Advancing San Diego Company Spotlight: Paragrine Systems

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Austin Blue, CEO at Paragrine Systems. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Paragrine Systems builds air and ground mobility into single rugged and efficient vehicles.

Read on for more from Paragrine Systems CEO Austin Blue.

Tell us about your company?  

Paragrine Systems is a developer and manufacturer of powered-parafoil utility vehicle platforms for commercial, humanitarian aid/disaster relief, and military applications.

Why was your company founded, and what are your current points of focus?  

Paragrine was founded to explore and progress the great potential of powered parafoils to provide a new paradigm for low-cost aerial mobility across a broad range of applications on a global basis. Our current focus is on developing unique mobility solutions for Department of Defense applications, expanding on core technology foundations, and preparing for production at scale.

How was your experience building a small business/startup in San Diego?

San Diego has been a great place for entrepreneurship and building a business. We greatly appreciate and have benefited from the community and infrastructure provided by Advancing San Diego, our phenomenal local universities, a vibrant business community, Connect, and a great culture of innovation and technical advancement.

What does growth look like over the next few years?

We look forward to continuing to expand the envelope for what powered parafoils can accomplish doing work and meeting transportation and logistics needs in some of the world’s hardest to reach locations. Over the next several years we will progress from our R&D foundations into production at scale.

How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?

We have been working remotely and continuing to do our best to conduct business development by video conference to execute on our current contracts. In some ways it has been nice not to travel so much this past year and that has enabled us to stay focused. We have high hopes for the future and a great 2021 ahead.

Tell us a little bit about your interns and the value they bring.

Our interns have proven to be curious, capable, and engaged. We are grateful for their attention and contribution to our business and we hope that we have been able to help them learn more about what is involved in aerospace technology development from the ground on up. For all of us, it has been a much-appreciated opportunity during this challenging year to expand the team and learn new skills and work with new people. Our interns have been great and we have been grateful for the real value they have delivered.

In your opinion, what is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?

San Diego has a wealth of diverse talents, interests, and leadership across so many industries and technologies. It is a leader in aerospace, bio-sciences, logistical innovation, energy sciences and much more. These are enhanced, nurtured and fed by great universities, a generous business community, a complimentary and beneficial connection to Mexico, and a strong connection to the Navy and Marines. There are so many favorable elements, in addition to the awesome climate, that all encourage and mutually reinforce each other to make this a great place to do business. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to live and work in this community.


Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

Company contact info and additional information:

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