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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Venture Capital

May 31, 2017

According to EDC’s newly released Quarterly Economic Snapshot, the region added 29,600 jobs year-over-year, a 2.1 percent increase in total employment since Q1 2016. However, the San Diego region saw a quarterly decline of 10,900 jobs, primarily due to seasonal workers transitioning out of retail following the holiday season.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points during Q1 2017, but is 0.7 percentage points lower than the same period a year ago.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 2017 with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, the 14th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the nation’s and state’s rates of 4.6 and 5.1, respectively.
  • The construction sector saw the largest quarterly and year-over-year growth in employment, adding 2,800 and 5,700 jobs, respectively – indicative of the overall health of the economy.
  • The median home price fell 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, but is still up 5 percent compared to a year ago.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 15.2 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Kirby Brady, San Diego Regional EDC research director, explains, “A small uptick in unemployment and slowing home price appreciation are to be expected in the winter months. However, when you look at the overall trends, San Diego appears to be reaching full employment and real estate remains a seller’s market. If these trends continue, we’ll start to see wages rise.”

The Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from January to March (Q1) 2017. 

Read it here.

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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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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