By Neal Bloom
San Diego’s tech ecosystem continues to be boosted by large funding deals. Overwhelmingly, 2018 has been a great year for funding dollar amount in San Diego. The fourth quarter was no different from this trend – more money, fewer deals.
In Q4, 38 companies raised $1.1 billion in funding in San Diego, compared to Q4 2017 when 61 companies raised $500 million.
Some notable fundings for technology companies included Seismic Software, a sales enablement SaaS, raising $100 million with a billion dollar valuation from T. Rowe Price, Lightspeed Ventures, and returners General Atlantic, JMI Equity, and Jackson Square Ventures. Additionally Airspace Technologies, a San Diego logistics tech company, raised $20 million in a Series B after just raising a Series A in August. VC firms Qualcomm Ventures, Defy, Schematic, and LA-based Cross Culture participated in the latest round. Other notable tech deals included Zebit’s venture debt of $75 million, showing strong growth, and Once Upon A Farm’s $20 million fundraise for its baby food and eCommerce platform.
With the continued large biotech rounds, ViaCyte, after raising $10 million in Q3 2018, raised another $80 million in Q4. A few other large bio rounds included $90 million for Genomatica and $120 million for Mirum Pharma for the seasoned founding team. Below is a detailed look at Q4 funding for San Diego tech and biotech.
|Company||Categories||Funding Date||Funding Amount|
|Once Upon a Farm||FoodTech||10/9/18||$20M|
|Personalized Stem Cells||Biotechnology||11/26/18||$805K|
Fall 2018 acquisitions have had strong outcomes, including $3.15 billion for DJO Global and chipmaker Luxtera being acquired for $660 million. The acquisitions help bolster the San Diego ecosystem through new company and capital creation, as long as the capital and talent stay local. Take a look below.
|Aegis Therapeutics||Neurelis||Undisclosed Amount|
|Jecure Therapeutics||Genentech||Undisclosed Amount|
|Kleinfelder||Wind Point Partners||Undisclosed Amount|
|XiTRON Technologies||Vitrek||Undisclosed Amount|
|VirBELA||eXp World Holdings||Undisclosed Amount|
|Biomatrica||Exact Sciences||Undisclosed Amount|
|TDO Software||Sonendo||Undisclosed Amount|
|Integrated Marketing Systems||Dodge Data||Undisclosed Amount|
|Sunray||Hotspot International||Undisclosed Amount|
|Everyone Counts||Votem||Undisclosed Amount|
Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
The 4th quarter saw a few public market debuts as well as a number of new filings:
- Equillium raised $65M in its market debut
- Eton Pharmaceuticals raised $21.6M in its market debut
- Synthorex raised $131M in its market debut
- Gossamer Bio filed for $264.5M IPO
- Cibus filed for $100M IPO
- Silvergate Bank filed for $50M IPO
- Guardian Health Sciences filed for $10M IPO
San Diego has long lacked homegrown funds compared to other ecosystems, but things are changing. Qualcomm Ventures has launched a new $100 million fund focused on Artificial Intelligence technologies; and Tech Coast Angels – San Diego chapter has raised a debut annual fund of $2.2 million from its members for 2019 to invest in early-stage entrepreneurs in addition to the checks each angel writes. Additionally, Blueprint Equity has raised $54 million on a plan to raise $75 million for an early stage fund based in San Diego. On top of all, JMI Equity, backer of local Lytx, Classy, and Seismic, announced Fund IX with $1.2 billion in private equity investing.
Bring on 2019!
2018 has been a gift and we look forward to continued prosperity for our region’s companies. My wish for 2019 is to see an uptick in the number of deals so that we have more companies in the funnel with a good chance at more outcomes. I believe we have that opportunity with these new local funds.
From the Fresh Brewed Tech team, we wish you all the best wrapping up 2018 and look forward to all the exciting things lined up for 2019.