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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


MetroConnect

July 9, 2019

Now in its fourth year, MetroConnect is World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, underwritten by JPMorgan Chase. Following a competitive application process, 15 to 20 export-ready, small and medium-sized businesses receive a $10,000 challenge grant and programmatic services to aid their international expansion efforts. During the course of one year, participating companies get access to complimentary services and preferred rates from program partners, as well as technical assistance trainings in areas such as data privacy, export compliance, supply chain, IP protection, and more.

For the fourth and final workshop of the program period, WTC partnered with MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN and consultant JAS Forwarding to host a two-part workshop focused on language translation and supply chain solutions. The first portion of the workshop titled, “The Language Traps of Going Global,” focused on the importance of selling in the local language and the contemporary software solutions available to small businesses. Ken Behan, vice president of sales and marketing, and Philip Staiger, technical account manager at SYSTRAN demoed SYSTRAN’s pure neural server and took questions from the companies in attendance.

The latter half of the workshop, presented by JAS Forwarding Worldwide, focused on “Freight Forwarding & Supply Chain Solutions.” Matt Halpin, business development manager at JAS Forwarding, and Tyler Sullivan, senior national account director at JAS Government & Defense, provided a synopsis of the logistics behind exporting/importing goods to and from the San Diego region.

The 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest will take place on November 13, 2019 at The Alexandria. The top four performing companies from this year’s cohort will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding to accelerate their international expansion efforts.

 

June 28, 2019

MetroConnect company Telaeris is a privately-owned San Diego company that develops RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) and contactless smartcards for businesses. RFIDs and its related products are important contemporary solutions for the efficient management of inventory and assets. RFIDs are also important in tracking the flow of people, as it is one of the basic technologies that make a security badge function.

In September of 2018, Telaeris was selected to be one of 20 participating companies in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s MetroConnect export assistance program. The company received a $10K grant, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase, as well as programmatic support in order to access international markets and boost export sales. Programmatic support included educational workshops, marketing and PR support, and access to preferred rates and discounts with airline and industry partners.

At the beginning of the 2018 program, WTC’s team connected Telaeris to MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN, to provide complimentary translation services for the nearly 100,000 lines of code the company needed modified.  Once the company had taken the SYSTRAN software as far as it could go, Telaeris used its $10k in grant funds to pay for expert human translators in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and more, to polish the code to ready it for market.

In April, the company attended a trade mission to the South of France with the Port of San Diego and WTC San Diego. There, the company was able to market its localized product to French electronic tracking company Coppernic. As a result, Telaeris was able to ink a deal and have eight Coppernic employees (six in Europe; two in Africa) trained to sell Telaeris’ enterprise technology, thereby expanding its sales capability to regions where it had never had a presence before. Additionally, this relationship has led to two potential deals (currently in the works) worth $25K each.

“The MetroConnect program, presented by JPMorgan Chase, has been an amazing catalyst to super-charge the way our company approaches international business development. Our company has been around for 14 years, but with the tools and resources provided through MetroConnect, we are now on track to target many large markets that make up the majority of the world that does not speak English. Capitalizing on these opportunities makes us a more resilient and prosperous company back home.”

– David Carta, CEO & President at Telaeris

 

November 13, 2018

During World Trade Center San Diego’s Trade Mission to Tokyo and Yokohoma, Japan,  Scientist.com, the world's leading marketplace for outsourced scientific services, announced it will expand to Japan, opening an office in Tokyo.

“Scientist.com has recently created enterprise marketplaces for several Japanese pharmaceutical companies,” stated Dan Kagan, PhD, Scientist.com’s Chief Operating Officer. “WTC San Diego’s trade mission will help Scientist.com continue its rapid expansion into the Asian-Pacific region.”
 
The San Diego-based ecommerce marketplace will open an office at the Nihonbashi Life Sciences building, where UC San Diego and other major life sciences companies also house international offices. Scientist.com has recently seen growth in its Japanese clientele; it currently operates marketplaces for several large Japanese pharmaceutical companies.
 
Japan is the third largest economy in the world and a hub for scientific research and exploration. It is also a top-five export market for San Diego goods and services.
 
