San Diego’s Good News of the Year 2021

Even as pandemic challenges continue to linger, we look back on a year marked by life-changing innovation and community resilience across San Diego. From scientific breakthroughs to tech company expansions and record venture capital investment, 2021 allowed us to look toward recovery and compete on a global stage.

Read on for some of this year’s biggest headlines, all made possible by those who call the San Diego region home. Here’s to continued collaboration, resilience, and inclusion in 2022.

-Team EDC

Venture capital floods local startup ecosystem

San Diego secured record-breaking venture capital investment, outpacing 2020 by more than $2.6 billion. Some of San Diego’s standout startups and raises include:

  • ClickUp raises $400M, bringing its valuation to $4B
  • MetroConnect alum Cloudbeds raises $150M
  • Drata raises $100 million Series B, becomes unicorn
  • Flock Freight raises $215M, becomes unicorn
  • JuneShine raises $24M for its better-for-you hard kombucha
  • Shield AI raises $210M for AI drone tech, becomes unicorn
  • Tyra Biosciences goes public, raises $199M

Plus, acquisitions and IPOs steadily poured in throughout the year:

San Diego companies lead the charge against COVID-19

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19 and its new variants, San Diego companies met the moment by developing new treatments, rapid-result testing solutions, and more aimed at getting us to a post-pandemic era:

Companies relocate, double-down amid pandemic

As locals, we know our region is special. And as San Diego competes on a global stage, debunking myths that we’re just a surf and beer town, countless innovative companies took notice. Here are some of our region’s newest transplants:

Homegrown research and innovation fosters global impact

Beyond COVID-19, San Diego’s Tech and Life Sciences employers continued to make waves across a diversity of industries, from oncology and genomics to manufacturing and artificial intelligence (AI), and everything in between:

San Diego’s defense industry lands major contracts

In 2021, the U.S. military contributed an estimated $35 billion in direct spending to San Diego defense companies. As an intrinsic part of our region, these companies scored major contracts to help mobilize and protect our troops and country:

San Diego earns the rankings to back it all up

From heavyweights to fast-growing startups, San Diego’s companies, talented workforce, and innovative industries (like our rising blue economy featured on CNBC’s ‘Streets of Dreams’), are getting noticed around the world. And we earned the numbers to show for it:

Quality of life amplified in San Diego

This year, San Diego saw its international border announce a new port of entry, artistic developments decorate our iconic skyline, and transportation infrastructure better connect our region, all of which made life even better here at home:

Tourism industry looks inward to support community

As the economy began to reopen, one of San Diego’s hardest hit industries made great progress towards recovery. The region welcomed back cruises and celebrated new and returning route service on SouthwestAir Canada, WestJetLufthansaJapan Airlines, and British Airways.

And above all, the Tourism industry pivoted to step up for our community, aid in our recovery, and set examples for the world—in true San Diego style: