Plug and Play Offers San Diego Startups a Bridge to Silicon Valley

They departed. They saw. And then they came back.

The inaugural class of startups from San Diego to be admitted to a 10-week “startup camp” established by the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA, has returned home. Five of the eight companies chosen to participate in the first Plug and Play San Diego Startup Camp program made it through the entire process, including a quick pitch business presentation to scores of investors on Sept. 12.

“We got a different kind of exposure; people in the Bay Area have a different perspective,” says Adam Riggs-Zeigen, a co-founder and CEO of Rock My World, which has developed a sensor-based health & fitness platform that correlates music with the user’s vital signs. “The level of traction needed to attract investor interest is lower up there than it is down here.”

In San Diego, Riggs-Zeigen says investors are more fixated on a startup’s ability to generate revenue. In the Bay Area, he says investors don’t seem to be as focused on your ability to generate revenue as they are in your ability to attract users or Web traffic.

Nevertheless, he says, “It’s hard to make inroads into that Silicon Valley community if you don’t live there. This [Startup Camp program] provides a platform.”

Alex Roudi

Alex Roudi

To Alex Roudi, that is essentially what the Plug and Play San Diego Startup Camp set out to accomplish, although he prefers to think of the program as San Diego’s bridge to Silicon Valley. “The genesis of this idea was really based on the fact that I saw very limited resources in San Diego that are available for the startup community,” says Roudi, a San Diego real estate investor who is managing partner of Plug and Play San Diego.

Roudi says he worked with Plug and Play founder and CEO Saeed Amidi, whom he has known for many years, to establish a Plug and Play program in San Diego. Roudi says he and Amidi were initially looking to duplicate the Sunnyvale Plug and Play Tech Center by buying a high-rise in downtown San Diego. “As we went through that whole process, it really became more of a real estate project than we had in mind,” Roudi says.

Eventually they settled on the idea of creating a program in San Diego, which could provide some services by working with Robert Reyes of Startup Circle in San Diego,  but would chiefly screen local startups for the … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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One response to “Plug and Play Offers San Diego Startups a Bridge to Silicon Valley”

  1. Gabriela Dow says:

    We just announced Dec 3 as the date for the next PNPSD pitch event along with an awesome panel of judges that include Mitch Thrower, Mike Alfred, Barbara Bry, Kelly Abbott, Eric Otterson, Navrina Singh of Qualcomm and other leaders from StartupCircle, Connect, UCSD Rady School of Management, SDSU Lavin Entrepreneur Center, CommNexus and MIT. We are looking forward to funding and supporting more great local startups and hopefully seeing Xconomy there again!