Scientist.com has more than 70 employees worldwide. In addition to its San Diego headquarters, it also has offices in the UK and Boston. The Japanese expansion announcement comes on the heels of several accolades recognizing Scientist.com’s growth. In August 2018 Scientist.com was ranked #9 on the Inc. 5000 list of fasting-growing privately owned companies in the US.
 
Scientist.com is joining a San Diego delegation of local politicians, industry executives and academic leaders. The company is also one of twenty San Diego companies awarded a $10,000 grant as part of WTC San Diego’s MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program designed to help local companies accelerate their global growth.
November 1, 2018
Today as part of its local expansion, software startup Cloudbeds unveiled its new San Diego headquarters alongside Congressmember Scott Peters and San Diego Regional EDC. Reflective of its company culture and of the region’s innovative technology cluster, the company’s newly expanded office space is vibrant – chock-full of art, a game room, outdoor working space and picnic area, and a 12-foot willow tree and turf in its common area.
 
Founded in 2012 by native San Diegans and UC San Diego Rady School of Management MBA graduates Adam Harris and Richard Castle, the company creates cloud-based hospitality management software and employs nearly 25 in San Diego, with plans for further growth.
 
“We’re extremely proud of the team across the world for making our growth so far possible, and we plan to continue in a much bigger way,” said Adam Harris, CEO at Cloudbeds. “We plan to have grown by 50 percent globally over our current size at the end of 2019.”
 
Some of that growth will be focused in San Diego. Cloudbeds is currently looking to fill technical positions to support the continued development of its hospitality software. Additionally, Cloudbeds was recently selected to take part in MetroConnect 2018, an export assistance program run by World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) – an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC – and designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. Over the next year, Cloudbeds will work directly with WTC and EDC to expand into more global markets – specifically targeting India and Southeast Asia. The company currently supports 200 jobs across 28 countries.
 
“We’re thrilled Cloudbeds is expanding in San Diego. Its new headquarters is truly reflective of the region’s tech ecosystem – creative, innovative and collaborative," said Nikia Clarke, VP of Economic Development, San Diego Regional EDC. "As part of our MetroConnect program, EDC and WTC San Diego look forward to supporting Cloudbeds’ continued growth here and abroad.”
 
“Congratulations to Cloudbeds – a product of San Diego innovation that started right here at UCSD’s Rady School of Management. Their new headquarters fits right in with our top technology sector and thriving hospitality sector,” said Congressman Peters. “I’m proud to support growing startups, like Cloudbeds, that are changing the way we approach business solutions and I look forward to celebrating their success.”

 
October 18, 2018

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.

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.

 

October 17, 2018

Learn from the best, they say. For the third straight year, East County-based guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars generously played host to WTC San Diego and the 20 companies in this year’s MetroConnect program for a day-long export strategy workshop.

We kicked off the day with a tour of the company’s manufacturing operations, showcasing the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of every Taylor guitar. Then, the MetroConnect cohort was treated to lunch and an information session about global growth, IP protection and even corruption in the international marketplace. Taylor Guitars CFO Barbara Wight provided first-hand insight about how the company selects distributors and deals with IP issues. She described how the company effectively responds to inquiries and IP infringement, and helped the MetroConnect cohort think through how they might mitigate international risks for their companies. Taylor Guitars Director of Finance Bryan Bear then described the company's schema for prioritizing international markets and choosing an entrance strategy.

These workshops are among several support services provide to local SMEs as part the MetroConnect program.

 

September 26, 2018

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 20 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.

“Expanding San Diego’s global reach is vital to creating more local jobs for San Diegans and boosting our regional economy,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “The MetroConnect program and their growing companies are introducing innovative products and services to new international markets and sharing San Diego's story with the rest of the world."

