park’s killer whales and shares the special bond she has with the animals with millions of visitors.  So what does SeaWorld do?  We entertain, educate, conserve and connect people with the natural world we share.  

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?
Why Sea World Chose San Diego SeaWorld has the good fortune of being located on beautiful Mission Bay. This awe inspiring location, expansive waterfront and adjacent coastal areas allow the park’s habitats and educational programs to impact the local community. The animal rescue program has tremendous access to local beaches for rescues and adjacent waterways to return healthy animals back to the wild. And, San Diego’s perfect weather, dining, shopping, beaches and world-class zoo make it a perfect place for tourists. Visitors from around the globe chose to holiday in San Diego. Few cities in America offer tourists such a vast array of activities and locales.   

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.
The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, an innovative, independent, non-profit organization seeking real life solutions to sea life problems, recently launched two projects that are sure to impact global initiatives. On the research front, Hubbs is documenting the influence of infectious and non-infectious diseases on free-ranging animals, including zoonotic diseases (those transmissible from animals to humans). Marine mammals may play a role similar to pigs as hosts for influenza viruses and future studies are aimed at better understanding these relationships. This research has the potential to impact future medical advances and solutions. On another front, Hubbs has embarked on an ambitious fish farming program. The United States is the third-largest consumer of seafood in the world, but we only produce about nine percent of it domestically.  Hubbs is proposing a creative solution that provides an alternative source of protein and a new paradigm in the seafood business. The project, which will start by raising about 1,000 tons of California yellowtail, could serve as a model for environmentally sustainable offshore aquaculture.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
John Reilly speaks at SeaWorld's 50th Anniversary Celebration in March This year SeaWorld celebrated its 50th anniversary and we could not be more excited about the park’s future. A few months ago we announced the Blue World project. Blue World includes a first-of-its-kind killer whale environment, an Independent Advisory Panel that will focus on creating something innovative that maximizes the health and wellbeing of the animals, $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health. The Blue World habitat will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the art homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come. This new environment will have a total water volume of 10 million gallons, a maximum depth of 50 feet, surface area of nearly 1.5 acres and views exceeding 40 feet in height providing guests with the world’s largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales. This tremendous new environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment and inspire them to celebrate and conserve the natural world. Blue World will open summer, 2018 and we know San Diegans are going to be awestruck at the incredible vista and one-of-a-kind opportunity to see and learn about killer whales.

 

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November 11, 2014

The Clay Company

Meet the Clay Company – one of EDC’s newest investors. As the strategic extension of some of San Diego’s most dynamic companies and ventures, they have a pulse on the innovation that happens right in our backyard. Their clientele are indicative of San Diego as a whole: companies at the cross section of innovation and lifestyle.

This week, we got the opportunity to speak with the Clay Co.’s Stephanie Saathoff, president, and Maddy Kilkenny, vice president, to learn more about how they view the region.   

1) Tell us about the Clay Company.

We are lobbyists, and we’re proud of that.  Our success truly is a combination of understanding what a realistic victory is for our clients, then working with elected officials, staff, the community and stakeholders, to bridge those interests and accomplish practical results that ultimately make San Diego County a better place to live, work, and invest.

On any given day we might be touring the construction at the Cross Border Xpress in Otay Mesa, cruising around in a Car2go, or having lunch by the Koi pond at the Golden Door.  Of course, we really do our best work over burritos in Old Town - unless it’s March Madness or the World Cup.  No one works then.

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

Why the Clay Co chose SD

San Diego is home, and if that isn’t an advantage over everyone else in the country, then we don’t know what is.  It’s where we both grew up and where we’re raising our kids.  Our hometown is more than just the weather.  We have a thriving economy – an educated, diverse, innovative talent force in a bi-national region of nearly six million people.  We have thriving major universities that produce incredible talent both on and off the court.  And, we are lucky to share a border with another country which exposes us every day to a rich cultural diversity that expands our region’s opportunities and horizons. 

San Diego has nationally recognized non-profits, award winning biotech companies, and acclaimed researchers that are creating Ebola vaccines and curing diseases.  We are home to Donut Bar, Roberto’s Taco Shops, and Stone Brewery.  “Advantage” is our middle name.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

211 San Diego is a shining example of San Diego’s leadership in combining technology, innovation, customer service, non-profit sector and disaster response.  Our local 211 is the national model, and peers around the country look to San Diego’s information and referral service to help them ramp up service, professionalism and financial stability.  When our community is looking for reliable and timely information during a critical disaster, and every day, 24/7, a live voice and solid information make a huge difference. 

4) What do you anticipate for San Diego in five years?

By 2019, San Diego will realize that we no longer need to justify being in the same conversation with great cities like Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, and New York, but that it’s actually the other way around.  And we’ll stop saying that San Diego is the “biggest small town in America”.  We will also be able to boast about being home to the person that found a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.


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Our Investor Spotlight series takes a closer look at the companies, organizations and institutions that underwrite EDC’s economic development efforts. Learn more…

 

November 4, 2014

RA Capital Advisors

San Diego builds products and innovations that bring value to the rest of the world. However, San Diego’s story is a bit different from other regions across the country. Whereas many regions rely on a few large companies for the majority of their economic growth, San Diego’s story is one of building innovative, highly-valued companies from the ground up.

Companies like RA Capital Advisors get that. Having served the San Diego business community for more than 25 years, they have worked with clients across many of San Diego’s high-growth industries, including defense, energy, and manufacturing.

This week, we sat down with RA Capital Advisors' Joel Reed to hear more about the competitive advantages of doing business in the region.

