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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


MetroConnect

October 29, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series which will feature one company every week that received the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase


The digital health industry is on the brink of rapid growth.

One in five people in the world now own a smartphone. By 2016, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion. Although most people are familiar with using smart phones to text message, check emails, or play games, the ubiquity of smartphone technology has allowed for transformative advances in many fields, not the least in healthcare and medicine. 

Entra Health, a San Diego-based mobile health IT company, capitalizes on smartphone technology to bring to patients and healthcare providers a system to monitor and communicate about patients’ health.

“We provide a suite of technology solutions and services,” said Richard C. Strobridge, CEO and co-founder of Entra Health, “[Our services] range from our own FDA Class II software platform through to our comprehensive one-stop shopping for remote patient monitoring, telemedicine and mobile health devices.”

Entra Health integrates wireless technology with healthcare needs. The company’s expertise in worldwide medical device regulations have also propelled their devices into an international standard.

“Foreign markets have always posed a unique strategic advantage for Entra Health,” said Strobridge. “Our strategy from the beginning was to get as many international regulatory approvals for our medical device product as possible.  This strategy has allowed us to become the de facto glucose meter for clinical trials worldwide.”

With the MetroConnect prize, Entra Health used the funds for sales development, regulatory submissions, patent development, and travel to develop business partnerships in South Korea, China, Australia, and Germany.

“We plan to continue with our strategy of strengthening our intellectual property position, complete platform licensing strategy in Australia, and complete regulatory submissions […] in Australia, Europe, and Mexico,” said Strobridge. “The MetroConnect prize has given us an added sense of pride and affirmation of Entra Health's core mission of keeping people healthier while decreasing the financial burden of chronic disease.”

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as Entra Health received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.


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October 23, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Over the past two decades, Asia has risen dramatically as a global economic powerhouse. With increased economic power, many Asian countries have also experienced increased population growth, increased household income, and higher life expectancy. 

Global companies are investing heavily in Asia in research and manufacturing, and while Asia was once seen as a place to outsource manufacturing and production, it is increasingly becoming a major R&D hub in its own right. Asia’s pharmaceutical industry is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. A recent report by the Economic Intelligence Unit noted that regional pharmaceutical sales have reached $214 billion in 2010, and is expected to hit $386 billion in 2016.

The number of players in the global pharmaceutical industry is rising. However, there are still several barriers that prevent the industry from truly coming together.

IriSys, LLC, a San Diego-based contract pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing company, aims to bridge the gap between Asia’s pharmaceutical firms and the U.S. market.

“We see the Asian markets, especially China and Japan, as areas where we can find new companies needing our services here in the U.S.,” said Gerald J. Yakatan, chairman and CEO of IriSys. “We are an important provider of services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies wishing to develop products to meet FDA standards in the United States. It is our view that drug discovery is becoming a world-wide effort, and that new drugs will emerge from improved basic drug discovery research occurring in Asia.”

With the richness of R&D efforts of Asian pharmaceutical companies, it is no wonder that the U.S. has now become the untapped market. IriSys is part of a globally collaborative movement that will expand access to pharmaceutical developments and enable companies to fulfill regulatory requirements in the U.S..

With the MetroConnect funds, IriSys plans to augment business development efforts in China and Japan.

“IriSys will be using the funds from the MetroConnect Award to further our on-going efforts to develop business in Asia,” said Yakatan.  “We have already translated our website into Mandarin, attended scientific conferences in both Japan and China, and will try to set up a business development office in Shanghai, China in 2016 to help create awareness of our capabilities.”

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as IriSys received $10,000 in grants to assist with their next step going global.

 


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October 16, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Earlier this week, EDC released the Economic Impact of San Diego’s Research Institutions. The study found that the region’s non-profit research institutions impact roughly 37,000 jobs and have a combined economic impact of $4.6 billion. This equates to hosting 34 Comic-Cons or 33 U.S. Open Golf Championships every year.

 “When it comes to the strength of the region’s life sciences cluster, San Diego has long been a top competitor with other cities across the globe,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “However, no other region has the strength and depth of San Diego's research institutions. As our recent study shows, San Diego-based research is not only leading the way in terms of scientific discovery, but it is also driving company growth and creating jobs.”

Although the industry affects jobs and provides a significant economic impact, it does not tell the whole story. The tech transfer and commercialization of the research produced at these institutions is significant to region’s strong life sciences cluster, ranking 4th as a global life sciences hub by Jones Lang LaSalle.

One prime example of this commercialization of technology is MetroConnect winner AirStrip’s wireless heart rate monitor system for babies and their mothers – Sense4Baby. The Sense4Baby platform was originally researched at the West Health Institute, who then licensed the technology to Sense4Baby, Inc. Then, in 2014, AirStrip acquired the assets of Sense4Baby and has since been featured in the Apple product launch to showcase how wireless devices like the Apple Watch can utilize AirStrip-developed platforms to enable doctors to remotely monitor patients.

