Looking to go global? Take this advice from 10 San Diego-based companies

Drug discovery is a global industry. In 2017, Solana Beach-based Scientist.com – a B2B marketplace for drug discovery – had seen increasing profits from Europe, and was looking to capture a piece of Japan’s $95 billion pharmaceutical industry – one of the largest in the world.

Entering any global market requires patience, persistence, and expertise. In Japan – with high costs associated with entry and multiple cultural difference – Scientist.com needed to do it the right way. This meant setting up a subsidiary, hiring a new employee, securing office space, and more.

Enter MetroConnect. MetroConnect is an export assistance program that provides San Diego based companies with the resources (including a grant) they need to go global.

At the conclusion of the program, Scientist.com had successfully set up an office in Tokyo, hired a new employee, and developed multiple partnerships – making Japan one of its largest markets by international sales.

Scientist.com’s Solana Beach offices

The MetroConnect Program

Since the program’s launch, the World Trade Center San Diego team has worked with 65 companies to help them grow their international sales. In total, these companies have had an $85M net increase in exports and opened 18 new overseas facilities. As a result of this spike in international business, participating companies have created 267 new jobs in San Diego.

From breweries to software development to genomics and drones, MetroConnect companies reflect the diverse industries that make up our economy.

At the end of their time in the cohort, we ask every company the same thing: What advice would you give other companies looking to export?

And because we don’t want to hoard these pearls of wisdom, here’s what they said:

When going global, research is everything

  • “Do as much research as you can before launching any market. Get as much background on each importer as you can and use local resources to help with any questions or concerns. Know the requirements of each market to avoid any delays.” – Coronado Brewing (MetroConnect III)
  • Do your homework first and find the markets with the least barriers to entry (language, duties & registration fees, etc.) and highest potential in revenue.” –  Dr. Bronner’s (MetroConnect IV)
  • “Some markets require additional stipulations like extended warranties you have to account product in a different country.” – ROBO 3D (MetroConnect I)
  • “Identify a distributor who has physical presence in each country you wish to target, as this will ensure faster deployment” – Wearable Sensing (MetroConnect I)
  • “Go where your product is needed most and not necessarily where the biggest financial opportunity is. Your products will gain a bigger percentage of a smaller market share rather than a smaller percentage of a larger market share. This will bring stability and staying power to your products and your brand.” – ArcticZero (MetroConnect IV)

Learn from the locals, in San Diego and abroad

  • “Seek support early on and engage with professional networks to acquire the necessary knowledge, talent, and partnering for export assistance; approach trade organizations to help identify your target markets, and always be prepared to encounter obstacles” – Cypher Genomics, acquired by Human Longevity Inc (MetroConnect I)
  • “Just remember ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ so do not hesitate to ask the locals for assistance; every market is different, and many of their respective pitfalls can be avoided by listening to local knowledge.” – Scientist.com (MetroConnect IV)
  • “There are so many local companies exporting that we encourage you to talk to them – or us! Aligning yourself with companies who’ve already been successful at exporting will provide you with the proper resources, tips, contacts, and advice on what to do and what not to do.” – Urban Translations (MetroConnect III)

Be in it for the long haul

  • “Be persistent – it takes time and patience to establish effective working relationships in many markets, such as India and Japan, but that patience will pay off over the near and longer term.” – Tioga Research (MetroConnect III)
  • “Expect the sales cycle to take much longer than you are used to. Also, for any companies exporting physical goods, start the shipping paperwork as early as possible” – Planck Aerosystems (MetroConnect III)

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Interested in taking your company global? Applications for MetroConnect are now open until January 31. Learn more about the requirements and benefits of this unique program.

Apply here

MetroConnect is proudly underwritten by Procopio and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Related EDC articles and research:

How MetroConnect helped one local company create $5M+ in sales

EDDY Pump is not your typical family business. When Ben Weinrib took over as CEO in early 2019, he committed to elevating his father’s technology and getting it into as many hands as possible.

