Tag Archives: Connect

Forbes Ranks San Diego as #1 Startup Location in USA

Gaslamp District, San Diego

Gaslamp District, San Diego

If you live in San Diego like I do, this headline surprises you. San Diego, #1 startup location, really? Was there a mistake? If you live in Silicon Valley, you are probably saying the same thing as you wisp across a Fortune-500 tech campus on a Segway. Put your iPads down, folks, San Diego is trying to rid itself of the “sunshine discount” by creating a vibrant quality-of-life business community for boomers and millennials alike.

An article in Forbes earlier this month titled, The Best Places To Launch A Startup In 2014, gave SD startup gold using the following criteria:

  1. Small businesses as a percentage of total businesses.
  2. Percentage of small businesses that accept credit cards.
  3. Percentage of small businesses in high growth industries.
  4. Percentage of small businesses with Facebook pages and websites.
  5. Percentage of businesses with online reviews.

As a freelance consultant with more clients in Latin America than in San Diego, I often gripe about the need to have a more robust community here locally. I remember past conversations with friends and mentors where, after a trip to SXSW, I’d say, “Have you been to Austin lately? Now they are doing it right!”; or “Seattle is the place to be right now as a young entrepreneur.” Now, after reading this article, I am saying to myself, “There is a lot of good happening right here at home! Maybe I should check the surf a bit less and pay closer attention to the temperature of the SD business community.” Since my background is in international affairs, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility there is a strong professional pull to Sacramento, San Francisco, DC,  New York, and (in my case) Rio de Janeiro. My goal is still to make San Diego my home base — which makes mom and dad happy up in Oceanside. For any young professional in San Diego, I believe patience and creativity on the professional front will provide big returns in the long run… and the timing is right.

Despite our Port, our proximity to the border with Mexico, our industries (defense, bio, tourism, beer making, renewables, etc), and our weather; I’d still say San Diego punches below its entrepreneurial weight. Yet, there is a real sense of a turning point. I remember when Nathan Fletcher was running for mayor after Hugs-Too-Much Filner got canned. Nathan proposed San Diego change its name to hint at something more innovative than America’s Finest City. “FINE” sounds like “ok”; but truth be told, we are doing exceptionally well.

America’s exceptional city is creating a gravitos thanks to organizations like CONNECT, CleanTECH San Diego, The San Diego Venture Group, CommNexus, UC San Diego, SDSU, and the list goes on. We’ve also got a pair of Fortune-500 HQs — Qualcomm and Sempra — as well as a benevolent global NGO called Project Concern International and a wonderful, community-focused institution called The San Diego Foundation. My favorite international environmental organization,  Citizens Climate Lobby, was founded and is headquartered here in Coronado Island just outside downtown San Diego. I volunteer for them about as much as I receive paid work for my clients, seriously.

(On a side note: I was saddened to see Nathan lose in his electoral bid for mayor, but am encouraged by what he did next: He took a trip to put it all behind him and got back to doing his innovative work for Qualcomm and UC San Diego.)

Here’s the list of other top cities:

  1. San Diego
  2. Denver
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Seattle
  5. Portland, OR
  6. San Francisco
  7. Dallas, TX
  8. Boston
  9. New York City
  10. Chicago

Well, that’s it for now. It’s 75 degrees and sunny. Time for a quick surf before I get back to work. Maybe I’ll see Craig Venter out in the water 😉

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Green Week Ahead (Mar 05 – Mar 11)

Last week was productive. I met some great entrepreneurs that are creating solutions to problems – both known and unbeknownst to us. I encountered everything from your traditional internet startups to the high-efficiency human-powered lawnmower, or a form air-to-submersible transportation (a lá George Jetson), among many other ideas. Though I am not involved in any of these ventures, 2 tech entrepreneurs and I formed a team that will compete in the AT&T App Challenge San Diego. Stay tuned on that one.

Enough about last week, here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Mar 05

At 5:30pm at UCSD’s IR/PS, Greg Horowitt, CONNECT Foundation board member, founding partner of T2 Ventures and co-founder of Global CONNECT, has joined his T2 partner Victor Hwang to co-author a new book tackling the difficult issue of why some regions over others thrive with innovation. Their book The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

Mar 06

The San Diego Solar Energy Symposium starts at 1:00pm located at USD.

