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Company Formation, Venture Capital Remain Concerns in Data for San Diego’s Innovation Economy

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life sciences startups. About 42 percent went to startups and early stage companies.

Flashing Yellow: New data shows that tech companies now account for just 6 percent of the employers in the San Diego area. Yet the tech sector represents about 11 percent of all jobs and more than 25 percent of the payrolls. Average pay among tech firms is $85,800, which Cunningham found is more than 80 percent higher than San Diego’s overall average of $47,400 per job. Average pay was highest among communications and equipment manufacturers ($101,900) and computer and electronics ($98,000). That might seem encouraging, but as The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported, overall unemployment in San Diego fell to 10 percent in May—its lowest point in 11 months—although much of that hiring was due to temporary hiring by the government for the 2010 census.

Flashing Green: San Diego received $33 million in funding from the National Science Foundation during the first quarter, a 4 percent increase from the nearly $31.3 million the NSF awarded in the fourth quarter of 2009. Southern California as a region got more than $121 million in NSF funding during the quarter.

Flashing Green: The report found 838 patents were granted to San Diego-based inventors during the quarter, a 23 percent compared to the 730 granted during previous quarter. San Diego accounted for 16 percent of all patents filed statewide and 12 percent of patents granted during the quarter.

The Connect Innovation Report also listed the same first-quarter top 10 investments in San Diego companies that I reported in April, based on data from the MoneyTree survey: Tandem Diabetes ($31 million); PatientSafe Solutions ($30 million); Tioga Pharmaceuticals ($18 million); Sotera Wireless ($17.5 million); Genomatica ($15 million); Elevation Pharmaceuticals ($15 million); EMN8 ($14.5 million); VentiRx Pharmaceuticals ($12.5 million); Tragara Pharmaceuticals ($10 million); Avaak ($10 million); AwarePoint ($10 million). I also had reported that VentiRx raised $12.5 million during the quarter, and got a note from CEO Michael Kamdar saying that number is wrong; VentiRx raised $25 million.

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