The making of EDDY Pump

EDDY Pump creates slurry pumps across several industries, including oil, mining, and energy. Take the mining industry, for example. Pumps are a crucial part of the mining process, yet they often fall prey to a myriad of problems including clogging, overheating, and more. Using propriety technology to harness the power of the Eddy current – a special closed loop electrical current – the San Diego-based company creates a unique, best-in-class product.

A San Diego success story

In order to succeed in a field where many of the opportunities exist overseas, =the San Diego-based company needed to effectively target and sell to global customers. That’s where MetroConnect comes in.

MetroConnect is World Trade Center San Diego’s(WTCSD) export assistance program. Since 2014, WTCSD has provided at least 15 companies annual with resources and the financial assistance they need to conquer global markets.

During its tenure in the MetroConnect program, EDDY Pump started raking in the international business. From a $2M contract with Barrick Gold Corporation – the world’s second largest mining company – to a deal with the Chilean Navy, EDDY Pump proved with the right resources and support, it could take its business to the next level.

The company’s global success did not go unnoticed. In November, EDDY Pump was crowned the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitch winner. Along with bragging rights, the EDDY Pump team took home 35k in additional funding.

Interested in taking your company global?

Applications for MetroConnect are now open until January 31. Learn more about the requirements and benefits.

Apply today

 

Related EDC articles and research: 

 

 

2019 in Review: Top 10 wins for EDC

With and through our nearly 200 investors, EDC works to maximize San Diego’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. This year, we helped companies grow, looked to new corners of our community for high-quality talent, and developed programs and initiatives to create a stronger region.

Through it all, EDC impacted 5,228 jobs and worked on 179 projects – supported by companies, investors, community partners, and more – on behalf of San Diego’s economy. While our work spans multiple industries and organizations, with various programs and goals, there’s an universal thread that ties it all together: build a more inclusive economy that benefits all San Diegans.

As we close out 2019 and another successful decade, let us recap our top 10 wins for San Diego…

  1. San Diego: Life. Changing.’s Just Say No to Winter campaign received national attention

Going into its fourth year, SD: Life. Changing. is our award-winning campaign that aims to attract and retain talent for our region. We kicked off 2019 with Just Say No to Winter, a transit and social media campaign that targeted STEM talent in Boston, Chicago, and New York during the peak of winter with information about career opportunities in San Diego. Thanks to this go-viral marketing push – and coverage in The New York Times, the nationally-syndicated program “The List,” and more – we saw 34X the ROI, 2.6 million social media impressions, and 36K video views.

  1. EDC received its largest grant in history, catalyzing Advancing San Diego

San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S. This funding allowed EDC to form Advancing San Diego, which aims to cultivate a more inclusive economy by addressing regional talent shortages and strengthening relationships between businesses and education systems. The newly minted program is now contributing toward our Inclusive Growth regional goal of 20,000 skilled workers (degree or credential holders) in San Diego County by 2030.

  1. World Trade Center SD’s MetroConnect export assistance program had its best year yet

Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetroConnect provides small- and medium-sized companies with the resources necessary to expand into global markets. During the 2018-19 program, companies in MetroConnect IV collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in export sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participating companies also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.

And, you’re in luck – Applications are now open for the 2020 cohortMetorConnect V. Learn more and apply today (or pass it on to a business that might benefit).

  1. EDC fostered 3 regional goals for a more #inclusiveSD

While the growth of our innovation economy has created tremendous opportunity, it has also perpetuated systemic inequities. 2019 was all about elevating an inclusive economic development strategy – the lens in which EDC views all of its work – so that economic growth is seen and felt among the entire region. In order to effectively do this, EDC’s employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee supported actionable recommendations and measurable targets for creating a San Diego that benefits all residents. By 2030:

