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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024
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Connect Eyes the Future with Five.Ten.Thirty

When it comes to economic growth and attracting investment dollars in recent years, the San Diego region has cause to celebrate. That is the inspiration behind Five.Ten.Thirty – a Connect San Diego event at Petco Park that will be held on April 28.

“It started as idea to celebrate the progress we made in venture, growth companies and jobs and at the same time show the community what’s going on here,” said Connect San Diego CEO Mike Krenn. “The breadth and depth of the innovation economy here is bigger than what people realize.”

 

Six years ago, San Diego was steadily attracting around $1 billion of venture capital a year. Last year, the region raised $9 billion.

 

Despite the massive growth, there is a perception that San Diego is “playing second fiddle” to regions it “substantially outraises” such as Miami, Denver and Austin, Krenn said, adding that San Diego is more akin to cities like San Francisco and Boston that have a strong presence in both life sciences and technology companies. San Diego also has its strong tourism and defense industries.

 

“So we think there’s a great future for the region, the economy,” Krenn said.

 

But with great growth, also comes great responsibility – and planning.

 

“If we’re going to create this foundation that affords people to have economic opportunity in a pretty expensive city to begin with it, creating those good jobs and distributing those jobs across the region is something we got to do – and it’s going to take five, 10, 30 years – but we’ve got to start now,” Krenn said.

 

In his vision for the future of San Diego, Krenn said he also drew inspiration from the city’s legendary business titans like Irwin Jacobs, David Hale, Conrad Prebys and Ernest Rady, whose philanthropy in the region is “seen everywhere.”

 

“And we need more of that if we’re going to build a great city,” he said. “We’re really thinking about the next generation.”

 

That vision for the next generation has already attracted over 100 companies to purchase booths at Five.Ten.Thirty as well as an impressive list of sponsors, including “Title Sponsors” Gosite, Illumina, SoftBank Investment Advisers and Vertical Venture Partners; “Innovation Sponsors” City of San Diego, ClickUp, Lilly, PNC Bank, NuFund Venture Group, SDG&E; and Trust & Will; and “Community Sponsors” Qualcomm Ventures, Cloudbeds, Pacific Western Bank, Peakspan, Seismic, SOCi and Wilson Sonsini.

“Five.Ten.Thirty would have been meaningful even if we were not coming out of a pandemic,” said Ashok Kamal, executive director of NuFund Venture Group. “The fact that we can celebrate our resiliency, collaboration and progress despite the recent challenges, while looking ahead to a brighter, bolder vision for the future is a testament to Connect’s leadership and our community’s spirit.”

 

A Festival Feel

 

Five.Ten.Thirty will be held on April 28, which Mayor Todd Gloria has declared as Innovation Day in San Diego.  

In the morning and early afternoon, Five.Ten.Thirty will be a private event allowing venture groups and business leaders the opportunity to network across a variety of sectors and topics such as technology, bioscience, defense, retail, hospitality, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and more.

“There is so much talent and innovation right here in our backyard and we’re excited to see the innovative tech startups that will be showcased at the Five.Ten.Thirty event,” said Quinn Li, senior vice president and global head of Qualcomm Ventures. “Qualcomm has been a strong supporter of the San Diego community and Qualcomm Ventures is proud to support organizations like Connect, that are helping drive the growth of the innovation ecosystem.”

 

At 4 p.m., Five.Ten.Thirty will open up for the public to explore the businesses from the city’s “innovation ecosystem.”

 

Tickets for the event are $40 and $20 for students; and there is a financial assistance program for people who want to come but can’t afford to.

 

“We want students to come so that when they graduate, they don’t just plan to go to Silicon Valley, they understand that there’s all kinds of opportunity here,” Krenn said.

 

In addition to San Diego’s innovative companies, there will also be arts and culture displays from around the region and at 8 p.m. the event wraps up with fireworks over Petco Park. The mix of arts, culture and business is meant to give the event a festival feel.

 

“We aspire to be South by Southwest someday,” Krenn said, invoking the popular, annual Austin, Texas, mega-event. “That’s a big lift. But that’s the goal down the road.”

 

Looking at goals down the road is also a big part of what Krenn hopes people get from attending Five,Ten.Thirty.

 

“For most of the attendees – to try and personalize it a bit – I’m trying to build this region for the next five, 10, 30 years,” Krenn said. “But for you, where do you personally want to be in five years after coming and exposing yourself to all these technology companies and life changing sciences? To stay ahead of it, this is your chance, all in one place, in one day … with a beer in hand!”

Connect San Diego

Founded: 1984

CEO: Mike Krenn

Headquarters: San Diego

Business: Provide innovators and entrepreneurs access to investors, mentors and education

Revenue: $1.5 million annual budget

Employees: 12

Notable: Since 2015, Connect Cool Companies have raised over $730 million.

Five.Ten.Thirty

What: A daylong event featuring San Diego’s innovation businesses and venture groups

When: April 28, open to public 4-8 p.m.

Where: Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., San Diego

Cost: $40 general; $20 students

Website: connect.org/five-ten-thirty

Notable: To coincide with Five.Ten.Thirty, the City of San Diego declared April 28 ‘Innovation Day.’

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