Celebrating Community at San Diego Startup Week

My family moved to San Diego when my grandfather enlisted in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he opened a gas station in Pacific Beach. It wasn’t a tech company, but he was an entrepreneur. And he built his small business with the support of his community.

Today, nearly 70 years later, San Diego is a thriving tech hub, attracting over one billion dollars in venture capital last year. With great universities like UCSD churning out top tier tech talent, and big companies like Illumina and Qualcomm attracting the best engineers to San Diego, the quality of companies starting up and growing in San Diego is at an all time high.

Home to startups in genomics, life sciences, pharma, biotech, cyber security, drones, robotics, and software, the thing that makes San Diego a great place to start a company is the community. If you ask San Diego entrepreneurs what they like best about growing a company here, they’ll tell you that everyone is welcome and San Diego embodies #givefirst.

San Diego Startup Week, a week of entrepreneurial-focused panels and networking events, celebrates and supports this amazing community of entrepreneurs, hackers, makers, and doers that have chosen to set up shop in America’s Finest City.

Over the past few years, San Diego Startup Week has grown from a few hundred people at a handful of events to this year nearly 5,000 attendees attending over 150 events in 15 separate tracks making it one of the largest Startup Week celebrations in the world.

This year, San Diego Startup Week is happening June 19th – 23rd. Techstars is proud to support the San Diego startup community and partner with the organizers of San Diego Startup Week to host a full day of events on Tuesday, June 20th featuring Techstars founders, mentors, Managing Directors, and staff.

Techstars Presents at San Diego Startup Week:

9:30 AM – Power of Networks and Community
John Hill, Network Catalyst, Techstars

10:45 AM – The Art of the Elevator Pitch
Ryan Kuder, Managing Director, Techstars Anywhere

12:15 PM – How to Leverage Big Brands
Panel Moderator: Ryan Kuder
Cody Simms, Executive Director, Techstars
Matt Kozlov, Managing Director, Techstars

1:30 PM – Finding and Engaging with Great Mentors (and Why it’s Important)
Panel Moderator: Ryan Kuder
Techstars founders: Duncan Street, Emily Rotolo
Mentors: Anna Barber, Mark Bowles

3:15 PM – Techstars Mentor Madness
Unfortunately, we’ve got limited space for the Techstars Mentor Madness event. If you’re interested in meeting with Techstars Mentors and Managing Directors, please apply here.
Managing Directors: Anna Barbara, Cody Simms, Matt Kozlov, Ryan Kuder
Mentors: Mark Bowles, Allison Long Pettine, Bach Le, Dave Titus, Ping Wang, Jon Belmonte, Eric Otterson, Bryan Hall

4:30 PM – AMA with Techstars MDs
Panel Moderator: Matt Helt
Anna Barber, Matt Kozlov, Ryan Kuder, Cody Simms

We hope you’ll join us to celebrate the San Diego startup community at one of the 150 events planned for the week. Find out more, and check out the full schedule at sandiegostartupweek.com.

Startup Weekend San Diego Mega 2015 Recap

Congratulations to all the teams that participated this past weekend at the event. Over 3 days around 80 people came together to take ideas they had for new startups and make them reality.

The event focused on hardware as well as software innovation and the best teams found a way to take their ideas and combine the best of both worlds. Teams blended the traditional entrepreneurial skills in web and mobile software development with new means of making:  3D printing, robotics, laser cutter, hackable hardware, and more. 

The Pet Hash Team
The Pet Hash Team

After hearing over 30 pitches on Friday night, 11 teams formed and worked through the weekend. The 1st Place winner for this Startup Weekend is Pet Hash made up of Kevin Kirk, Robert Powell, Alejandro Saenz, and Karim Roushdy. Pet Hash is a simple, cheap way to reconnect a lost pet with with their owner. Utilizing a pet tag with a unique ID (“hashtag”) on it, a person that finds a lost pet is directed to PetHash.com. On the website they type in the pet’s hashtag and then see that specific pets profile. The profile includes all about your pets special needs, temperament, medications it may be on, and information about the pet’s veterinarian.

The 2nd Place team for the weekend was Saucey Sides (Eugene Chan, Lisa Chaykowksi, Nancy Chansavang, and Ryan Ruscon). This team has developed a new disposable container for soy sauce and wasabi that allows people to easily enjoy both condiments without a mess. The 3rd Place team is Safe Place App (Harry Dixon, Parima Shah, Rajkrishnan Parameswaran, Trevor Gile). This app gives users who may find themselves in an neighborhood or environment where they feel unsafe a map of locations where they can go as a kind of “safe harbor” from where they can call a cab or arrange for transportation home.