Inclusive Growth goals

  1. With support from EDC, Cubic Corporation secured $8.5M in tax credits & broke ground on its new HQ

Cubic Corporation is a global company with clients on nearly every continent, yet it has called San Diego’s Kearny Mesa community home for 50 years. With assistance from EDC, Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. This tax incentive allowed Cubic to break ground on its new San Diego HQ campus, and further reaffirm its investment to the region in the decades that follow. Here are a few words from Cubic Corporation on the support EDC provided:

“Since our founding in 1951, we have established strong roots in the San Diego community and it was very important for us to remain headquartered here. The San Diego Regional EDC was an integral resource for our redevelopment. They were able to strategically bring key partners together and secure incentives that best positioned us to redevelop our headquarters in the Kearny Mesa area.” – Anshooman Aga, executive vice president and CFO at Cubic Corporation

  1. EDC managed San Diego’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP), propelling 1,150+ successful missions

From monitoring coastal erosion to fighting wildfires, drones offer enormous social and environmental benefits. San Diego is currently one of 10 state, local, and tribal governments to participate in the Integration Pilot Program, which has allowed our region to be at the forefront of an industry that is expected to reach a $43 billion market value by 2024.

This year, the program – managed by EDC in collaboration with the City of San Diego – achieved new milestones. Giving way for Uber Eats to soon deliver burgers and Chula Vista Police Department to send first responders via drones, IPP completed 1,150+ unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) missions.

  1. EDC produced 24 reports to help residents and businesses better understand San Diego’s economy

EDC provides research and data to local companies, site selectors, and civic leaders to help them make well-informed decisions about our economy. From monthly reports (and videos) that chart key economic indictors to customized economic impact reports for companies, EDC’s research helped the regional stakeholders better understand this place we call home.

 San Diego's Economic Pulse

  1. Innovate78 amplified its reach along the 78 Corridor, convening more than 500+ individuals

With companies like Viasat, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a plethora of award-winning craft breweries, the 78 Corridor is hub for innovation. Thanks to the region’s Innovate78 program, managed in collaboration with EDC and the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Vista, more than 500 stakeholders (think: entrepreneurs, high-quality talent, startups, etc.) attended events held in North San Diego County.

  1. World Trade Center San Diego strengthened ties with BMW, IBM, and Siemens during Germany Trade Mission

The introduction of non-stop San Diego-Frankfurt service aboard Lufthansa and a shift in economic power resulting from Brexit meant that Germany was becoming an increasingly important trade and investment partner for San Diego…and WTCSD wanted to be out in front of it. WTCSD pulled together more than 20 San Diego-based business and civic leaders to participate in a four day trade mission to Munich and Frankfurt, Germany.

International partnerships take time, but based on initial meetings on the trade mission, San Diego has planted the seed for long-term relationships with major companies, including BMW, IBM, Siemens, Daimler, and more.

  1. …and, finally, EDC launched a new website

With support from investors and partners, we launched a new sandiegobusiness.org. Here, you’ll find detailed information on EDC programs & initiatives, how we work with companies, as well as information about the brands we manage, including World Trade Center San Diego, SD: Life. Changing., and Innovate78. The website is designed to be viewable on any device, so San Diego is always showcasing its best self.

Laptop displaying EDC website

Here’s to our nearly 200 investors for their unwavering support in creating a prosperous San Diego for the next decade.

 

Interested in supporting our work? Join us.

Invest in EDC

 

EDDY Pump Corporation wins $35K in additional MetroConnect funding

Eddy Pump wins metroconnect grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego and 200+ live audience award the MetroConnect grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego named EDDY Pump Corporation, a global pump and dredge equipment manufacturer, as the MetroConnect program grand prize winner. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the $35,000 award will be used to excel its technology and services to additional international markets.

EDDY Pump Corporation is a quintessential example of a San Diego defense company taking their products global,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., Executive Director of World Trade Center San Diego.The results from this year’s cohort are impressive. From opening new offices in the Japan to inking multi-million dollar deals throughout Latin America, the participating MetroConnect companies are collectively strengthening the San Diego region’s economy.

During the 12-month program, companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participants also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.

