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A group of San Diego’s leading innovators kicked off San Diego Startup Week early Thursday with a panel discussion where they championed the tech community here.
The panel was sponsored by law firm Mintz Levin and hosted by marketing company 7 Second Strategies at tech incubator EvoNexus downtown.
TakeLessons CEO Steven Cox moderated the chat among Cyber United and CyberTech chairman Darin Andersen; HardTech Labs partner Derek Footer; Makers Quarter planner Stacey Pennington; WebHomes and SolidMX founder Jake Jacoby; and Inhibrx CEO Mark Lappe.
Cox said one thing that sets San Diego apart from other tech hubs is the collaboration among different sectors within technology.
“We have a lot of things going on in biotech, analytics and hard tech, but what’s really cool is that this is the only place where all the subsectors get together and talk about their ideas,” he said. “That doesn’t happen in the Bay Area, at least not like here.”
Andersen echoed that, adding that San Diego’s innovators also seem inclined to tackle bigger, more complex problems in the biotech and defense industries, along with the region’s burgeoning cybersecurity cluster. “Here versus the Bay Area, we’re tackling hard problems,” Andersen said. “Just look at the human genome and unmanned travel.”
The region seems focused on difficult tasks such as integrating innovations in both software and hardware, defense and hospitality, security and sports, he said. For that reason, he said, San Diegans should stop thinking of the area as a second- or third-tier technology hub, and think of it more as a leader.
At the event, Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said San Diego consistently performs “way above its weight class” as the 17th largest metro area in the United States and recognized some of its top rankings for what she said matters: Second-most patent-intense city in the world and top-three U.S. city for biotech and life sciences.
San Diego Startup Week runs Tuesday through June 21. The event, in its second year, showcases innovations in software, Internet, mobile tech, and hardware.