Home BloomBites Q1 2019 Wrap Up: San Diego Tech Ecosystem Blooms in First Quarter – 3/30/19

Q1 2019 Wrap Up: San Diego Tech Ecosystem Blooms in First Quarter – 3/30/19

by Neal Bloom

By Neal Bloom

And just like that, 25% of 2019 is over. It’s been a solid Q1 for San Diego, which traditionally has a quiet first quarter of funding. The end of 2018 definitely overshadowed the beginning of 2019 since there were so many fundings late in the year, but with the continued large but low volume of late-stage rounds in Q1 2019, it was just a little under Q1 2018.

Total Venture Capital Raised:

2018 Q1 – $547.2M

2019 Q1 – $539.5M (see below, data from Crunchbase)

The large rounds for Q1 2019 include $100 million from coworking company CommonGrounds, $95 million from autonomous trucking unicorn TuSimple, and $160 million for Kyriba’s majority ownership fundraise (buyout if you want to call it that) by Bridgepoint. What is missing are the large biotech rounds we had in 2018, though the tech rounds certainly picked up the slack, and continued the 2018 funding trend amount.


Organization Name Categories Headquarters Location Last Funding Date Last Funding Amount
Kyriba Tech San Diego 3/27/19 $160M
Cardea Bio BioTech San Diego 3/22/19 $7.8M
Bitmo Tech Carlsbad 3/21/19 $3M
Achates Power CleanTech San Diego 3/7/19 $2M
Erasca BioTech San Diego 3/5/19 $22M
CycloPure CleanTech Encinitas 2/19/19 $3.5M
Juneshine FoodTech Scripps Ranch 2/14/19 Not disclosed
TuSimple Tech San Diego 2/13/19 $95M
Halozyme Therapeutics BioTech San Diego 2/6/19 $30M
Zingle Tech Carlsbad 1/31/19 $11M
Everbowl FoodTech Carlsbad 1/29/19 $3M
Trust & Will Tech San Diego 1/24/19 $2M
PetDesk Tech San Diego 1/18/19 $12M
CommonGrounds Workspace Real Estate Carlsbad 1/16/19 $100M
alwaysAI Tech Solana Beach 1/15/19 $4M
Williot Tech Rancho Bernardo 1/14/19 $30M
Sun Genomics BioTech San Diego 1/8/19 $3M
Home Bay Technologies Tech San Diego 1/3/19 $13.5M
Roswell Biotechnologies BioTech San Diego 1/3/19 $32M
Forge Therapeutics BioTech San Diego 1/3/19 $5.7M



In terms of acquisitions, there were a few notable ones, including Certona, recently covered in our blog; Qualcomm spun out Qualcomm Life to private equity, and the edtech startup I helped co-found Portfolium was acquired by Instructure. Also notable in Q1, though non-tech, was Cutwater Spirits, launched by the founders of Ballast Point who had their second exit in three years after also selling Ballast Point for $1 billion. We see a mafia series  in the making there too. Also acquired was Adventure Sports Network, the Carlsbad-based media company behind publications like Surfer and Snowboarder.


Company Name Categories Headquarters Location Acquiring Company Exit Date Amount
XpandOrtho BioTech La Jolla Exactech 3/12/19 Undisclosed
Golden Hour Tech San Diego Zoll 3/4/19 Undisclosed
Cutwater Spirits Food/Beverage San Diego Anheuser- Busch 2/20/19 Undisclosed
Portfolium Tech San Diego Instructure 2/19/19 $43M
Certona Tech San Diego Kibo 2/19/19 Undisclosed
Qualcomm Life BioTech San Diego Francisco Partners 2/11/19 Undisclosed
Succession Link Tech San Diego Chalice Financial 2/11/19 Undisclosed
Segway Orthopaedics BioTech Carlsbad Trice Medical 2/7/19 Undisclosed
Adventure Sports Network Media San Diego American Media 2/1/19 Undisclosed
Intellectual Technology Tech Carlsbad Arlington Capital 1/28/19 Undisclosed
BioDuro BioTech San Diego Advent International 1/27/19 Undisclosed
Manta Instruments BioTech La Jolla Horiba Instruments 1/25/19 Undisclosed
DeskHub Real Estate Little Italy Cross Campus 1/24/19 Undisclosed
Accumen BioTech San Diego Arsenal Capital 1/17/19 Undisclosed



With the government shutdown lingering into Q1, there’s been an even quieter period of IPOs than normal. The biggest of note was Gossamer Bio, the second biotech unicorn in Q1 going public by raising $276 million. To note, that’s launch to IPO in 13 months! During Q1, INmune Bio also went public as well as . Companies that have filed and waiting to list are other biotechs Cirius, Cibus, Poseida, and Turning Point as well as crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank. Still waiting for that elusive tech IPO this year; who could it be?!

Moving On Up

In just one short quarter, more companies have either moved their headquarters to San Diego or have opened/expanded their satellite offices here, including:

  • Apple expanding its SD office to 1,200
  • Kyriba moving HQ back from NY
  • Self-driving startup Comma.ai relocating the whole company from SF to SD
  • Pre-fab home design software Dvele raised $14 million and then moved to the Bird Rock area of SD

There’s a lot more left in the year and we are excited to see the San Diego ecosystem continue to mature. Leave a comment on what you are excited about for the rest of the year. Onward and upward!


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