Yannis Moore
Yannis Moore of Montfort Ventures.

Montfort Ventures, which supplies fundraising services to local startups, opened its first branch in San Diego recently. The firm says it will have a “strong focus on helping early-stage startups in the United States raise funds. In a release, the firm says it is drawn to San Diego’s vibrant startup scene, which has raised more than $9 billion in funding over the past 12 months.

Firm founder and managing partner Yannis Moore says he has worked for several California-based startups, including Surfair and Icon Aircraft. He has an International MBA from the Sorbonne Business School and was previously an early employee at Funden, a fundraising platform connecting founders to VC capital.

“With San Diego based startups closing more than $9 Billion in VC capital in 2021 alone, there has never been a better time to build and scale in this seaside escape,” said Moore in an email.

“San Diego has appeared as a hotbed for innovation, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from various industries,” he said. “The region boasts a rich ecosystem, encompassing renowned research institutions, a skilled talent pool, and a supportive entrepreneurial community.”

Moore said the region ranks among the top areas for startup activity and serves as a base for a range of industries, including biotechnology, cleantech, healthcare, and software.

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TuSimple Holdings, a Chinese-owned autonomous truck driving startup headquartered in San Diego, has received a fully driverless test license in Shanghai.

According to a news release, TuSimple is one of the first companies to be awarded the license, enabling the startup to conduct fully autonomous testing in designated areas of the city.

The release also says that Shanghai is poised to become the first Chinese city to pass legislation allowing driverless testing of autonomous trucks.

TuSimple has already accumulated more than 600,000 kilometers of test mileage in Shanghai, with zero incidents and road violations, according to the release.

The license will help advance TuSimple’s autonomous truck driving technology, and follows completion of a fully autonomous semi-truck run in the United States.

Tu Simple also recently announced that it has begun Level 4 autonomous test runs on Japan’s most critical freight corridor that connects the major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.

The company says that Japan’s freight hauling industry faces a serious challenge of driver shortage because of an aging population. The Japanese government has found that 45% of the drivers in the country’s transportation industry are 50 years old or older.

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The number of new homes listed for sale here in June fell 25% compared to last year, according to a report from online residential real estate broker Redfin. The company said that this is the lowest level of new listings for the period since it began tracking data in 2015.

The dearth of listings is due to several factors, the report said, including rising mortgage rates, which have made it more expensive for buyers to finance a home.

Additionally, the recent pandemic made it difficult for some homeowners to sell, because they have been reluctant to host open houses and show homes to strangers.

The good news? Home prices are rising at a slower pace than earlier this year, and there is a growing inventory of homes for sale. This gives buyers more options which may lead to lower prices. But sellers may have to lower asking prices to sell.

The report said that the San Diego market is likely to remain volatile in the coming months, as the factors that are driving the decline in new listings continue to play out. However, the long-term outlook for the market is positive, the online broker said.

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Visit Oceanside, Oceanside’s tourism marketing arm, says that tourism has sustained 9% average growth each year over the past decade. Visitor spending was $568 million in 2022, a healthy 26% increase compared to 2021. This data is according to a recent report by Dean Runyan Associates.

The authority said the surge in spending generated $24 million in new tax revenue, marking a substantial 33% increase over 2021 and an incredible 88% increase over 2019.

The tourism tax revenues significantly contribute to Oceanside’s general fund, supporting such services as public safety, parks, street repair and homeless outreach.

The Visit Oceanside bureau influences about one-third of the $568 million that is generated by visitors and supports 3,500 jobs.

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Trestle Biotherapeutics says it has received $1 million in prize money from the KidneyX Innovation Accelerator through its artificial kidney prize program. Trestle, developing bioengineered therapies for patients living with end-stage renal disease, is one of eight artificial kidney prize Phase 2 winners announced recently.

The company says more than 800 million patients around the planet suffer from chronic kidney disease. In the United States alone, 125,000 kidney failures are diagnosed each year, and 600,000 patients depend on dialysis, a technology developed more than 65 years ago.

The treatment costs in the U.S. exceed $100 billion annually.

KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology that seeks to speed up innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.

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A couple of items about new franchises coming to town…

National membership-based dog grooming franchise Scenthound says has it opened its first store in Carmel Valley.  The franchisor says its membership-based model includes bathing, teeth brushing, nail grinding and ear cleaning, as well as discounts on other services. Members can also use the store’s online booking system for scheduling appointments.

Rhode Island-based Indoor trampoline park franchising business Launch Entertainment says it is opening a location in San Diego. Local entrepreneurs Sejal and Trushar Patel have signed a franchise for the location, and they say they will open the indoor trampoline, arcade and bowling center in mid-2024. The company says it currently has 31 locations in 14 states, with a number of new locations under development.

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Finally, this item of note….Sudberry Properties says it has completed and fully leased the 137,500-square-foot first phase of its Otay River Business Park. The commercial real estate developer said tenants include SuperStar Car Wash, Jamba Juice, Menuderia Guadalajara, Knockaround Sunglasses, Colonna’s Shipyard, Sunbelt Rentals, Luv Sola Wood Flowers, Shore Total Office and Boochcraft hard kombucha.

Sudberry said it has started construction on the two manufacturing and warehouse buildings in the second phase, which will total 205,335 square feet.

The 50-acre mixed-use industrial development is less than a mile east of Interstate 5.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.