An entrepreneur recently was lamenting to me about the difficulties of raising money in San Diego. For technology startups, funding is essential to commercialize and ultimately utilize scientific discoveries for the benefit of humankind. Yet for many entrepreneurs, funding seems particularly difficult locally.
Sometimes, San Francisco seems like a mythical Xanadu. Movies like “The Social Network”, “Steve Jobs” or the TV show “Silicon Valley” idolize and romanticize the bay area as “the center of the world”. I heard an amusing anecdote recently that in San Francisco, you can wake up in the morning with an idea, pitch it over coffee to millionaires and have millions of dollars in investment before bedtime.
OneStart is an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the San Diego area to get introduced and exposed to the larger venture capital market. San Diego is known for our innovation and solving “hard problems”, yet it sometimes feels as though there is not a proportional stream of funding compared to the opportunity in the area. The OneStart program provides an intensive “mini MBA” curriculum and bridges the gap between innovation in the San Diego area and the availability of venture capital in the Bay Area.
Last year, our startup, Genrix, was a OneStart semifinalist. We were chosen from over 650 applicants from around the world, and were the only team from San Diego accepted. I had never been to San Francisco before, so OneStart allowed me, personally, to understand and appreciate that there is such a small barrier between us and “the center of the world” that is San Francisco.
My favorite experience from OneStart was during a presentation about roles in a startup. The presenter told us that every great startup needs three different roles: the hustler, the hacker and the hipster. Now, since there were only three of us on our team, we had to decide who each of us was. We immediately decided that the inventor of our technology was the hipster. I would have been a good hacker, because I am a trained computer scientist, but my other colleague felt that he fit that role best. So, it’s not like any of us, or anyone for that mater, fit perfectly in these archetypes . . . but there was only one role left.
So which role are you? The hacker, the hipster, or the hustler? OneStart allowed us to find out who we were. But if you are currently attending, or graduated from the Rady School, I already know who you are.
You’re the hustler.
Applications for the 2016 OneStart program are open from Oct. 1-Dec. 1, 2015. OneStart is the world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator program – welcoming ideas focused on the improvement of human health including; therapeutics, diagnostics, software, devices, research tools, and more.