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Startup ecosystems can be difficult to navigate for newcomers, which is detrimental for local startups and community growth. Understanding the resources available to you as a founder is one of the most productive activities possible, and will increase your chance of success. The Startup Ecosystem Canvas seeks to provide local entrepreneurs with a clear list of resources for every stage of their startup journey, and outline a basic framework for communities to map their ecosystem.

With applications for the San Diego Founder Institute now open, we are excited to release the updated San Diego Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in Draft v3. It's a crowdsourced list of the entrepreneur resources available in the San Diego area that was developed by the San Diego Founder Institute, and it's local leaders, Ben Cote, and Mike Sherbakov. 

More input is needed, so please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document, and it will be considered for the next update.

Startup Stages

 There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

    • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters)

      2. Startup Digest
      3. San Diego Tech Scene
      6. StartupSD
      7. Tech Cocktail
      8. Xconomy
    • Inspirational Events: Open, inclusive, beginner startup events (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
      1. SD Startup Week

      2. SD Tech Coffee
      3. SD Tech Founders: Lean Startup Group
      4. Startup Weekend
      5. SD Founder 101 Meetup
      6. UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge

B. Educate

    • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspirate)
      1. 1 Million Cups

      2. Entrepreneur's Organization
      3. Startup Founder 101
      4. SD Youth Entrepreneurship Program
      5. Startup Grind 
    • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs)
      1. Lean Startup Machine

      2. Founder Institute
      3. Startup Leadership Program

C. Validate

    • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
      1. CoFoundersLab


    • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
      1. CodeDay San Diego


2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

    • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
      1. Cooley Godward Kronish

      2. Comerica Bank
      3. Dentons
      4. DLA Piper
      5. Fish & Richardson
      6. Foley & Lardner
      7. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
      8. Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear
      9. Latham & Watkins
      10. Mintz Levin
      11. Morrison & Foerster
      12. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
      13. Procopio
      14. Sheppard Mullin
      15. Silicon Valley Bank
      16. Square One Bank
      17. Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth
      18. WSGR
    • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces
      1. 3rdSpace

      2. Ansir Innovation Center
      3. Co-Merge
      4. Digital Telepathy
      5. Encinitas Technology Center
      6. FabLab
      7. Herahub
      8. Regus
      9. Real Office Centers
      10. SD Regional Entrepreneur Center
      11. SmartSpace
      12. Thirdoor Coworking Community
      13. Union Coworking Space
      14. VisionPulse Creative

B. Develop

    • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.
      1. AWICPA

      2. Michael Fitzsimmons
      3. North San Diego SBDC
      4. ProfitWise Accounting
      5. T.W.Taxes
    • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup teams)
      1. Chairman’s Roundtable

      2. Connect Springboard
      3. CoCreator
      4. Evonexus Scrub
      5. Geek Girl
      6. Janssen Labs
      7. Startup Next

C. Launch

    • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs. (i.e. Techstars and similar programs that provide seed-funding)
      1. Accelerate IT

      2. Bio, Tech, and Beyond
      3. CommNexus: EvoNexus
      4. CONNECT
      5. Wireless Health Hub
    • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
      1. Connect Capital Competition

      2. Rockstars of Innovation
      3. SDVG PitchFest
      4. SDVG’s Annual Venture Summit
      5. Tech Coast Angels’ Fast Pitch Competition

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

    • Investor Networking: Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors)
      1. The Deal Network

      2. Keiretsu Forum

      3. SDVG

    • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
      1. NewsDiego

      2. San Diego Business Journal

      3. San Diego Daily Transcript

      4. Times of San Diego

      5. Voice of San Diego

      6. Xconomy

B. Funding

    • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors
      1. Andrew Canter

      2. Bill Malloy
      3. Blackbird Ventures
      4. Blaise Barrelet
      5. Brett Helm
      6. Cliff Boro
      7. Crescent Ridge Partners
      8. Eric Johnson
      9. Greg Horowitt
      10. Howard Lindzon
      11. Navid Alipour
      12. Roland Ligtenberg
      13. Russ Hall
      14. Tech Coast Angels
      15. Tim Rueth
    • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
      1. Ampersand Capital Partners

