Alliance Newsletter - August 2018

The San Diego tech and life sciences ecosystem is a stellar example of an innovation hub with key ingredients that continue to gain momentum so we decided to dedicate most of this issue to celebrate some of their recent wins.

Perhaps we were influenced by attending the San Diego Venture Group’s hugely successful two-day Venture Summit on Aug 15-16. On the first day, over 120 VC’s (approximately 40 from Silicon Valley, 40 from L.A. and 10 outside CA) heard pitches from 26 “cool companies”. The next morning attendance climbed to 625 most of whom were investors and entrepreneurs to network by the shore and hear 10 VC speakers.

According to SDVG President Mike Krenn, “We’ve got micro-funds, Series A investors, and growth stage VCs all in the mix. The quality of investors also continues to improve, which helps heat up competition for deal flow, and makes it easier for follow-on rounds. The benefit to our startup ecosystem is palpable – you can feel it from all sides.”

The feeling Mike describes was in abundance at the event and is supported by the recent news we’ve included below. Congrats to San Diego and the entire SDVG team for the amazing work they’re doing!  


In The News

Walmart Labs Plans Major San Diego Area Expansion

Walmart Labs, the technology arm of Walmart that incubates teams who “make in-store and online shopping a more seamless experience for millions of daily shoppers” (per the company website), is planning to triple headcount in San Diego to over 180 people and expand into a new 30,000 sq ft building. |  Read more on

Samumed Raises $438M

Samumed, a biopharmaceuticals firm based in San Diego focused on treatments for Alzheimer's and other diseases, has raised a Series A round of $438M, bringing total funding to $650 million. Pre-money valuation for the funding round was $12 billion, according to the company. Per crunchbase, the lead investors were Starling Group and Vickers Venture Partners. |  Read more on 

Gossamer raises $230M in Series B

On the heels of their $100M Series A round in January, Gossamer Bio has raised another $230M led by Hillhouse Capital Group. The leadership team of Faheem Hasnain and Sheila Gujrathi previously of Receptos (acquired by Celgene in 2015) have been secretive about what they’re working on but the article in Healthcare Weekly speculates at length about what to expect. |  Read more on

SoCal’s Brain Drain and Where They’re Going

“LA and Orange County are creating more tech workers than there are job openings. And this is no small migration. LA produced 38,359 tech degree graduates during the past five years but only created 13,249 tech-related positions,” as reported by BuiltInLA based on CBRE’s tech talent report (see below). The solution is straightforward: more tech job creation! These graduates would stay in SoCal if given the option but for now the migration will continue albeit at a slower pace versus just a few years ago (due to more jobs). Speaking of brain drain, SF is still seeing large numbers leaving for Seattle, Denver and Austin amongst others, according to LinkedIn’s April Workforce Report. |  Read more on


Check out the CBRE Tech Talent Analyzer for really nifty data visualization of their top 50 tech hubs including San Diego (#18), OC (#19) and LA (#26). Who knew Newark (#27) had a tech hub?!

Raising SoCal’s Collective Ambitions One Unicorn At A Time 

By Steve Gilison

After hosting the SoCal First Look event at UCLA on June 20, the Alliance staff took a beat to reflect on the progress we’ve made so far and to plan the next phase of our fledgling organization. Our first two events showcased some of the top SoCal startups and entrepreneurs — prime examples of the region’s strengths — in order to educate and connect investors directly to opportunities in SoCal. The rationale for these events was based on the invaluable analysis and recommendations from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who compared the SoCal region to other leading tech hubs around the world using a variety of criteria (see graphic). Read More

Upcoming Events 

LA BioMed Innovation Showcase 2018

Westdrift Manhattan Beach, Thursday, Sep 13

More information + Tickets

LA County’s Bioscience Summit

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Thursday, September 20

More information 

San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) QuickPitch Competition

Qualcomm Hall, San Diego, Wednesday, October 24


Team applications (due Aug 31)
Copyright © 2018 Alliance for Southern California Innovation, All rights reserved.

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