Some think it’s San Diego Startup Week. Some think it’s BIO week. Maybe we can all agree that it is Innovation Week in San Diego?
Startup Week San Diego begins today with five full days of panels, speakers, and social events. In its fifth year, it is the biggest Startup Week to date with 15 tracks and more than 250 events.
Also kicking off today is the BIO International Convention, a global gathering of the biotech industry, also happening in downtown San Diego.
San Diego #1 in the U.S. for Genomics Patents
One of the biggest stories out of BIO today will be the release of a report on the San Diego genomics industry from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. The first economic impact study done on San Diego’s genomics cluster, the study ranked San Diego the number two genomics market in the country behind Boston and ahead of San Francisco and San Jose. The study showed that San Diego leads the way when it comes to genomics patents, receiving 371 patents between 2014 and 2016.
“Twenty years ago, healthcare meant treating an ailment as it arose. Today, thanks to research and scientific discovery, personalized medicine has enabled us to predict and potentially combat disease and illness. And San Diego is leading this charge,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO of the San Diego Regional EDC.
The criteria used to rank include innovation, talent and growth. The top life sciences U.S. metros were ranked and San Diego overall was number two, reaching second for talent, third in innovation and fourth in growth. The report points to three key areas for San Diego’s success.
First is leadership, with more than 115 genomics-related firms that represent every part of the genomics value chain, in addition to research institutions where the fundamental scientific research takes place. Second is the capital to fund the industry and its research. San Diego received 22%, $292 million, of the venture capital funding in genomics in 2016. Additionally, San Diego received $38 million in federal funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, more than any other region. The third area is talent. According to the study, San Diego produces more genomics-ready graduates, relative to the size of its workforce, than any other region, with close to 2,000 genomics-related degrees earned each year. Because of this the report projects that the talent pool for genomics will grow by 10% by 2021.
Today presented a unique opportunity to tout the report and San Diego’s industry strength at BIO while the global life sciences community is right here in our backyard.
How To Do Startup Week
If you are new to Startup Week or overwhelmed by all the events and opportunities, don’t fear. We have an expert’s guide to Startup Week for you. We asked two local startup veterans to offer their best advice for making the most of Startup Week. Scot Chisholm, CEO and co-founder of Classy, and Stephan Goss, CEO and co-founder of Zeeto, both had some solid guidance on what to do and not to do as you experience the week full of events.
How long have you or someone from your company been attending Startup Week?
Chisholm: We’ve been involved since the beginning by opening up our office to the Startup Crawl, and I’ve spoken on panels the past few years. This year I’m speaking on the topic “Sh*t Startup Founders Don’t Talk About,” and we’re excited to welcome attendees to our downtown office once again during the Startup Crawl.
Goss: Five years. I have participated on panels and in other events and Zeeto has hosted the Startup Crawl in years past.
What are the biggest success stories you have from Startup Week?
Goss: Startup Week is great for meeting people and making connections. There’s no better event to get to know fellow entrepreneurs and find out what companies are out there. I’ve witnessed several companies that didn’t even know each other existed, ending up collaborating on business ventures.
Chisholm: For a company like Classy, as we look to take our growth to the next level, participating in SDSW events helps us attract top talent and stay rooted in the San Diego community — even as our presence continues to grow globally.
What events are the most productive to attend during Startup Week?
Chisholm: If anyone is looking to start their own business in San Diego or even join one of the already-existing startups, then all of the events are useful and engaging. The speaker panels are one-of-a-kind and give attendees a glimpse into what it’s really like to embark on a startup journey in San Diego, and the Startup Crawl is a unique way for the community to engage directly with the local startups that inspire them.
Goss: The Tech Crawl is super productive. Introduce a little alcohol in the mix and everyone’s guard instantly melts away. You end up meeting so many interesting people and learning about their backgrounds — all while visiting some of San Diego’s coolest companies. If you are a more introverted person, no worries, just wait until stop number three on the trek and you’ll be chatting it up in no time.
What other tips do you have for young companies attending Startup Week? How do you get the most out of it?
Chisholm: San Diego Startup Week provides a perfect platform for startups to engage the local community and spotlight some of the exciting work they’re doing right here in San Diego. There are so many different ways to be involved — from speaking on a panel to opening up your office for the Startup Crawl — so it’s important that you go all in on whichever events you decide to run with. It’s one of those opportunities where you get out what you put in, so it’s worth devoting the right resources for the week to ensure you reach the goals you set when deciding to participate.
Goss: Each year there are more events than the last. My recommendation would be to divide and conquer. If it’s just you and another co-founder, split up and attend different events. That way you will meet twice as many people, giving you twice the likelihood of finding an opportunity.
What do you wish more people did during Startup Week?
Goss: Attend an event outside their comfort zone or scope of work. I think people would be surprised what they learn or who they could meet by attending a different trek.
Chisholm: For job seekers, find the most relevant person in each startup to connect with, don’t just go for the top. For example, if you’re an engineer, try and network with another engineer at the company or an engineering manager and use that opportunity as a way to assess fit on both sides.