San Diego’s Young & Restless: A Cross-Section of Tech Entrepreneurs

After working over the past two years to help tech startups get started in San Diego, Brant Cooper tells me he’s sensing “a global renaissance in entrepreneurship.” It sure seems that way, if the attendance at a recent San Diego Tech Founders “demo night” is any guide.

San Diego Tech Founders is a virtual grassroots organization that Cooper created a couple of years ago for local tech entrepreneurs on Meetup Group, the social networking platform that makes it easy for people with common interests or issues to get together. It’s only loosely organized, and not well-funded. If there was no Meetup Group, Tech Founders probably wouldn’t exist. Nevertheless, it has become a magnet for a restless demographic in San Diego, young and tech-savvy adults who live online and who want to figure out a way to also earn a living on the Web. More than 900 people are registered members.

Cooper’s optimism about a renaissance in entrepreneurship reflects his perspective as a lean startup evangelist and business development consultant. He’s given presentations and met with clients throughout the United States, and in places like Vancouver, London, Barcelona, Santiago, and Kuala Lumpur.

He says he began to step up his activity on behalf of San Diego’s tech startups roughly two years ago, after publishing The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development with co-author Patrick Vlaskovits. Cooper acknowledges that his business as an author, speaker, and consultant benefit from his work on behalf of San Diego Tech Founders. But, he tells me, “I’m not really doing this to build up my business. I’m doing it because I’m passionate about building up the startup ecosystem here.”

Before moving to San Diego, Cooper spent 16 years in Silicon Valley with software and telecommunications startups. He says he developed enough contacts to bring some Bay Area entrepreneurs to San Diego to speak at Tech Founder meetups, including customer development guru Steve Blank (who inspired and … Next Page »

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

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