2021 San Diego Tech Report
By Neal Bloom, Fred Grier, and Mike Krenn
It’s been a wild year with the number of investments, total amount invested into companies, and big rounds all up from 2020. While we split life science from the tech/consumer industry, so many life science companies have tech components and we’re going to need to learn to talk about them as one unit soon.
Data from Connect fundings database, Neal/Jonah’s SD Publics sheet, Pebble Finance, Crunchbase, and individual articles. If you see numbers are off, write me and I’ll update.
San Diego By the Numbers:
- 273 private funding rounds, of which 157 were tech or consumer companies
- 209 fundings in 2020, of which 109 were tech or consumer companies
- Companies funded by Quarter Q1 – 76, Q2 – 57, Q3 – 71, Q4 – 68
- While there may seem to be seasonality, exact dates of fundings are vague and not always exact
- As of Dec. 20, 2021 – $8.94 billion raised privately in 2021
- 2020 private funding was $5.28B
- 26 $100 million-plus fundings
- 10 companies are tech or consumer companies
- 14 companies raised $100 million-plus in 2020, 4 were tech in 2020
Seed fundings – While we see late stage company investments growing, it’s important that we fill the top of the funnel with new companies too. These numbers are anything pre-Series A, which is hard to categorize by title lately (friends & family, pre-seed, seed, seed+/extension).
Based on the increased size of rounds and valuations, looks like flat growth from 2020 to 2021. I once heard that 400 companies are created per year in San Diego. 400 new companies do not get funding per year according to this data.
- 2021 – 96 pre-Series A fundings for $244 million
- 2020 – 81 pre- Series A fundings for $161 million
So how are we doing? Compared to ourselves is the best comparison and then to other cities, we are in the Top 6. Connect has some great slides on our progress.
Who’s investing from San Diego. We’re starting to see local investors get active, so it’s worth tracking how active they are. That being said, local investors invest in and outside of San Diego.
Number of 2021 deals by local investment group/firm –
- Tech Coast Angels San Diego – 25 & $13M invested
- Interlock Capital – 14 & $3M invested
- Longley Capital – 3
- Crescent Ridge Partners – 2
- Seedfolio – 13
- Behind Genius Ventures – 3
- Keshif Ventures – 3
- FusionX Ventures – 2
- Moore Venture Partners – 3
- HCAP Partners – 6
- Spark Growth Ventures – 15
- Ankona Capital – 6
- Blueprint Equity – 4
- Finistere Ventures – 6
- TVC Capital – 3
- Harpoon VC – 12
- Qualcomm Ventures – 30
- Section 32 – 28
- JMI Equity – 20
- LogicBoost Labs – 3
- 22 companies went public in 2021, compared to 16 companies in 2020. Of note, two of the 2021 companies were tech companies plus one consumer/retail, TuSimple, Nuvve, and Petco.
- Expect to finally see some IPOs of our 10 tech unicorns in 2022.
- These 22 IPOs raised an additional $5.7 billion in going public
Acquisitions / M&A:
It was also a hot acquisition market in 2021
195 total 2021 – 121 in 2020
Notable tech/consumer companies acquired –
Suja, TakeLessons, Space Micro, Cubic ( $2.8 billion), Citadel Defense, New Rocket, Uqora, Echo Labs, Ecwid ($500 million), Mind Touch, Sensemetrics, Power Dot, Jlab Audio ($370 million), Perspectium
Massive biotech acquisitions:
- Arena Pharma – $7 billion
- Biolegend – $5 billion
- Vividion Therapeutics – $1.5 billion
- Omniome – $800 million
Comparing our region to others, we stacked up pretty good with our combined public companies seeing a 26% increase in stock performance from a year ago. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Boston and Miami’s public companies.
Ardem Patapoutian was awarded the Nobel Prize for helping discover how humans sense temperature and touch, breakthroughs he largely made at La Jolla’s Scripps Research.
Who’s moving to town? FAANG
Facebook is rumored to be actively taking up space
Apple is hiring 8,000 (Qualcomm is 14,000 in San Diego says LinkedIn)
Amazon expanded its tech team in UTC and warehouses in Otay Mesa
Google’s Sorrento campus is expanding
Where ya at Netflix?
Who moved/expanded to San Diego:
TigerGraph, Groove, Mainstay Medical
And biotech campuses are expanding everywhere, even downtown
Downtown Encinitas is a new tech hub – With Flock Freight, Ecwid, Hone, and Blooma all moved in. Who else is coming over?
World Design Capital designation
San Diego & Tijuana won the title for World Design Capital, showcasing to the world how this megaregion of 7 million people collaborate and influence our culture. Expect to see a lot more in the ramp up to the 2024 showcase year.
With so many fundings of companies, that all goes toward hiring new people. That being said, San Diego is one of the best cities for wage growth in 2021, but one of the worst for wage-to-rent ratio. There are a lot of remote job openings for San Diego tech companies.
Here’s a few places to find jobs at San Diego companies
Carlsbad wants to help you recruit your friends to town
San Diego is a futbol town!
San Diego Loyal led by Landon Donovan make playoffs in first year in front of fans
San Diego Wave women’s pro soccer land in town with Alex Morgan & Abby Dahlkemper joining from the U.S. women’s national team
X Games returned to North County
Snapdragon Stadium is ready to launch at SDSU West in 2022
Here’s to a prosperous, healthy and productive 2022!
Some interesting numbers here, Neal! Also, harpoon is moving to Solana Beach when we close a few more customers =)