MetroConnect is an export assistance program managed by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. Each year, the participating cohort vies for a chance to win the grand prize—$35,000 to aid in their international market expansion plans. For the fourth year of MetroConnect, 20 export-ready companies were selected and equipped with a slew of financial and programmatic resources to assist in their plans to expand internationally.

With proposed tariffs, trade wars and the looming Brexit deadline, the national rhetoric around global trade has shifted. However, according to a recent article from The Brookings Institution, exporting or going global offers firms the opportunity to diversify markets, grow local regional economies and add more well-paying jobs. Programs such as MetroConnect help expand the pipeline of export-ready firms.

The four finalists from this year’s 20-company cohort were Bitchin’ Sauce, EDDY Pump, LRAD Corporation and Scientist.com. The grand prize winning company was selected based on a 50-50 split, weighing the popular vote from a live audience of 200-plus international business professionals and community leaders and selection from a judging panel comprised of representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, City of San Diego Economic Development Department and last year’s MetroConnect winner, Cure Match.

“The MetroConnect program has been a game-changer, allowing us to increase our international exports by $5 million from the previous year and enter into five key new countries,” said Ben Weinrib, CEO & Managing Partner at EDDY Pump Corporation. “In the years that follow, we are looking to close a multi-million dollar per year contract with some of the largest companies in Canada as well as selling our technology to friendly foreign militaries.” 

“Since 2015, Chase has supported the MetroConnect program helping San Diego businesses realize their potential to scale and successfully navigate complex global markets,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “San Diego is one of the best places for new business and innovation, and we are very excited to help businesses compete locally and to be able to grow globally.”

The MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest was hosted at The Alexandria on November 13, with keynote remarks by Barbara White, CFO at Taylor Guitars and the winner announced by Bud Colligan, senior advisor for international affairs and trade at California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz).

Applications for year five of the MetroConnect program are now open. Interested small- and medium-sized companies, who are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority or already exporting its goods or services, may apply here.

About World Trade Center San Diego
World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

About EDDY Pump Corporation
Founded in 1984, EDDY Pump is a technology development and manufacturing company located in San Diego, CA. The company designs and manufactures proprietary technology for the U.S. Military along with some of the largest oil, mining, wastewater, chemical, marine construction and other industry-related companies in the world. By bring together some of the best mechanical, electric, ocean, embedded systems, hydraulic and manufacturing engineers, EDDY Pump is leading the field with breakthrough technology. eddypump.com

 

APPLY FOR METROCONNECT 2020

Meet our MetroConnect Sponsor: British Airways

British Airways Logo

The MetroConnect export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase, is made possible through the generous support of private and public sector sponsors. Over the past few years, WTC has partnered with many of the international airlines serving the San Diego region, in order to expand the reach of the program and provide greater value to the companies in each cohort. British Airways is one of four airlines sponsoring this initiative and allowing MetroConnect companies to access key markets, without breaking the bank.

British Airways

British Airways offers the only daily direct service flight between London (LHR) and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

British Airways is the number one carrier in London, the world’s largest international aviation market, and the top European carrier across the North Atlantic. Together, with its joint business agreement, codeshare, and franchise partners, British Airways operates one of the world’s most extensive international airline networks. The airline flies to more than 70 different countries, carries 40 million+ customers per year, and maintains a fleet of nearly 300 aircraft. This summer, it will be operating close to 1,000 flights per day across four London airports. British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which together serves some 1,000 destinations across the globe.

To maintain its strong position in the market, British Airways will invest £6.5 billion over the next five years, adding 72 new aircraft to its fleet. The Club Suite is the highly anticipated new business class seat, available in Airbus A350 aircraft. It offers direct-aisle access, a suite door, 1-2-1 configuration and a flat-bed option. When combined with the extra space, calm and wellbeing of the A350, customers can feel truly rested on their flights.

This year, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Part of the year-round celebrations include repainting selected aircraft in a series of heritage liveries. The new retro design on the Airbus A319 is the BEA livery, which flew on European routes between 1959 and 1968.