What is a b Corp? “Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” If you want to learn more, join me and others at 5:30pm at the Ansir Innovation Center.

Mar 07

Renewable Energy Professionals San Diego will socialize during happy hour – 6pm – at The Spot in La Jolla to talk shop. Let me know if you want further details.

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and meet new people… They’ll teach you something new.

Green Week Ahead (Feb 27 – Mar 04)

It looks like this will be an entrepreneurial week for me, as our budding community of innovative businessmen and businesswomen convene for a couple cool events.

Here’s what I am planning to attend. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment!!!

Wed Feb 29

San Diego Tech Coffee from 9-10am at the Pannikin in Del Mar. The group’s organizer, Brant Cooper, says “The idea for this group is a ‘working’ meetup, i.e., not a networking event. Come share your ideas, talk ‘lean startup’ and ‘customer development’, demo products, etc., but also roll up your sleeves and get to work in a collegial, coffee-shop environment.”

Tech Coast Angels hosts Meet the Angels from 6-9pm.“Mintz Levin invites you to join us for Tech Coast Angels’ ‘Meet the Angels’, an incredible opportunity for private investors and entrepreneurs to connect. If you are a financier looking for an exceptional investment opportunity, or a startup company in need of capital to bring your idea to market, there is no better place to find it than at this exclusive meet and greet. Dozens of cutting-edge companies with great new ideas and products will be in attendance, and to make those products a reality, they are looking to the Angels. Especially in today’s economy, an event like this one–with unprecedented access to investors and entrepreneurs alike– is not to be missed.” Unfortunately, I believe registration is already closed and the event is full. For those of you not attending, I will be sharing interesting ideas and info via my twitter feed (@JarrodMRussell).

In a recent meeting with Duane Roth, CEO of Connect, we talked about many things. During our conversation, he took the time to explain the concept of dilution as it relates to shares in a young, fast-growing company. I am eager to talk shop and increase my start-up IQ this week. With our great universities and industry clusters (e.g. biotech, solar, etc.), one wonders when we will see an entrepreneurial and investment community that challenges Silicon Valley. Maybe it already does… and I just don’t know it yet. I look forward to finding out.

Thur Mar 01

I will be meeting with Jess Ponting, Director of SDSU’s Center for Surf Research. As a surfer with extensive travel in Latin America, Indonesia, and Africa, I believe in the Center’s Vision: “Surfing’s impact on the world is entirely positive. By incorporating principles of sustainable tourism, surf tourism promotes healthy lifestyles and is a key driver for the environmental, social/cultural, and economic well being of destinations.” Though I know my greenhouse gas emissions to get to these destinations is not positive, I like to think that the role I played as an ambassador to the sport and our country have positively impacted the communities I visited. Judging from his bio, Jess sounds like a great guy and — whether we are talking about where to find better barrels or how to build sustainable communities — I am sure we’ll have plenty of stories to exchange. 



Green Week Ahead (Feb 13-19)

Well, last week was a whirlwind. I attended both the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) and the CADEM 2012 convention. I was at the Hilton Bayfront and the SD Convention Center everyday. Hence, my tardiness in this post. Additionally, it looks like there is simply less going on in town this week. I have a few personal meetings lined up, but not many big events like the week before.

Here’s what I (attended and) am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment!!!

Feb 13

Grid Alternatives Orientation from 3-5pm. If you are interested in helping to install solar panels for a family in need, you must attend this orientation (offered regularly). Check out the organization’s webpage for details regarding upcoming events.

Feb 15

I’m heading over to the local offices of Itron, a “leading provider of energy and water resource management solutions for nearly 8,000 utilities around the world. We offer end-to-end solutions that include electricity, gas, water and thermal energy measurement and control technology; communications systems; software; and professional services. With nearly 9,000 employees doing business in 130 countries, Itron empowers utilities to responsibly and efficiently manage energy and water resources.”

Feb 17

I’ll be visiting Duane Roth and his entrepreneurial team at Connect to see who’s driving innovation in our region. “CONNECT is focused on delivering the fundamental programs that the innovation community depends upon.  At the same time the organization is creating new services to meet the needs of the evolving economic and policy landscape and the new clusters that are developing within the region.  Challenges include attracting investment capital and engineering and experienced management talent.”