“San Diego provides a perfect location to easily connect globally, and is known for many biotech startup companies,” said Alan Portela, CEO at AirStrip. “The region provides access to a number of world-class research institutes.”

The success of small businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as AirStrip received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

“The MetroConnect prize funds provided to date are now being used by the AirStrip Sense4Baby team to help identify supply chain cost savings, and will be applied to raise the international profile of Sense4Baby over the long term,” said Portela. “The resulting economic effect was immediate, lowering the cost of assembling, packaging and shipping the final product by 90%. In addition, the funds have been earmarked for language translation of the Sense4Baby page on the AirStrip website and of funding the translation of its Sense4Baby collateral into Dutch, French and Chinese for use by its international sales and distribution partners.

Since the acquisition of Sense4Baby, AirStrip has announced distribution agreements with partners in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It is further targeting China and the Netherlands.


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October 2, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Surgeons carving and printing replica human ears. Bakers building edible delicacies from their computer. Doctors deploying printed materials to replace a man’s skull.

This isn’t science fiction anymore. These are actual examples of the capabilities of 3D printing.

According to Wohlers Report 2015, the 3D printing industry grew at a compound annual rate of 35.2 percent to $4.1 billion in 2014. Additionally, the industry is expected to grow to $12.8 billion by 2018, and exceed $21 billion in worldwide revenue by 2020.

However, due to the high priced systems, not many students or entrepreneurs have access to these systems.

“Back in 2011, we looked around and instead of forking up $2000 for a personal 3d printing machine, we decided to build one ourselves,” said Braydon Moreno, CEO at ROBO 3D, in an interview.

The idea that he and his team can create a more affordable 3D printer spawned the creation of ROBO 3D. With support from the region’s strong robotics and tech industries, ROBO 3D has experienced major growth over the last few years.

“San Diego is the foundation by which we began building this company,” said Moreno. “We engaged with numerous San Diego based companies early on such as CONNECT and the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator program to help us gain traction and further boost the credibility of our company and brand.”

Having a globally recognized brand has opened many doors for ROBO 3D – targeting Germany, the United Kingdom, and France for its international expansion. In using the funds from the MetroConnect Prize, ROBO 3D is establishing a beachhead operation in Europe, opening a new division to gain a larger share of the market.  

The success of small businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as ROBO 3D received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.


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September 24, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Living in San Diego, businesses and its employees are fortunate to have the highest quality of life – with more than 3,055 hours of year round sunshine, access to nationally recognized beaches, and touted as one of the healthiest cities in the nation. San Diegans are able to go surfing in morning, go to work during the day, and make a tee time just before dinner.

Due in part because of the region’s high quality of life, San Diego’s Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry cluster is one of the most concentrated among major metropolitan regions in the U.S. In the economic impact study released by EDC in 2013, SAL in San Diego represented more than 1,200 businesses and approximately 23,000 employees.

No wonder that VAVi Sport & Social is quickly becoming one of the most prominent sport league and social event organizers in the nation. VAVi’s beginnings were in creating and carrying out sports leagues around the county – from kickball to dodgeball to soccer. Soon VAVi began to organize large scale events – like the Del Mar Mud Run, taking place this weekend for its 6th consecutive year, and the Ridiculous Obstacle Course (ROC) race.

In February of this year, VAVi announced it would be partnering with Endemol, the producers of “Wipeout”, to organize and promote the WIPEOUT Run. Now the new ROC race, WIPEOUT Run has more than quadrupled the size of VAVi in the last two years.

“In terms of size, WIPEOUT Run is 80 percent of our business,” said Steve Stoloff, CEO of VAVi, in an interview with ABC 10.

And the next step for VAVi?

“VAVi is bringing its hit 5k obstacle series, ROC Race, to Australia,” said Stoloff. “The funds from MetroConnect will support our marketing and business development efforts in Melbourne and Sydney.”

Demand in Australia for the ROC race has been off the charts. According to Stoloff, “…the race sold out in less than 72 hours and we are getting ready to launch an additional day.”

The success of region’s small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as VAVi Sport & Social received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

 


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September 18, 2015


This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


The wireless broadband industry contributed more than $146 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2011. It was responsible for 2.8 percent of all U.S. employment – 3.8 million jobs, directly and indirectly. When ranked among the largest industries in the world, wireless broadband would rank 46th, as measured by GDP – larger than publishing, agriculture, and motor vehicle manufacturing.

San Diego’s longstanding strength in the wireless and information technologies makes it the ideal place for the convergence of the healthcare and wireless industries. Aventyn, a digital health company specializing in cloud connected clinical information, is a company that represents this convergence. Its technology provides many solutions through medical imaging, analytics and genome reporting for health providers, pharma-life sciences, pharmacogenetics, and population health management.