From visual-aid tech startup Aira, to soap manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s, to top 10 Inc. 5000 company Scientist.com, the 2018 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

Now in its fourth program-year, the MetroConnect program equips small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services global. Program resources include:

  •  $10,000 in matching grants to cover up to 50 percent of the costs associated with international expansion, made possible by JPMorgan Chase and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and EDC’s 501(c)(3) Foundation
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Free export consulting with JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc. on ITAR/EAR regulations and other export activities; in-kind support by San Diego International Airpor
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and more
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo, and on Air Canada direct flights from San Diego to Canada. Assigned Lufthansa agent for direct flights from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany
  • Access to country representatives at the Japan External Trade Organization and the United Kingdom Government Office in San Diego
  •  Free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in June 2019

“JPMorgan Chase is proud to continue supporting the global expansion of San Diego businesses,” said Tim West, Executive Director and head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking practice in San Diego. “MetroConnect will empower these 20 local companies to grow in targeted international markets, and help them navigate many of the complex nuances of global business. MetroConnect’s track record speaks for itself, and we’re looking forward to seeing the program’s continued impact on the San Diego economy.”

Since the program’s debut in 2015, 45 MetroConnect alumni have collectively generated $15 million in new export sales, signed more than 116 new contracts, added 161 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen four successful company exits. Past participants include Calbiotech (now ERBA Diagnostics), Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (acquired by Human Longevity Inc.), Planck Aerosystems and many more.

“Amid increasing uncertainty over national trade policy, ensuring that local companies get the tools they need to be successful overseas is more important than ever.  We know that companies that export pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business, and become more competitive and resilient,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect program helps San Diego companies export their innovation around the world, which creates jobs and opportunities back here at home.”

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, it is more important than ever to support SMEs in going global. In 2015 alone, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. SMEs produce 92 percent of those goods – driving home the point of programs like MetroConnect. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.

For more information about MetroConnect, please visit MetroConnectSD.org.

The 2018 MetroConnect companies are:

1.       Aira

2.       Allett

3.       Arctic Zero, Inc.

4.       AtYourGate

5.       Bitchin' Sauce

6.       Cloudbeds

7.       Conectric Networks

8.       Dr. Bronner's

9.       Eddy Pump Corporation

10.   Epitope Diagnostics Inc.

11.   Hookit

12.   IPS Group Inc.

13.   KULR Technology Corp.

14.   LRAD Corporation

15.   MRP Training Solutions

16.   PKL Services

17.   Quality Controlled Manufacturing, Inc.

18.   Raveon Technologies Corporation

19.   Scientist.com

20.   Telaeris, Inc.


The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 20 companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international traction and more. This is up from just 15 companies in the first three years of the program. Applicants were assessed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Biocom, U.S. Commercial Service, Tech San Diego, Rough Draft Brewing, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC and WTC San Diego.

July 2, 2018

Are you a growing, San Diego-based company? Are you looking to expand into foreign markets? Or, are you a defense contractor looking to diversify revenue? San Diego Regional EDC can help.
 
Apply now to EDC's business support programs - MetroConnect and/or the Defense Innovation Voucher Program - which offer $10K-$15K grants and programmatic services to support your business' growth.

 
The details:
  • MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, is now in its fourth year. Made possible through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., small to mid-sized companies in San Diego will receive a $10K grant and programmatic services to assist with international expansion efforts. Learn more.
  • As part of the Department of Defense-funded Propel San Diego grant, the Defense Innovation Voucher Program will provide San Diego headquartered defense companies with $15K in consulting services in one of the following categories: marketing, strategic planning, accounting compliance, lean supply chain analysis and additive manufacturing, and certifications, as well as additional hands-on training for companies looking to diversify revenue. Learn more.
 
The application can be accessed here from July 2 - August 20, 2018.

 

June 8, 2018

World Trade Center San Diego, through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and more than 100 business and community leaders awarded the 2017-18 MetroConnect Grand Prize to CureMatch, a local digital health company focused on personalized medicine and oncology. The company will use the $35,000 award to take its life-saving technology into the Canadian, Mexican and European markets.

“Three years in, the success of the MetroConnect program points to the importance of global trade and connectivity,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director of World Trade Center San Diego, the organization administering the grants. “From securing distribution partnerships in Japan to inking deals in key biotech hubs across the EU, the MetroConnect Grand Prize finalists are sharing their life-changing innovation with the world, helping strengthen San Diego’s economy and workforce.”

