A Culture of Innovation
A Conversation with Startup Advocate, Andy White
The Downtown San Diego Partnership serves as the leading advocate for the economic vitality and growth of Downtown, and it has been at the center of nurturing Downtown’s burgeoning startup community.
Leading this effort is startup advocate, Andy White. An accomplished entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and current head of Startup Operations at Keshif Ventures, Andy works in the Downtown community to help grow and foster new startups. We asked Andy for his trained insights into the transformation and growth of Downtown’s startup community.
Starting Things Right
"It’s exciting to be in a position to help harness this energy to grow successful companies."
Andy is an accomplished entrepreneur and venture capitalist himself, Andy works in the downtown community to help grow and foster new startups.
What makes you enjoy working with startups?
AW: Most new job growth is from new firms that are 0-5 years old. It is so rewarding to be a part of and help facilitate that type of economic development. The remarkable thing about early-stage entrepreneurs is that they are so bold and optimistic about what they wish to accomplish and achieve. It’s exciting to be in a position to help harness this energy to grow successful companies.
How long have you been working with the Downtown startup community? How have you seen it grow?
AW: I have been Downtown for just over two years, and even in this short amount of time, I have seen tremendous growth in the Downtown startup community. In 2015, there were 110 startups in Downtown. Today, there are 130 startups that call Downtown home, but that isn’t the only metric we have.
For example, the community driven event, Startup Week, has continued to grow year over year. In 2014, there were 1500 attendees, and this year there were 4,000 attendees. Now, more than ever, the community is collaborating with our neighbors to the south in Baja, Mexico. When I first came to San Diego, there were one or two annual events across the border for entrepreneurs, now we are seeing monthly events with the expansion of coworking spaces, accelerators, and organizations supporting local entrepreneurs and cross-border collaboration.
What are some of the most exciting things you are seeing in the Downtown tech community?
AW: One of the most exciting things I have seen in Downtown in the last few years is the growth of coworking spaces. It seems like every day there is either a new facility or additional square footage being added. This year, coworking spaces leased more than 200,000 square feet in Downtown San Diego. Downtown has also seen some of most successful startups choose to stay and invest in the Downtown community. Downtown has seen some of most successful startups – like Classy, Psyonix, and Mindtouch – choose to stay and invest in the urban core, which will only continue to boost our growing tech community.