Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined

San Diego’s Start-Up Scene is Out of Control


March MingleIt’s the middle of 2013, and I’m incredibly excited at where San Diego is from a start-up ecosystem perspective.

When I first dove into the start-up scene in San Diego 3 years ago…there wasn’t a whole lot going on.  There were a handful of events, and most of them were attended by the usual suspects.

About 2 years ago, things started to change.  More events…more people…I didn’t always know everyone attending, but I could still keep up with the event volume.

A year ago, I started to lose control.  <chuckle>  Meaning, I was actually missing out on some good events (I either didn’t hear about them, or I didn’t have the time to attend them all), I also didn’t know half of the people at these events.

As of last week, I’m incredibly proud to say that the Startup Ecosystem in San Diego has tipped the scales and officially become out of control!

This, my friends, is NOT a bad thing.  It’s a very good thing.


20/20 Mentor EventHow did we lose control?
By taking control.

Startup founders all throughout San Diego (you know who you are) have decided to put their fates in their own hands.  They’ve started events, they’ve rallied the troops, they’ve brought together amazing startups, mentors, and investors…and the enthusiasm is frothy!  So much so, that other startup founders are doing more of the same.

This is awesome, and we’ve lost control because of it.

We are San Diego entrepreneurs, we have infinite energy and yet we are EXHAUSTED!  <laughs>  Last week was the first San Diego Tech Week, and it was amazing.  I’ve never seen so many “spent” entrepreneurs by the end of the week.  Why?  Because we were going to every event, getting up early to grind on our businesses so we had time to go out all night from one event to another.

What’s been going on?  I literally spent about 2.3 minutes putting this list together…so understand this is me just scratching the surface of what’s taken off in just the past couple months:

  • Demo NightEpic visit from Brad Feld
  • Wildly successful 20/20 Mentor Events
  • Biggest Startup Weekend to date
  • EvoNexus asking the ecosystem what they can do better
  • First ever SD Tech Week
  • First ever Poker 2.0 kicking off this month
  • Lean Startup Machine
  • Investors investing (and paying attention)
  • New CEO Forums
  • Growing CTO Forums
  • Brant’s Rant
  • Biggest demo night to date
  • Shark tanks
  • SD Tech Scene expansion
  • Geek Girls uniting in San Diego for the first time
  • Pitch competitions galore
  • Startups co-working in massive spaces with other startups
  • Irvine Company providing amazing space to startups
  • Successful startups offering space to newer startups
  • A downtown upswell
  • A North-County uprising
  • Startups coming out of the woodwork
  • (some already with epic funding)
  • …and a PILE of new incubators of all shapes and sizes covering everything from internet to machine learning to fabrication

If you’re any part of this at all, congratulate yourself.  You are participating in one of many “tipping points” to come for the San Diego startup scene.  If this is new to you, congratulate yourself as well…because if you get involved now, you’ll get to ride an amazing wave that’s building.

Welcome to San Diego’s Startup Ecosystem.

About the author

Al Bsharah

Al is the Managing Partner at Interlock Capital, a community-driven startup fund that allows seasoned or aspiring angel investors to get into amazing companies within their own budget. Al’s been involved in multiple San Diego startups since 1999 after leaving the Detroit auto industry as an electrical engineer. He's started two of his own companies where he's raised capital from both VCs and angels, and sold one of them to both Seismic and Return Path. He's graduated both Techstars and Founder Institute accelerator programs where he now mentors. In his free time he manages to play a little beach volleyball, invest in startups, trade stocks, and camp with his wife, son, dog, and friends.


By Al Bsharah
Al Bsharah Business Minded, Technically Inclined