San Diego Startup Week: Moving to Silicon Valley Is Not an Option

6/19/14

When I started Dealstruck, one of the first questions most people would ask me was, “So, when are you moving to The Valley?” Repeatedly I was told, “There is no money in San Diego;” “There is no talent in San Diego;” and, so of course, “You can’t build a tech company in San Diego.”

Through some combination of naiveté, stubbornness, and arrogance, my early team members and I managed to disregard these warnings and plow ahead anyway. Like Gene Krantz in Apollo 13, we took the somewhat hardline view that “Moving is not an option!”

While some people found our ties to San Diego misguided, we discovered in the process of building Dealstruck that much of the supposed conventional “wisdom” about San Diego was nothing more than urban legend.

San Diego Startup Week_Alternate_logoSure, San Diego is no Silicon Valley (which isn’t such a bad thing, if you ask me), but it turns out that if you look hard enough, there is money, there is talent, and you can build a tech company here.

Never was this more apparent than at the kickoff party for the second annual San Diego Startup Week, hosted Tuesday evening by the Web design firm Digital Telepathy. More than 70 San Diego startups represented by over 300 people showed up in force to celebrate the good, the bad, and the ugly not just of being a startup, but of being a San Diego startup.

Having grown up in San Diego as the son of an entrepreneur [Blackbird Ventures' Neil Senturia], I know firsthand that just a few years ago you could have thrown a tech startup celebration in a walk-in closet…and still had room for clothes.

The progress toward building a true startup ecosystem in San Diego is palpable, but this is just the beginning. To make the startup scene stick—to make it matter—we’re going to need some of these startups to finish, and finish big.

It has always been a dream of mine to play a small part in putting San Diego on the map as a breeding ground for entrepreneurial success. And while Dealstruck is not quite yet at escape velocity, we’ve cobbled together savvy investors, talented team members, and supportive advisors that have a decent shot at making this dream a reality.

If San Diego Startup Week showed me anything, it showed me that, clearly, we are not alone.

San Diego Startup Week Party (photo courtesy of Mike Newton Photography)

San Diego Startup Week Startup Celebration

Ethan Senturia is the co-founder and CEO of Dealstruck, a San Diego Web platform that matches qualified small-to-medium businesses with lenders in a process that is fair, transparent, and affordable. He previously ran Internet marketing for a lead generation startup, Ampush Media. Ethan joined Lehman Brothers after graduating from the Wharton Business School. Follow @

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