A Big Crowd and Signs of Increasing VC Activity Mark SD Venture Summit

Xconomy San Diego — 

“Clearly, there’s more activity here today than there was a year or two ago,” Dave Titus said as he was making final preparations for today’s San Diego Venture Group Summit. As a litmus test for San Diego’s innovation economy, the signals coming out of the annual event were all green. More than 640 people registered, including 125 VC investors, for a half-day display of 30 local “cool companies,” a VC panel discussion, and two out-of-town speakers.

San Diego’s startup scene remains a far cry from Silicon Valley, concedes Titus, an erstwhile VC who became president of the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) last year. He says the tech culture is different here. “We tend to do more of the stuff that you can’t do in 90 days,” says Titus, alluding to the rapid rollout of Web 2.0 and mobile apps for consumers in the Bay Area.

San Diego’s startups seem to focus more on infrastructure technologies and business-to-business markets, but Titus says even the consumer-facing startups take longer to grow here. For example, TakeLessons.com, which provides a Web-based service for booking music lessons, has required years to develop software, expand into 2,800 cities, raise $6 million in venture capital, and hire over 100 employees.

Still, there are signs of increasing tech activity throughout the region.

—Kathleen Warner, the chief operating officer of the Startup America Partnership, is scheduled to be at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management at 9 am Saturday to inaugurate the San Diego Regional Chapter of its affiliated Startup California project. (Free online registration is here.)  The White House launched the Startup America Partnership earlier this year “to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.” The free half-day program at UCSD, which is open to entrepreneurs, students, and others, features local entrepreneurs and speakers from San Jose, CA-based eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Culver City, CA-based Magento.

—The number of local groups focused … Next Page »

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