Alliance Blog

Ensuring SoCal Remains Fertile Soil for Innovation and Scalable Startups

The recently published article in the Economist titled “Why startups are leaving Silicon Valley” expertly describes the waning dominance long held by Silicon Valley, especially the larger forces at work in the rise of the global innovation economy. This was echoed days later by panelists at TechCrunch Disrupt who cited similar data points like cost of living, the availability of good talent outside of SV and SF, and the impact of the mega companies sucking up all the resources which has started to make scaling a company in the Bay Area less attractive.

So, is Silicon Valley becoming a gigantic incubator that spawns great startups who then need to leave the nest in order to thrive and scale? With 2/3 of VC funds invested in companies outside the Valley and in other tech hubs around the planet, it’s pretty clear that the trend is well underway. SoCal, by proximity (amongst other strengths), has benefited heavily from this trend and should continue to do so organically, but still requires continued investment in our own innovation infrastructure and by interconnecting and strengthening local networks (eg. connect biotech in Thousand Oaks to biotech in San Diego).

At the Alliance, we are working to support the local ecosystems to make them even more attractive and realistic for investors to take that quick flight and for founders to pick up their toys and bring them down here to scale. In the coming year, we will focus on local pockets of innovation, we call Nodes, across SoCal to support and grow tech ecosystems that attract investment and sustain thriving startup communities. To learn more how we can support your local ecosystem or vertical industry, please contact us.

Registration now open for our Unicorn Quest event on November 15 @ CBRE World Headquarters in DTLA

Meet SoCal’s billion dollar startups from today and the future. The Unicorn Quest celebrates the ambition and massive successes of SoCal’s innovation ecosystem as told by the founders and investors themselves. Plus you will meet high-flying startups on a trajectory to unicorn status and the potential for meaningful impact on the SoCal ecosystem.

Confirmed speakers: Adam Miller, founder and CEO of Cornerstone onDemand; Hemi Zucker, former CEO of j2 Global; and Jonathan Shieber, editor at TechCrunch. We are lining up additional speakers and a handful of emerging unicorns, so please check our website and social for updates.

Event details and registration here.

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Upcoming Events

San Diego Innovation Council Showcase | October 25 @JLABS in San Diego

A full day of company presentations and networking, with high quality investment opportunities in the software, engineering, clean tech, agricultural and life sciences sectors from San Diego’s top research institutions including UCSD, Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, San Diego State University, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and The University of Arizona.

Innovate Pasadena Presents Connect Week | October 20th-28th all over Pasadena

Bring your curiosity in science + astronomy, art + design, technology, and entrepreneurship during Connect Week, featuring dozens of independently organized talks, workshops, and social events, hosted at venues all across Pasadena.

Some of the exciting events include:

Visit for more details and updates!

San Diego Venture Group and TCA Quickpitch Competition | October 24 @ Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in San Diego

Watch 2 minute presentations from 10 startup companies competing for over $75K in prizes. An expert panel of judges will give feedback and award three winners — the audience picks a favorite too.

Tech + Homelessness: A Conversation on Ways Technology Can Impact Homelessness in LA | October 18 @Expert Dojo in Santa Monica

Social Venture Partners Los Angeles is excited to host a discussion on technology, innovation & homelessness.

@Steve Gilisonis Head of Programs and Operations at the Alliance for SoCal Innovation. You can also find him on LinkedIn.