Join WTCSD, British Airways and the finalists from this year’s MetroConnect program on Wednesday, November 13 at The Alexandria for the finale of this year’s program. Bitchin’ Sauce, Eddy Pump, LRAD Corporation, and Scientist.com will compete in a pitch competition for an additional $35,000 to further their export efforts. You can RSVP for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest here. We hope to see you there!

MetroConnect Year 4 cohort increases exports by $69M

Last summer, 20 San Diego-based companies were selected to participate in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s export assistance program—MetroConnect. Participants were equipped with a $10,000 grant and programmatic resources over the course of a year, with the intent of helping them access international markets and boost export sales.

The companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, these participating companies also added 97 jobs right here in San Diego–evidence that exporting can make businesses more dynamic and resilient back home.

After collecting initial results from this year’s cohort, WTC San Diego formed a MetroConnect Judging Committee to determine which four companies would be invited back to compete in the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest. On November 13, the pitch competition will award one company an additional $35,000 and deemed the grand prize winner of MetroConnect Year 4.

The four finalists:

  • Bitchin’ Sauce
    • A San Diego staple served at street fairs for years, the almond-based, gluten-free, Non-GMO and vegan sauce is great for veggies and a spread. Now available at retailers in San Diego and beyond.
  • Eddy Pump
    • An engineering and manufacturing company producing state-of-the-art material handling equipment for a multitude of industries including military, oil, mining, energy, and more across the globe.
  • LRAD Corporation
    • Manufacturer and developer of long-range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and distributed messaging systems, which allow users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety in a variety of applications for defense, law enforcement, and more.
  • Scientist.com
    • The world’s leading marketplace for sourcing scientific research services.

Congratulations to these companies on their success, and we look forward to seeing them make their pitch in November!

Details for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest

  • Who: 200+ attendees primarily within San Diego’s international business community (exporting companies, service providers, trade organizations, program stakeholders)
  • When: Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 – 5:30 PM
  • Where: The Alexandria at Torrey Pines and Farmer & the Seahorse
  • Why: This event marks the finale of MetroConnet 2018-2019 program. The audience and a judging panel (50/50 split) will vote for the grand prize winner to receive a $35,000 check, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase

Following the pitch competition, there will be a company showcase and reception at Farmer & the Seahorse. Learn more and get tickets for the event here.

MetroConnect company LRAD doubles workforce, relocates to new facility in Rancho Bernardo

Today, WTC San Diego and Congressman Scott Peters visited current MetroConnect company LRAD Corporation to tour its new, expanded facility in Rancho Bernardo. The new space will support LRAD as it doubles its workforce and fulfills an $11 million U.S. Army order for acoustic hailing devices – its largest contract on record.

Another example of an #SDlifechanging company: LRAD creates long range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and messaging systems that enable users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety.

Just a glimpse at @LRADX’s long range communication systems for use in emergencies, safety control and more.  #SDlifechanging #GlobalSD @NikiaClarke @RepScottPeters pic.twitter.com/WuQxbG9dkq

— WTC San Diego (@WTCSanDiego) October 18, 2018

And LRAD is taking its life-saving technology global. After a competitive process, WTC San Diego recently announced that LRAD is one of 20 local companies participating in our export accelerator program, MetroConnect. Over the next year, WTC will work closely with LRAD to help the company increase its export potential in European markets.

The company has seen extensive growth over the last decade, with a presence in 72 countries. This is a testament to the impact of LRAD’s mass notification technology – which is not only applicable to defense, law enforcement and public safety, homeland and border security agencies, but also helps with critical infrastructure protection, fire rescue, and much more all around the world.

Despite national rhetoric, data shows companies that are global pay higher wages, increase productivity in the domestic market, are less likely to go out of business, and spur more efficient R&D here at home. And now more than ever, it’s important that we step up to support local companies in sharing their life-changing innovation with the rest of the world.

Congratulations to LRAD, not just on its growth here at home, but its success abroad. Here’s to more to come.