      2. Analytics Ventures
      3. Avalon Ventures
      4. Bootstrap Incubation LLC
      5. Domain Associates
      6. Enterprise Partners Venture Capital
      7. Finistere Ventures
      8. Forrest Binkley and Brown
      9. Forward Ventures
      10. Gastronome Ventures
      11. Hamilton BioVentures
      12. Huntington Capital LLC
      13. JMI Equity
      14. Mission Ventures
      15. Proquest Investments
      16. Sanderling Ventures
      17. Shepherd Ventures
      18. Social Leverage
      19. Sorrento Ventures
      20. TVC Capital
      21. Windward Ventures

C. Growth

    • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, insurance & more. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. Irvine Group

      2. Jumpstart:HR, LLC

      3. PBC Carlsbad Office Space

      4. Real Office Centers

      5. Silicon Valley Bank

      6. TriNet

    • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
      1. Analytics Ventures

      2. Bainbridge

      3. CyberHive

      4. Hera Labs

      5. Plug and Play Tech Center

      6. Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator

      7. StartR

      8. StartupCircle


4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. Active Network

  2. Anametrix

  3. Bird Rock Systems

  4. BlissLights

  5. Cloud9 Real Time

  6. DivX

  7. EcoATM

  8. Entropic

  9. Email Copilot

  10. Feetz

  11. GreenRope

  12. HoverCam

  13. Illumina

  14. Lifeproof

  15. Paradigm Mechanical

  16. Prisa Networks

  17. ServiceNow

  18. Tealium

  19. Underground Elephant

  20. VCC Optoelectronics

  21. VizExplorer


The Supporters

 To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

  1. Alan Stewart

  2. Austin Neudecker

  3. Blair Giesen

  4. Brant Cooper

  5. Cliff Boro

  6. David Titus

  7. Derrick Oien

  8. Gioia Messinger

  9. Jeanine Jacobson

  10. Jimmy Hendricks

  11. Joon S. Han

  12. Joe Bezdek

  13. Jon Carder

  14. Jordan Greenhall

  15. Kevin Popović

  16. Kirsten Osolind

  17. Marc Friedmann

  18. Martin Grunburg

  19. Mel Lim

  20. Melani Gordon

  21. Mike Krenn

  22. Nicole Munoz

  23. Phil Black

  24. Rae Majors-Wildman

  25. Ryan Bettencourt

  26. Stepheni Norton

  27. Steven Cox

  28. Steve Iverson

  29. Steve Scott

  30. Tami French

  31. Vicki Higgins


2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

  1. BBB

  2. East County Economic Development Council

  3. SD Economic Development Division

  4. SD North Economic Development Council

  5. SD Regional Economic Development Corporation

  6. South SD County Economic Development Council


3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)
    1. Alliant School of Management

    2. California Institute for Telecommunications and IT
    3. California International Business University
    4. Case School of Engineering, SD
    5. Kearny International Business School
    6. Point Loma Nazarene University Business School
    7. UCSD Rady School of Management
    8. UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering
    9. SDSU
    10. USD
  1. Local Employers  (Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google, with large local offices)

    1. Brightscope

    2. CineForm
    3. DivX, Inc.
    4. e.Digital Corporation
    5. EMC
    6. ESET
    7. LRAD Corporation
    8. Mad Catz
    9. Microsoft
    10. Mitchell International
    11. Nautilus Entertainment Design
    12. Nokia
    13. Qualcomm
    14. Rockstar San Diego
    15. ServiceNow
    16. Skyriver
    17. Sony Electronics Inc.
    18. SweetLabs
    19. Teradata
*  *  *

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the San Diego Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is just a draft, and more input is needed)!

Are you looking to build a startup in San Diego? Then apply to the San Diego Founder Institute today

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