San Diego’s “wide open space” of a startup community is starting to come into its own. Take San Diego Startup Week, a weeklong entrepreneurial conference downtown celebrating its fifth year June 19 through June 23. What started as a meeting of the minds among the city’s tech community in 2013 has grown into a cross-industry networking and educational summit that stretches from the Port Pavilion venue on Broadway Pier to the hip Quartyard on Market Street.
The first of these conferences was called Tech Week, and hosted just a few events for a handful of people. Attendance had soared to 3,000 by 2016; this year 150 events, 15 tracks, and an audience of 5,000 are expected, according to event spokeswoman Nicole Leandra. “This is the five-year anniversary and it’s the power of fives!” she says.
Broadening the scope beyond technology opened up the event to a whole new world of emerging businesses. New tracks this year include #FUTURESD, examining the latest in artificial intelligence and robotics, #GROWSD, to explore up-and-coming advancements in the budding cannabis field; and #CLEANSD, with a look at local ventures in sustainability and renewable energy.
Speakers this year include Brant Cooper, CEO and cofounder of San Diego consulting firm Moves the Needle as well as a New York Times best-selling author and TEDx keynoter; big-name software company executives Dan Tyre of HubSpot and Madelaine Daianu of Intuit; and Chelsea Kaufman, chief executive of San Diego web development boot camp Learn Academy.
The event organizer, Startup San Diego, has 501(c)(3) nonprofit status as of last summer, and has grown its volunteer ranks to some 300 local executives. They’re able to put on an event this big with the help of another local nonprofit, San Diego Venture Group.
Leandra says attendees get to mix business and pleasure, customizing an itinerary of speakers, workshops, and demos balanced with games, parties, and hackathons.
For more information, check out sandiegostartupweek.com or search for #sdsw.