A Visualization Of The Top Players In San Diego’s Innovation Economy

By Katie Sullivan, director of communications at VentureApp

A few months ago I spoke on the phone with Andy White, a startup advocate with the Downtown San Diego Partnership. He came across our network visualization of Boston’s tech ecosystem and wanted to discuss creating a similar visualization for San Diego’s innovation economy. So we connected, while he was at a coffee shop on the beach no less, and quickly realized a great opportunity to launch VentureMap San Diego.

From that coffee shop, Andy told me all about the city’s burgeoning tech community and specifically, the money pouring into tech and biotech startups from local investors keen on developing a competitive tech hub on the west coast. Now, taking a look at the finished network visualization, he was right.

We timed this launch with San Diego Startup Week — five days of more than 250 events taking place this week. As is always the goal with VentureApp’s network visualizations, we hope VentureMap San Diego will help professionals and founders navigate their community, illuminating mutual funding connections and pathways for startups to connect with new investors. Specifically, we’re staying focused on local investors funding local startups.

Here are a few key players making big investment moves in San Diego — on both the startup and investor side.


EvoNexus is a tech startup incubator in San Diego with the goal of empowering entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into commercially viable companies. They’ve made 48 investments into San Diego startups — close to 18% of total investment activity in the city. Some of their well-known investments include LoanHero, Edico Genome, CourseKey, Aira, AttackIQ, and more.


Domain Associates is a venture capital firm with $2B in capital, founded in 1985 with an exclusive focus on life sciences. They’ve made 26 investments into San Diego startups — close to 10% of total investment activity in the city. Some of their well-known investments include Syndax, TargetRx, ReVision Optics, Otonomy, Benvenue Medical, and more.


Mission Ventures is focused on building successful enterprises in Southern California by investing in the most promising early-stage companies in high growth, emerging markets, and providing significant assistance to those companies as they develop. They’ve made 19 investments into San Diego startups — around 7% of total investment activity in the city. Some of their most notable portfolio companies include Eveo, Alpine Data Labs, Enevate, Nirvanix, and SodaHead.


Qualcomm Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Qualcomm, Inc., the public company known for its 3G, 4G, and wireless technologies. With 11 investments into San Diego startups, it’s responsible for around 4% of investment activity in the city. Notable investments include Digital Orchid, AttackIQ, Edico Genome, Playdek, and more.

And, if we learned one thing looking at the investments these local funds are making — it’s the sheer dominance of biotech in San Diego. So we created VentureMap San Diego Biotech — close to 100 investments into 74 businesses by 34 investors. Explore the businesses that are raking in funding from local investors.