San Diego’s popular annual gathering of startups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, talent and innovators is going virtual – for a whole month.
The inaugural San Diego Startup Month (SDSM), which will run from October 1-30, will include a series of virtual content and interactive experiences that will bring together and inspire the San Diego innovation ecosystem.
“We decided to do the event virtually for a month this year instead of a week so we can further support, nurture, and grow our local startup community during this time of uncertainty,” said Alexa-Rae Navarro, Executive Director of the nonprofit Startup San Diego, which hosts the annual event. “We are committed to keeping our ecosystem going and doing what we can to ensure our community’s unwavering strength, force and resiliency.”
San Diego Startup Month will kick off on Oct. 1 with a lively discussion on the future of startups, an opening keynote, and fireside chat with top tech leaders. Attendees will then jump into a virtual cocktail party for speed networking with other guests, and then end the night with a party in a state-of-the art virtual experience courtesy of San Diego-based VirBELA, where they can even create their own avatar. And while this year’s attendees can’t network in person, they can still have a chance to have one-on-one conversations with each other via a Run the World app.
“We want to create a fun and interactive experience for attendees this year to keep them as connected as possible to their peers and the community,” Navarro said. “Personal connections are part of the fabric of our startup community and we want to continue to foster that.”
San Diego Startup Month’s schedule also includes “How to Build a Thriving Company Culture in a Remote Startup,” an “Investors & Inventors Virtual Pitch Competition, talent incubator, and skills-based tracks.
For the talent incubator – sponsored by PetDesk – Startup San Diego is offering talent upskilling opportunities and careers incubation experiences in marketing, sales, customer success, design, development and data. The sessions will include live mock interviews, LinkedIn teardowns, and professional mentorship.
“San Diego Startup Month is not just for entrepreneurs and CEOs. We want to help advance the region’s entire tech talent pool, especially during a pandemic era when many people are also transitioning to tech jobs,” said Neal Bloom, volunteer and Chairman of Startup San Diego. “This month-long event is a community showcase. We want everyone to come together in one place and find the resources they need right now to continue on their path to success.”
Launched in 2013, San Diego Startup Week attracted roughly 200 people for 10 events during its first year. The annual event has grown to nearly 4,000 attendees with more than 200 breakout events. Some of SDSM community partners and sponsors include startups and organizations assisting their growth, including PetDesk, Amazon AWS, Innovate78, LogicBoost Labs, the City of San Diego, and Downtown Works. Tickets can be purchased here.
The growth of the annual event has mirrored San Diego’s rise in startup status. In fact, San Diego ranks among the top 10 cities in the US for starting a business, and is among the nation’s top ten fastest-growing high-tech job markets. Meanwhile, San Diego startups received a record $1.26 billion in funding in the second quarter 2020, according to the National Venture Capital Association and Pitchbook.
“We are thrilled that our startup community continues to thrive despite being in the middle of a health crisis,” Navarro said. “It’s critical for us to continue this momentum. This year’s SDSM will help serve as a platform for our ecosystem as it fuels more innovation and jobs in the region, which positively impacts our economy and quality of life.”