Managed by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC, and presented by JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect Grand Prize offers $35,000 to one of 15 companies to aid in their foreign market expansion. The complete list of finalists can be found here.

The benefits of companies going global and engaging foreign markets are well-documented. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay their employees higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D.

In 2017 alone, San Diego exported $23.8 billion in goods and services from diverse industries including aircraft manufacturing to pharmaceutical R&D. Small- to medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods – undergirding the importance of programs like MetroConnect.

Now in its third year, MetroConnect has emerged as the region’s premier export assistance program. Run by World Trade Center San Diego, 15 companies are selected on an annual basis and equipped with a suite of programmatic and financial resources to help them in their plans to go global. Out of 50 applicants in 2017, just 15 San Diego companies were awarded the initial $10,000 MetroConnect grant, funded by JPMorgan Chase. Since the program’s inception in 2015, the cohort companies have produced an additional $15 million in export sales and 161 new jobs for the region, collectively.

A panel of judges consisting of business and community leaders reviewed the companies’ respective accomplishments and goals as a means of selecting the top four finalists to present at the Grand Prize event: CureMatch, FoxFury, Planck Aerosystems and Tioga Research.

“CureMatch is thrilled to win the Pitchfest, with special thanks to World Trade Center San Diego and JPMorgan Chase,” said Stephane Richard, Ph.D., president and CEO of CureMatch. “Cancer has no boundaries, so while CureMatch was born in San Diego, we believe that every one of the more than 15 million people diagnosed with cancer this year deserves the best treatment. This grand prize will help CureMatch save more lives around the world.”

“JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping local businesses connect to the global marketplace,” said Tim West, region manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking practice in San Diego. “We congratulate the finalists for their efforts to grow their businesses internationally while creating jobs and boosting our local economy.”

The Grand Prize event was hosted at Alexandria Real Estate on June 7, with keynote remarks by Matt Cole president, Cubic Transportation Systems and corporate senior vice president, Cubic Corporation. 

May 14, 2018

This month, it was announced that California had the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. Much of this growth is concentrated in the coastal metros which, of course, include San Diego. In an increasingly integrated economy, strategic global economic engagements are crucial to San Diego’s sustained economic competitiveness. By leveraging international exports and foreign direct investment (FDI), San Diego continues to create jobs, increase competitiveness, and boost the region’s global identity.

San Diego, with the help of its local leadership, has become an increasingly global city – one that engages with other metropolitan regions with similar interests and industries. These connections have led to an increase in trade missions, research and innovation partnerships, collaborations, venture funding, and other opportunities for local companies. This year, San Diego welcomed Lufthansa airlines as a direct flight carrier linking San Diego and Frankfurt. Lufthansa joins the ranks of Edelweiss, British Airways, and Japan Airlines in offering overseas nonstop service. These direct flights go a long way in easing both business and tourism travel which foster increased business flow and connect people around the world with San Diego’s world-class tourist sites, such as the San Diego Zoo. These direct flights and increased global connectivity have also done much to help San Diego’s budding companies do business both at home and overseas.

In just the past three years, 45 companies have graduated from MetroConnect, an export assistance program led by WTC San Diego. As we close out our most recent cohort, program participants have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits.

While the latest national rhetoric seems to suggest that trade is an evil word and something to be feared, San Diego traces some of its greatest successes to trade. Companies such as Viasat, Qualcomm, Cubic, and Illumina have all translated local innovation into global solutions – solutions that have catapulted San Diego onto the global stage and helped highlight the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that helps this region the life-changing place it is.

This week, WTC San Diego is proud to commemorate World Trade Week and highlight the ways in which San Diego is going global. We couldn’t be more proud of our companies, our people, and our innovations. Follow along in our week-long celebration at #WorldTradeWeek, and tell us what #GlobalSD means to you.

The World Trade Week concept was started in 1926 and first observed in 1927 in Southern California. World trade significantly contributes to the nation’s economy and has developed a vast new horizon for America’s businesses. To learn more about the history behind World Trade Week, visit: foreigntradeassociation.com/worldtradeweek.