Searching For Signs of a Comeback in San Diego’s Innovation Economy

3/22/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s innovation economy obviously imploded last year—dragged down by general economic conditions that were hammered by the collapse in Southern California real estate, the breakdown of the capital markets, and a decline in tourism. Now there are signs that things are stabilizing, and might even be gradually improving, according to several reports released last week.

In a report on San Diego’s innovation economy, the Connect nonprofit group for technology and entrepreneurship found that 319 startups were launched in 2009—including 74 in the fourth quarter. That’s about 13 percent better than the 282 local startups that Connect counted in 2008, but still shy of the 332 startups formed in 2007. In its roundup of San Diego’s innovation economy, Connect also makes these points:

—The value of M&A deals in the San Diego area soared during the fourth quarter. Connect tallied 29 deals totaling nearly $1.3 billion that were closed, compared with 32 deals totaling $99 million in the previous quarter.

—The value of venture capital investments in the San Diego area increased to $300 million during the fourth quarter of 2009, a 52 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2008, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. It was 16 percent more than the $259 million that VCs sunk into San Diego companies during the third quarter of 2009. Of 30 fourth-quarter deals, more than half (53 percent) involved early stage investments, rather than later-stage companies.

—The top 10 investments during the fourth quarter, based on the MoneyTree Report: Zogenix, ($35 million); Fate Therapeutics, ($30.5 million); Evofem, ($25.0 million); SmartDrive Systems, ($25 million); Pfenex, ($24.0 million); Receptos, ($23.6 million); Fyfe Company, ($20.0 million); Altair Therapeutics, ($17 million); Cyntellect, ($15.5 million); Celula, ($15 million).

—Connect also found that life sciences, high-tech, and other innovation companies added 1,069 new jobs in 2009, including 209 in the fourth quarter. Life sciences and software companies each accounted for roughly a third of the new jobs.

Of course, job creation in the innovation sector pales in comparison to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • http://www.premierinterns.com PremierInterns

    This is great news. PremierInterns is based out of San Diego and every time I read about start ups getting funded, they reside in Silicon Valley. This article gives me hope that PremierInterns can secure investors sometime in the near future. We’ll definitely have to reach out to CONNECT for assistance. Thanks for the great article.