The top team won a Launch Boost package from FreshForm interactive. This prize includes production of a 60 – 90 second product “pitch video” as well as consultation on logo and brand palette refinement so that when the team is ready for public launch they have a great start on the marking resources they’ll need. In addition, the top three teams get to participate in the library’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program that includes training on using the library’s 3D printers, laser cutter, and CNC milling machine. Teams also receive mentorship from library coaches for their business.

Many thanks to San Diego Public Library, Saratech, FreshForm, The TEAM Group, 1App Works, and Fab Lab for all of their support in making this event possible. We wish all of the teams the best of luck as they move forward.

-San Diego Startup Weekend Team

5 Reasons Men Should Attend Women's Edition

When our organizing group decided to do a Women’s Edition, we never once entertained the idea of not letting men attend. This is for a pretty specific reason: equality and empowerment for women in entrepreneurship requires men to be involved, too.

So here you go, we have five reasons men should attend Women’s Edition. Ready? Here we go!

1. Showing up is saying that you support equality for half of the population. While women may be roughly half of the humans who occupy the planet, we ladies face inequality in virtually all aspects of employment and socioeconomic development. By showing up to say that you believe women should have a place in entrepreneurship, you’re saying that you believe in equality for half the population!

2. You will have no problem surveying women for your idea. One of the difficulties of doing customer validation is finding your audience. Women – as half the population! – are an important element of customer validation, and Women’s Edition will give you an easily-available audience of women whose customer validation will be a breeze!

3. Women make spending decisions. Most tech events are mostly men; that’s one a few places where it is forgotten that women make the spending decisions. Where real people are spending real money – and not exchanging “likes” for a “yo” or a “favorite” – 85% of all brand purchases are made by women. If you’re looking to really come up with a marketable idea, learn why women spend their dollars and where – this event is perfect for this.

4. Our speakers, mentors, and judges are out-of-this-world. We have some of the most amazing speakers, mentors, and judges showing up to help you. Yes, you. You’ll be getting face time with strong women who wouldn’t have time otherwise. You’re welcome.

5. This is the first of its kind in San Diego and you’ll be part of something amazing. There is never a reason not to attend Startup Weekend. Networking, learning, creating, building – there are so many things that happen at a Startup Weekend, and that’s why so many of us keep coming back for more.

Sign up now for SWSD Women’s Edition at SDSU May 1-3.

Why We're Doing a Women's Edition

If you’re a female and you have ever attended a startup community event, you may have noticed that you might be one of few women in the room. You may have even been the only woman in the room. And you may have noticed that this is a common occurrence.

My co-organizers have all recognized the same thing I have seen: because women are often just a fraction of the attendees at a startup event, the focus and atmosphere just isn’t always conducive for women to truly participate comfortably – whether it be a pitchfest, hackathon, or hey – Startup Weekend.

This isn’t unique to startup culture, of course. Inequality in the workplace forms spaces where women aren’t able to contribute to their full potential. When it’s more difficult to be heard, the likelihood of stepping up into a role or responsibility is even more difficult. When you throw a tech-centric event into the mix, where women are typically outnumbered by men, the politics of gender, power, and privilege become a bigger issue. It’s already tough enough to step up in front of a lot of people, pitch an idea, and work the crowd! If you look out into a sea of faces and see very few faces that resemble your own, how encouraging is that? What if you’re introverted? What if you’re shy?

On top of the bravery it takes to stand up, pitch, and pour your heart and soul into a weekend of building a business, it’s a lot to face the dynamic created by inequality. We want to remove the pressure of that dynamic and provide a space where women can feel less like the minority, and more like the faces in the crowd are there to hear them out. As a women who have often been the only gals in the crowd, we know that it will make for an entirely different experience – for both women and men.

We’re excited to make this an event about empowering women. One really great part about that is that it doesn’t mean that just women should attend; some of our organizers are men, and they, too, understand that equality takes all of us. We hope you will join us and show us the energy and enthusiasm that comes with believing in an equal and empowering setting for women.

Overall, we really want to see women shine at this event. We want to see more women pitch, more women lead, and more women feeling empowered after leaving this event. We want to see this event make a difference in women’s lives and we’re excited to do this with Startup Weekend in sunny San Diego.

Recap Video of Startup Weekend MEGA San Diego

San Diego’s MEGA Startup Weekend took place at the new San Diego Central Public Library in November.

Startup weekend, Startup Weekend mega

This was the first event tackling hardware as well as software innovation. The MEGA SW blended entrepreneurial skills in web and mobile software development with new means of making: 3D printing, robotics, hackable hardware, and more. The venue was decked out with tools from laser cutters to soldering irons, small computers and smart sensors. The event in San Diego was also part of Global Startup Battle, a competition to inspire the entrepreneurs around the globe.