1.  Tell us about RA Capital Advisors
RA Capital is a boutique investment bank providing financial advisory services to businesses both domestically and internationally.  We focus on mergers, acquisitions dispositions and private financings, and have completed over $60 billion in transactions since founding our business in the San Diego area over 25 years ago. 

RA Capital has handled many large and high profile transactions, including helping our clients:  use innovative technology to create substantial energy savings for commercial aircraft, combine their businesses into one of America's premier defense technology companies, finance construction of the largest fleet of ocean-going container ships, and realize many other entrepreneurial dreams. We bring that same experience to helping small and middle market business owners successfully build their companies, and realize their value when the time is right.

2.  What are some advantages to doing business in SD?
Why RA Capital Chose SDSan Diego is a vibrant center for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.  Being in San Diego allows you to see great companies grow from the ground up.  We have enjoyed working with companies as they grow new technologies or business ideas into successful companies like Sirius XM Radio, Sandel Avionics and The Titan Corporation. Many of our diverse clients have focused on specialized manufacturing, national security, aerospace, energy, and healthcare.  San Diego offers these employers the opportunity to create challenging and rewarding jobs in a city with an outstanding quality of life, that is a preferred destination for many professionals and technologies.  As companies such as Qualcomm, SAIC, and others have grown, they have generated many new businesses, reinvigorating the community.  Facing the Pacific makes San Diego a great fit with our affiliate partners' offices in India and Malaysia, and local high tech companies often find our European affiliate offices to be a source of beneficial connections.

3.  San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.
Manufacturing and innovation are essential to the success of our community and our economy.  D&K Engineering, located in Rancho Bernardo, is a very exciting example.  D&K is a global product realization company specializing in the design, engineering and manufacturing of complex electromechanical products and equipment.  Through innovation, collaboration and process discipline, D&K partners with organizations to create and build innovative products while reducing cost, accelerating time to market and ensuring product quality. As D&K puts it: they bridge the gap between concept and reality. 

4.   What do we anticipate for San Diego and RA Capital in five years?
San Diego and its regional partners will emerge as a premier global city, exporting and exchanging products, technology and talent with its Asian neighbors and the rest of the world. Continuing innovations in technologies will require building upon our world class institutions of higher learning and expanding our highly skilled workforce. San Diego will build intelligent infrastructure to support this growth, while maintaining the unique beauty of our surrounding area and offering a lifestyle that attracts the active, intellectually curious individuals who create innovation. RA Capital will grow locally, while continuing to expand its global capabilities and be part of supporting this regional growth. We will help San Diego companies find the capital they need to grow, acquire the companies that complement their businesses and extend their reach around the globe. And, as we have always done, we will use our global experience and personal commitment as trusted advisors, to create value for clients, their owners, their employees and the San Diego community.

RA Capital Advisors LLC is a Member of FINRA and SIPC.

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October 28, 2014

Uber logo

Uber, the ubiquitous transportation platform, has revolutionized the way San Diegans get around. But it’s more than just a logistics platform. Although Uber is available in more than 100 cities around the world, they have found a way to leverage San Diego’s unique assets, tapping into both the concentration of military personnel and cross-border economy.  They are a high-tech company that has mastered the cross-over between innovation and quality of life – something San Diego knows well.

Christopher Ballard, general manager of Uber San Diego, explains why the company thrives in San Diego:

1) Tell us about Uber
Uber is a technology company that is changing the way the world moves, works and lives. By seamlessly connecting riders to the safest, most reliable ride on the road, we’re making all of San Diego more accessible to locals and visitors alike at prices anyone can afford.  And our growth in the city has been tremendous. When we launched in San Diego in early 2012, we partnered with a handful of drivers covering the Gaslamp. Today, we have thousands of drivers partnering with the Uber platform, with average pickup times of less than five minutes across San Diego.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?
Why Uber Chose SD We like to say Uber is a technology company at the intersection of lifestyle and logistics, and that’s definitely the case in San Diego.  San Diego’s quality of life attracts ambitious, dynamic and tech-savvy people from across the country and the world who regularly ride and drive with the Uber platform.  We’ve also tapped into the tremendous talent, commitment and dedication of our city’s vast military community as part of our national UberMILITARY initiative, which started in San Diego.  We are committing to onboarding 50,000 service members, veterans and military spouses over the next 18 months as driver-partners with the Uber platform.  

Also, San Diego has the unique distinction of being a border region.  Having recently launched Uber Tijuana, we see a major opportunity in providing riders more choice in transportation options throughout the Cali-Baja Region.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.
HouseCall is revolutionizing the home services space.  Founded by ex-Qualcomm employees, the app allows people to book home services jobs directly with the service provider.  As someone who doesn’t have a lot of time left in the day for household chores like cleaning the house or fixing a sink, having the option to press a button and receive immediate service from a vetted professional is a major way to stay productive.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
I see Uber weaving itself further into the fabric of city life in San Diego and cities across the globe.  Right now, we’re connecting riders to drivers in less than five minutes.  Once you get that right, the possibilities for on-demand delivery are endless, and the need to own a vehicle is diminished. Ultimately, we’re trying to make it so that car ownership isn’t necessary in San Diego.  It’s an ambitious goal, but one we think is achievable.  If we can make it so that it’s cheaper to take an Uber than own a car, we can boost productivity, reduce congestion, and help make San Diego an even better place to live.  We also hope to facilitate stronger economic and social ties between Tijuana and San Diego by making seamless cross-border transportation a reality.

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