“San Diego has been at the forefront of innovations in wireless technology, genomics, and biotech for decades,” said Michael LoVullo, vice president of integrated health solutions at Aventyn. “With the convergence of these significant industries, expertise and knowledge, in collaboration with our health systems, we are able to accelerate the innovation cycle in personalized medicine.”

It is because of small- and medium-sized companies that San Diego’s life sciences industry ranks fourth in the U.S. The success of these firms is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as Aventyn received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

Aventyn plans to target the European market for its international expansion – specifically Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. These are important markets for the wireless health industry since, according to Recon Analytics, the European Union (EU) “…wireless penetration continues to outpace the U.S., with the EU reaching 126.2 percent at the end of 2009 and the U.S. reaching 102.4 percent penetration in June 2011.”

“Currently, our remote monitoring and integrated disease management platform serves several thousands of patients in the U.S., Sweden, and India,” said LoVullo. “We continue to expand in Europe and the Middle East with strategic regional health system partners and globally recognized distributors.”

September 11, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


“San Diego is every sports and active lifestyle company’s ideal location,” said Lisa Freedman, former executive director of SD Sport Innovators. “While there are other important and larger verticals in San Diego, the sports and active lifestyle cluster is a very strong community where authenticity goes hand in hand with innovation. As a result, people around the globe not only purchase and use, but they also rely on products developed and manufactured right here in Southern California.”

San Diego’s sports and active lifestyle (SAL) manufacturing is the most concentrated industry among major metropolitan regions in the U.S. In an economic impact study released by EDC in 2013, the sports and active lifestyle industry in San Diego represented more than 1,200 business and approximately 23,000 employees. These companies had a direct economic impact of $1.35 billion and accounted for 1.3 percent of San Diego’s 2011 economyequivalent to hosting four Super Bowls every year.

Bounce Composites, an Oceanside-based company, is one of these 1,200 businesses that capitalize on San Diego’s strong SAL industry.

“First of all, we really like living here. It's pretty hard to beat it,” said James Hedgecock, founder & general manager at Bounce Composites. “On a more business-oriented note, San Diego is an amazing area for composites manufacturing as well as the sporting goods market, two industries in which Bounce is deeply invested. In addition, the proximity of Baja California's manufacturing community for the production of some products and applications cannot be ignored.”

Bounce Composites designs, engineers, and manufactures high-quality and durable composite goods for multiple industries including wind energy, automotive, aerospace, and sporting goods. Its stand up paddleboards (SUPs), produced under the brand Bounce SUP, is its largest revenue generator. Bounce SUP’s patented design allows for serious performance and usage while maintaining a minimal environmental footprint. 

Driven by startup activity, the success of San Diego’s small- and medium-sized SAL companies is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Bounce Composites received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

“The recent grant money we were awarded assisted in the implementation of outreach programs within social media websites for domestic and foreign export growth,” said Hedgecock. "Encouragingly, we are experiencing a high return on the international targets within our current marketing plan.”


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September 4, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JP Morgan Chase,  a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


“Global SaaS software revenues are forecasted to reach $106B in 2016, increasing 21 over projected 2015 spending levels.” - Louis Columbus, contributor, Forbes

According to Cisco®’s Global Cloud Index, “By 2018, more than three quarters (78 percent) of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers…22 percent will be processed by traditional data centers.” The growth of cloud-based systems over the next three to five years will be exponential, leading many companies to implement these technologies into their companies for ease of use.

One sector which could benefit from this technology is the healthcare industry, giving  hospitals the opportunity to seamlessly integrate data into the patient experience . Data management from drug treatments and lifestyle can be streamed in real-time to a doctor.

Enter VisionTree Software’s Optimal Care platform.

VisionTree was founded more than 12 years ago by its current CEO, Martin Pellinat. VisionTree is a leader in data collection, workflow integration, and cross platform applications for improved quality and efficiency of the communication, decision making, and planning processes within the healthcare system.

Pellinat and his team have worked with many of San Diego’s innovative medical centers with the VisionTree software. They have worked with the Scripps Proton Therapy Center to improve its workflow for its leading edge cancer treatment program, and UC San Diego’s health system for both research and clinical use for patient-centered outcomes.

“San Diego is known for medical, life sciences and technology innovations,” said Pellinat. “It is because of this, that VisionTree continues to attract a leading software engineering team to work at its headquarters in San Diego.”

The success of the region’s small- and medium-sized companies is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as VisionTree received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

VisionTree is using the MetroConnect funds to expand its software platform to deliver an interoperable solution with all electronic health records in international markets. This integration allows the software to be used more effectively.

