> Startup San Diego

Helping to lead charge, but also on the broader community to come together to lift the region up

Back in 2013, San Diego’s leading tech hub status was not well known, so a group of entrepreneurs came together to lay the groundwork for a vibrant early stage tech startup ecosystem. The result was the first San Diego Startup Week, launched by local tech leaders Brant Cooper, Eric Otterson, Phelan Reissen, Al Bsharah, Mel Gordon, Austin Neudecker, and Tim Ryan. The goal was not to be a standalone event, but more of a platform to allow organizations or communities to bring their respective ecosystems together to coincide. That first Startup Week partnered with the San Diego Venture Group’s Venture Summit, where 200 founders came together for over 10 events for education, mentoring, and socializing.

After a successful first year, the team looked at who was missing from the conference and realized that as companies grew each year, the content needed to as well, enabling anyone in a startup or any tech company to come out and learn and enrich themselves at the pace that each company needed to hit growth metrics. This was the birth of skills-based tracks which has enabled Startup Week to grow each year to the 3,000-to-4,000 person conference it is today.

Another focus of growth is inclusivity. As the non-profit Startup San Diego formed out of that first Startup Week, it was important that the organization represented the entrepreneurial community and enabled access to communities that didn’t normally get access to startup education. Communities like military veterans, under represented entrepreneurs, students, Tijuana, North County San Diego, and industries like craft beverages, defense, biotech, and more were all given seats at the table as board members and content creators. In doing so, Startup Week strives to capture data that enables the understanding of bringingcommunities together holistically and inclusively.

In 2018, Startup San Diego hired its first Executive Director to further grow the organization and the local startup community

Startup San Diego has also added other events throughout the year to keep the momentum going, such as 1st Mondays, a monthly meetup that encourages strategic relationship building among entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activists at a local hotspot in San Diego. Meanwhile, the monthly 3rd Mondays meetup provides attendees with an opportunity to hear directly from a local service provider.

The nonprofit will launch a new annual event in Fall 2020 called Convergence, which will unite businesses at every stage of maturity that are looking to expand and actively participate in recruiting San Diego talent and service providers.

Start Up San Diego – now made up of company founders, investors, innovators, mentors and students – continues to foster an innovation economy and build a thriving startup scene. But the organization can’t do this alone. The future of the startup ecosystem depends on organizations like Startup San Diego helping to lead charge, but also on the broader community to come together to lift the region up. In the unique spirit of San Diego’s tech community, the future is collaboration and it’s bright.

Startup San Diego

550 W. B Street, 4th floor
San Diego, CA 92101, United States

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