These VCs are shaping venture capital in
San Diego

The most active VC firms in San Diego Early Stage rounds

This article is part of a series where Naxtrack presents you the best Venture Capital firms across different cities. 

Although startups based in San Diego do not account for the majority of VC tech investment activity in the US, local bio tech and software companies have seen quite a bit of venture capital in San Diego. The top early-stage VCs in San Diego tech startups are:

  1. Qualcomm Ventures
  2. Correlation Ventures
  3. Avalon Ventures
  4. TVC Capital

Qualcomm Ventures has proven itself in the test of time. The fund ranks as one of the most active corporate venture firms in the U.S. and is based out of San Diego.

Next to Qualcomm’s investment arm, Correlation Ventures has made dozens of investments since its founding in 2006. The firm is actively investing seed and early stage venture capital in San Diego.

Avalon Ventures focuses on investing in both SaaS and Life Science companies while TVC Capital is a classic Series A investor in B2B software companies .

Venture capital in San Diego at the seed stage is clearly underrepresented. San Diego’s H//NGE Capital, formerly Venture51, invests in high technology companies at the seed stage.

Who else invests in San Diego?

The bulk of VC investment in San Diego tech is done by non-San Diego VC firms. Find Out More

Top San Diego based VCs investing in Biotech and Life Sciences

San Diego is home to a number of Biotech investors. The most active VC firms in the Life Science field are:

  1. Domain Associates
  2. BioMed Ventures
  3. Torrey Pines Investment
  4. Forward Ventures
  5. Mesa Verde Venture Partners
  6. Avalon Ventures

Domain Associates is one of the oldest and most successful Biotech investors in the region. Active since 1985, the firm has lead a large number of successful investments in Biotech and Health tech companies.

BioMed Ventures focuses on Series A and later stage investments. It’s a sub-divison of BioMed Realty Trust, a company managing real estate for the biotech industry.

Another local life-science VC is Torrey Pines Investment. The firm invests at the earliest stages including Seed, Bridging and Series A.

Forward Ventures has not been very active since 2018, but is one of the oldest VC in San Diego dating back to 1993.

With just two investments in 2020, Mesa Verde Venture Partners is not leading the pack, but the VC raised a fresh fund this year and is continuing to invest in early stage life science companies.

Venture Capital San Diego the most active funds

Meet the Agtech VC

Finistere Ventures is a pioneering early stage venture capital investor in San Diego for the food and agriculture technology. The firm has a unique focus and is dedicated to financing agriculture and food tech.

The San Diego Venture Capital Firms You Need to Know

Avalon Ventures

Avalon Ventures is investing in both information technology and life sciences companies. Recent investments include seed and early stage investments in Seva (document management + productivity + enterprise SaaS), Memrise (edtech), BotChain (blockchain + machine learning) and Synthorx (biotech + therapeutics).

BioMed Ventures

An early stage venture investment firm, BioMed Ventures focuses primarily on healthcare venture capital investments like Compass Therapeutics (a biopharmaceutical company), AEGEA Medical (medical instruments), Amplyx Pharmaceuticals (pharma) and  Effector Therapeutics (biotech R&D).

Correlation Ventures

This venture capital fund is based in San Diego, San Francisco and New York City. They do seed and early stage venture investments and have been very active in recent years, with investments in companies like Prose (consumer goods + lifestyle), Jassby (e-commerce + payment), Galera Therapeutics (biotech) and  AI Foundation (personal AI).

Domain Associates

As one of the oldest venture capital firms in San Diego, Domain Associates specialises in investments in promising life science companies. Recent investments include Antios Therapeutics (biopharma), Milestone Pharmaceuticals (pharma + drug), Epic Sciences (biotech + diagnostics) and Fractyl Laboratories (medical devices).

Finistere Ventures

Agtech has become a key sector of interest for VCs and Finistere Ventures has a special preference for food and agriculture companies. Recent investments are ApisProtect (bee management), Taranis (agtech + crops + predictive analytics), Farmer’s Fridge (food + delivery) and Telesense (IoT+ crops + predictive analytics)

Forward Ventures

Forward Ventures is focusing on venture capital investments in the biotech sector. The firm has not been very active recently and does not tend to lead rounds. Forward Ventures has invested in Viracta Therapeutics (biotech R&D) and Syndax Pharmaceuticals (pharma).

Mesa Verde Venture Partners

Mesa Verde Venture Partners is an early stage life science investor. The fund has been somewhat active in recent years, with one or two investments per year: Paradigm Diagnostics (genetics), Biscayne Pharmaceuticals (pharma) and Biscayne NeuroTherapeutics (biopharma).

Qualcomm Ventures

Qualcomm’s venture arm, founded in 2000, is one of the most active corporate VCs in the country.

Qualcomm Ventures is looking for startups that demonstrate strategic growth potential for Qualcomms’s business. Recent investments include: QuintoAndar (real estate + curated marketplace), Airspace Technologies (logistics + supply chain), Blippar (adtech + augmented reality) and Spyce (food and beverage + robotics).

Torrey Pines Investment

Torrey Pines Investment invests exclusively in the Biotech sector and raised a fresh fund in 2017. The firm does mostly Seed and Series A deals in companies like Viriom (biopharma) and TealTech MMO (digital health).

TVC Capital

TVC Capital is a Series A round venture capital fund based in San Diego. The partners invest in enterprise and B2B software companies. Recent deals include LiquidPlanner (productivity + enterprise SaaS), HealthCrowd (digital health), SmartAction (AI + speech recognition) and Perspectium (big data + analytics).

5 Reasons why San Diego’s Startup Ecosystem is Unique

San Diego is much more than just beautiful beaches and almost perfect weather. The city’s tech scene is growing quickly and a number of organizations and initiatives contribute to San Diego’s tech and startup scene. Strong relationships between startups and local universities like UC San Diego form the backdrop of San Diego’s innovation ecosystem.

San Diego is home to a number of biotech and life sciences-focused labs that nurture startups that are grounded in scientific research. The city has seen the emergence of a large number of startup incubators and accelerators like BioLabs San Diego, Bio, Tech and Beyond in Carlsbad, EvoNexus, women focused Hera Hub, Johnson & Johnson’s Jlabs– San Diego, the Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space, Hardtechlabs and the Brink SBDC at University of San Diego.

Investors funneled a record number of venture capital into the local startup ecosystem, with San Diego-Carlsbad ranking #9 in terms of VC deal activity according to PwC MoneyTree, a report produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Who else invests in San Diego?

The bulk of VC investment in San Diego tech is done by non-San Diego VC firms. Find Out More