“VisionTree is focused on the Australia and European markets,” said Pellinat. “Certain markets are launching national cancer registries and the VTOC platform has been proven in the U.S. with its data-collection elements and workflow system (e.g. prostate, breast, lung, brain) for scalable, multi-center, cloud-based deployments in these new global markets."


 

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August 26, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets and made possible by JPMorgan Chase. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


“Are Qualcomm layoffs a disaster for San Diego….” asks Jeff Belk, founder and chairman of Velocity Growth, in a recent Xconomy article. “I don’t think so. Even though this will be very hard for those laid off and their families, it could end up being a watershed moment on a community level.”

Qualcomm’s layoffs – although numbers are unknown for the San Diego region – potentially mean that thousands of “…highly skilled employees across a broad range of disciplines are going to re-enter the job market.” These employees can fill positions at tech companies in San Diego looking for engineering and programming talent. These employees can reapply their skills and work in the life sciences and biotechnology industries assisting in genomic sequencing. These employees can start their own companies and create new technologies that shape the way we interact with our surroundings.

Although he was not laid off, in the case of Erik Bjontegard, former corporate R&D executive at Qualcomm, he did just that – launch his own company, Total Communicator Solutions.

Total Communicator Solutions (TCS) develops innovative, fully integrated mobile marketing communication platforms and customized applications to help clients connect with users, customers and future users in meaningful and measurable ways on mobile devices. Utilizing state-of-the-art beacon technology, TCS’ marketing platform, SparkCompass, enables the delivery of customized and relevant content for real-time consumer engagement.

“San Diego is an important base for us as we are still recognized as a telecom hi-tech innovation center,” said Bjontegard. “If we leverage this, focus on the differences between Silicon Valley’s software focus, and leverage Qualcomm's recognized global leadership in MOBILE - we may be able to put a flag in the sand and capture a leadership role in mobility.”

The success of the hi-tech industry’s small- and medium-sized companies is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Total Communicator Solutions received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

Total Communicator Solutions (TCS) currently operates in Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. By using the MetroConnect funds, TCS hopes to expand its technology across Europe and Asia. It recently completed a proof of concept installation at a EuroCup qualifying match in Oslo, Norway. Due to the successful display, the Norwegian National Soccer Federation is showcasing the reports and videos with many international soccer federations. TCS hopes to have partners in Manchester, London, and Barcelona.

“We are targeting Europe first because their advanced use of mobile smart devices and smart city initiatives,” said Bjontegard. “Barcelona is the world leading Smart City, London has its Tech City, Manchester has MediaCity and in Norway the whole country is going mobile by digitizing their national broadcast network and abolishing all POTs (Plain Old Telephone) lines next year.”


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August 19, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets and made possible by JPMorgan Chase. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


“The future of water is going to be turbulent for all of us — not far away, but right where we live; not in some distant decade, but next month or next spring. A sense of water insecurity is coming to many places that have never had a water worry.” – Charles Fishman, “How California is Winning the Drought”, New York Times

Water. The world’s most precious resource. It is the fuel of manufacturing and the embodiment of craft beer. It is the heartbeat of international trade and the platform for mass entertainment.

Lately, this resource has been incredibly scarce across the globe, especially in California. However, the innovation coming out of government and business has begun to address this dire need; for instance, Israel overcame its lack of water by building desalination plants. Six years later, Israel is no longer “drying up”. In 2014, Saudi Arabia began construction on the world’s largest desalination plant. Not only is San Diego building the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere in Carlsbad, it is also the world leader in the technology that is enabling these countries to build such important devices that bring potable sea water to the masses.

“San Diego County was the ‘birthplace’ of the commercialization of spiral wound reverse osmosis membrane technology,” said Dr. Gil Dhawan, founder and CEO at Applied Membranes. “Our company, started here and this area is a very desirable place to be – having local access to talented individuals and knowledgeable customers, we can design and manufacture the best available water treatment solutions.”

Reverse osmosis membranes separate the impurities in water to create filtered water, which people can drink or companies can use to manufacture craft beer.

Dr. Dhawan worked extensively with Dr. Sourirajan, the inventor of the first commercial reverse osmosis membranes. After working with one of the industry’s founding fathers, Dr. Dhawan started his own company. Headquartered in Vista, Applied Membranes is a manufacturer and distributor of water filtration systems and components that revolve around this technology.

With more than 175 employees in the region and more than 30 years of experience, Applied Membranes is one of the most global companies in San Diego. It currently does business in North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and many other regions around the world.

San Diego’s maritime industry is one of the largest in the U.S. The success of the industry’s small- and medium-sized companies is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Applied Membranes received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

“We are using the money for targeted travel to Japan and China to set up meetings with prospective customers/distributors and to attend trade shows,” said Dr. Dhawan. “We believe that both countries represent growth markets for our products.”

 


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