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MetroConnect

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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August 12, 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. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


 

“See it. Do it. Prove it.”
 
According to a ManpowerGroup survey, one in three U.S. employers experience difficulty in filling positions. Portfolium is changing the way companies can connect and find qualified and talented individuals.
 
Portfolium gives students and other job seekers the opportunity to showcase the projects and creations on which they've worked to future employers. Instead of a static page where someone lists their work experience and education, Portfolium introduces a new and innovative way to present one’s capabilities and skills. 
 
"Portfolium is bridging the workforce skills gap by empowering and connecting students from 2,000+ universities with opportunities to discover, develop and prove their skills to employers,” said Adam Markowitz, founder & CEO at Portfolium. 
 
SMEs represent the vast majority of businesses in the region and are responsible for much of the innovation and job creation activity that propels our economy. 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, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Portfolium received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global. 
 
"We're incredibly thankful for the MetroConnect Prize, which has already helped broaden our reach and empower thousands of students across the globe,” said Markowitz. “By partnering with global universities and institutions, we're able to reach an even broader and more culturally diverse population making the jump from college to career.”
 
Portfolium currently exports its services to Spain, Mexico and Argentina. With the funds from MetroConnect, Portfolium aims to expand into the United Kingdom, Japan, China and other countries throughout North America, South America, and Asia. 
 
Global engagement is essential if San Diego wants to catalyze its economy and workforce. 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.


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August 5, 2015

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


Wearable Sensing

One of the most often misquoted facts about our brain is that we only use 10 percent of it. The original quote, from over 100 years ago, stated “the brain is so complex we only know what 10 percent of it is used for.”

Wearable Sensing’s technology aims to change this perception by expanding scientists’ understanding of the inner workings of the human brain.

Wearable Sensing manufactures and sells wearable, wireless, and dry sensor EEG brain activity monitoring systems. This technology, which was developed at San Diego-based Quantum Applied Science and Research (QUASAR), enables research grade EEG recording in real-world environments. From improving athletic performance for Red Bull professional surfers to mind-controlling robotic arms for arm wrestling to understanding traumatic brain injury in soldiers, Wearable Sensing’s monitoring systems have numerous applications.

As a San Diego-based company, Wearable Sensing is in one of the leading regions worldwide for the convergence of healthcare and wireless technology. Regional institutions and companies, such as UC San Diego, are creating products and devices that are changing the way healthcare is managed and distributed to patients.

“San Diego is a world leader in wireless telecommunications and one of the world leaders in the life sciences,” said Rob McCray, president & CEO at Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance and a MetroConnect Prize judge, in an interview with KPBS. “We are putting tools that enable people to take better care of their own health and even provide management of their health care.

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, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Wearable Sensing received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

“We receive inquiries from academic researchers and companies all around the world due to the reputation of our sensors,” said Walid Soussou, president at Wearable Sensing. “We see international distribution as key to our growth strategy.”

Wearable Sensing plans to spend the funding towards completing the necessary steps to receive the CE mark certification. Following the certification, the company will target the European market for expansion. It is currently developing opportunities in Latin America and will further develop contacts in the Asian market. 


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