At the end of each year, we like to look back on all the good this year brought with it. And with San Diego as our home, there’s much to be thankful for – from an influx of startup growth, to top rankings and thriving educational systems. Read on below to see the top themes we saw come out of 2018.
From Team EDC, thank you for being part of our #SDlifechanging story.
Not a HQ town, but now we have these….
Qualcomm aside, San Diego is not often thought of as a headquarter town; but that doesn’t mean large companies don’t see value in setting up operations in the region. This year, we saw these tech heavyweights plant roots in San Diego:
- Data analytics company Teradata relocated its headquarters to San Diego from Dayton, Ohio
- Amazon to hire up to 350 at its new UTC campus
- Walmart Labs opened 30,000 sqft in Carlsbad; to double tech workforce
- Wrike, Cloudbeds, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals made significant investments in local expansions
- And most recently, Apple announced it will be expanding to San Diego, supporting up to 1,000 jobs
SD leads charge in the healthcare revolution
Home to more than 1,200 life sciences companies and more than 80 research institutes, the San Diego region is on the brink of scientific breakthrough each and every day. This year, we saw Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and Illumina set the Guinness world record for fastest genetic diagnoses in newborns; Scripps Translational Science Institute was awarded a $34+ million grant for its work in digital health; Salk scientist Janelle Ayres received $1 million to fund her microbial research; Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute identified never-before-seen DNA recombination in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease; local biotechs Pfenex, Synthorx, and Trovagene went public; Illumina acquired Edico Genome and Pacific Biosciences in separate deals worth more than $2.2 billion; LunaDNA launched the first-of-its-kind platform that offers stock for DNA data; and much more #SDlifechanging work.
SD selected as national UAS testing center
With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, and EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy, and create jobs. As part of the program, the Chula Vista Police Department has begun to deploy drones for public safety operations. Read more.
Local colleges expand, bolster talent pipeline
San Diego’s educational institutions produce a top-tier talent pipeline for employers both here and abroad. And now more than ever, San Diego State University, UC San Diego, San Diego Community College District, and others are expanding programs and campuses to promote inclusion and support industry needs. This year’s successes include:
- CSU San Marcos announced the creation of its bachelor of science in computer engineering thanks to more than $1.5 million in donations from local companies and their employees
- Mira Costa and Palomar colleges to waive tuition for all first-time, full-time students as part of California College Promise program
- Philanthropist Denny Sanford made a landmark, $100 million gift to the National University System to expand its social emotional learning program
- Southwestern College was awarded $325,000 in grants to fund services for veteran and undocumented students
- San Diego City College expanded its cybersecurity program to include associate and certificate opportunities
- With its first female president Adela de la Torre at the helm, San Diego State University is set to launch a new Big Data Analytics graduate program
- UC San Diego received a record $75 million from computer science alum Taner Halicioğlu to grow its new data science institute
SD companies rake in big bucks for growth
Throughout 2018, San Diego saw more than 80 venture capital deals. While the number of deals is down from last year, the cash totals are record-breaking in more ways than one. San Diego companies raised more $1.8 billion (as of Q3), with the vast majority – $1.5 billion – going to healthcare companies. The region is on pace to have its best year for VC since 2000. Top deals include Samumed, Ideaya Biosciences, Gossamer Bio, Grail, Helix, and dozens more.
SD impact felt ’round the world’
A globally connected region is a more successful region, which is why its crucial that San Diego innovation is seen and felt across the world. This year, we saw this locally-made technology make impacts in key international markets:
- Cubic Transportation Systems secured contracts to provide its mass-transit ticketing services to Queensland and Sydney, Australia, as well as other international cities
- Inc. 5000 company Scientist.com announced its expansion into Japan as part of a WTC-led trade mission
- Forge Therapeutics is set to double its local footprint due in part to an international deal signed during a WTC-led trade mission to the UK
- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems secured an $81 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for the UK
- Carlsbad-based Viasat added Aeromexico, Finnair, and EL AL Israel Airline to the list of international airlines it supplies with inflight Wi-Fi
- San Marcos-based Ocean Reef Group donated its full-face dive masks used to rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand
SD tops the charts
San Diego held its own in many of this year’s top rankings. From the region’s entrepreneurial culture to its commitment to sustainability and innovation, top-tier publications and organizations took notice of San Diego. Rankings include:
- #1 most data-driven city – Governing
- #1 city for expected tech hiring growth – Robert Half Technology
- #1 greenest city in the U.S. – WalletHub
- #1 city for income growth – U.S. Census
- #5 city for most Inc. 5000 companies – Inc.
- #5 best large city to live in – WalletHub
- #9 city to start a small business – Biz2Credit
- #10 global city positioned for success – JLL