The leaders of three San Diego “unicorns” — startup companies with billion-dollar valuations — said Friday San Diego has matured as a technology center.
“This is a wonderful market that is full of talented people who are much more loyal than in the Bay Area,” said Jeff Lunsford, president and CEO of the data management company Tealium.
Lunsford said the local technology ecosystem has improved dramatically since the first Internet startups at the end of the 1990s, thanks in part to “second-generation” entrepreneurs who are investing in and starting new companies.
“Today, with 20 years behind us, there’s a lot more legitimate talent,” echoed Doug Winter, CEO and co-founder of Seismic, which provides online sales-management solutions.
Lunsford, Winter and Jean-Luc Robert, chairman and CEO of Kyriba, spoke at the downtown convention center on the fourth day of the popular San Diego Sartup Week. The session was moderated by Eric Otterson, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank, which finances many startups.
Two decades ago, tech employees were reluctant to relocate to San Diego out of fear that if a startup failed, it would be hard to find another job, according to Lunsford. Now, he said, it’s easy to move from one startup to another.
Robert, whose firm Kyriba offers online financial-management software, said San Diego suffers from only one problem — difficult travel for firms like his with global clients.
“The only problem in San Diego, which I’ve found personally, is that it’s very difficult to travel,” said the French native.
More than 3,000 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, investors, strategic advisors and community leaders are attending the week-long event taking place in Tijuana, downtown San Diego, Carlsbad and Barrio Logan.
Lunsford offered those in the session advice which he said transcended the technology sector: “I do what I love and my advice to all of you is to do what you love.”
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