San Diego #13
“San Diego has become a diversified ecosystem for several industries ripe for entrepreneurs.”
With an average 266 days of sunshine per year, well-maintained infrastructure, and a business-friendly environment, there’s much to attract entrepreneurs to San Diego.
In 2021, San Diego County raised a record $9.6 billion in startup investment, up 55% from 2020, which was also a record. A strong Life Sciences scene contributed to this success: VC funding in the sub-sector totalled a record $43.3 billion in 2021. DNA sequencing startup Element Bioscience raised $276 million in a July 2021 Series C round, and rapid diagnostics startup Cue Health raised $200 million in a September 2021 IPO.
In other tech sectors, defense tech startup Shield AI raised $210 million in a Series D round in August 2021, bringing its total raised to $348.1 million, productivity software startup ClickUp raised $400 million in an October 2021 Series C round, and logistics tech provider Flock Freight raised $215 million in a Series D round the same month.
Launched in 2018 and informed by a partnership with the Brookings Institution, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s Inclusive Growth Initiative sets the goal of 50,000 new quality jobs in small businesses by 2030. Qualified sites within North County can take advantage of an extension of the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program that offers international traders, importers, and exporters opportunities to take advantage of special customs privileges, lowering barriers to global trade.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
San Diego’s Cleantech sector supports nearly 40,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $8.2 billion. The city ranked #21 in the Startup Genome Report: Cleantech Edition. Innovative Cleantech startups include Wildcat Discovery Technologies, which develops advanced materials for rechargeable and primary batteries and has raised $70 million to date, and Clean Air Power, which is developing technology for natural gas to power vehicles. Cleantech San Diego is a member-based business association that positions the greater San Diego region as a global leader in the Cleantech economy.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to San Diego
In recent years, the City of San Diego has concentrated on improving its business assistance programs, cutting costs, and changing policies to help businesses launch and expand. It has reduced permit processing time,reduced fees and modified codes to provide businesses with regulatory relief. Its Online Business Portal further assists entrepreneurs.
Cost of Living
San Diego is just over 100 miles from downtown Los Angeles, but offers 10% cheaper cost of living. This means that entrepreneurs can easily access many of the business networking opportunities that the City of Angels has to offer at a more affordable rate. San Diego is also approximately 18% cheaper than San Francisco.
Explore more ecosystems
Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.