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

2/29/12Follow @bvbigelow

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 »

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://embarke.com Al Bsharah

    Nice write-up, Bruce. Brant’s been killing it for a while, and even just the past year I’ve seen a substantial increase in San Diego entrepreneurial activity. I used to see the same folks all the time at events, now I’m bumping into all kinds of new people and a lot more events. It’s an exciting time for San Diego!

  • http://www.flaretag.com Daniel Arroyo

    Way to go Brant! Last year when I decided to go full time into my startup, I didn’t know if San Diego was the right place to be. A lot has changed in 1 year and there’s no doubt now. We are rocking!

  • Kimberly King

    Great event at The Evonexus downtown location with a lot of energy.

  • http://fashioningchange.com/ Adriana

    Groups like the ones facilitated by Brant, accelerators like the Founders Institute, and incubators like EvoNexus have all helped to mature the San Diego startup ecosystem. Great to come across a write up on the first large startup event in our new EvoNexus home. It’s time to put San Diego on the map!

  • http://taphunter.com Melani Gordon

    Thank you to Bruce for coming out and supporting and a huge thank you to Brant who continues to help grow the startup scene in San Diego. There’s no need to feel like you HAVE to move to SF as there is amazing support here!