San Diego Innovation Report
— 2019 —
Economic Impact — over $33 Billion
or over 13% of the total regional GDP
In 2019, San Diego’s innovation economy companies directly generated more than $63 Billion in sales, employed more than 164,000 workers, and provided over $21 Billion in payrolls.
The direct economic contribution to San Diego’s economy is over $33 Billion, accounting for more than 13 percent of the total regional economy or gross domestic product (GDP). Including indirect and induced impacts, the San Diego innovation economy results in over $61 Billion impact, 24 percent, of San Diego’s estimated total GDP.
Including indirect and induced jobs, the multiplier effect on jobs is 2.66 — this means for every technology job, another 2.66 jobs are dependent or created.
San Diego Technology & Life Sciences Startups
Continuing a trend over the last few years, new innovative startup creation dropped again in 2019, reaching the lowest it’s been since Connect began tracking this data in 2005. In 2019, 239 new innovation startup companies were created in San Diego.
At least 5,236 new tech and life sciences companies have been created in San Diego during the period of 2005-2019.
New Startup Creation in 2019
Software startups made up over 61 percent of San Diego County’s new innovation startup companies established in 2019. More than 140 new software companies were created, ranking San Diego County fifth among California counties for software startups.
Life sciences startups — Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, Medical Devices — established in 2019 totaled 51 companies, another drop from 60 in 2018, and 93 in 2017.
San Diego county continued to rank first in California for the number of life sciences startups in the calendar year, continuing a five year trend.
Geography: Where San Diego Innovation Startups Are Located
Software startups (in orange) continued to be widely spread throughout San Diego county in 2019. Startups in the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, and Medical Devices industries are tightly clustered in Torrey Pines/UTC/Sorrento Valley, but also show a spread across the entire county.
239 New San Diego Innovation Companies in 2019
Sorrento Valley led San Diego county in 2019 for new innovative startup creation, and since 2014, has been home to more new innovative startups than any other area of San Diego County.
California Technology & Life Sciences Startups
Innovation Startup Creation: Northern California slightly outpaced Southern California startup creation in 2019 (1,340 vs 1,336) — at least 2,676 new innovation companies were started in CA in total.
Technology & Life Sciences Startups
Southern California created 1,336 new tech and life sciences startups in 2019, accounting for 50% of these startups created statewide.
Southern California software startups accounted for 47% of all software startups established statewide in 2019. Life sciences (57%), computer & electronics (50%), communications (58%), environmental technology (61%), defense & transportation (80%), and recreational goods manufacturing (79%) startups in Southern California accounted for at least half the total number of startups for those sectors statewide in 2019.
Technology & Life Sciences Startups
Northern California created 1,340 new tech and life science startups in 2019, accounting for 50% of these startups created statewide.
Northern California established 53% of newly created software startups, and 50% of new computer & electronics startups statewide. Life sciences (43%), environmental technology (39%), communications (42%), defense & transportation (20%), and recreational goods manufacturing (21%) in Northern California accounted for less than half the total number of startups for those sectors statewide in 2019.
San Diego Innovation Economy — Sector Breakdown
In 2019, San Diego’s innovation economy included approximately 7,242 companies and provided over 164,000 jobs. San Diego’s innovation economy is composed of knowledge-based sectors on the leading-edge of research, innovation, and the development of technologies. These sectors are defined by businesses involved in the development and production of technical equipment, communications, and/or advanced technology services. The specific technology sectors encompass:
- Research and development in physical sciences, life sciences and engineering
- Biomedical Products (Medical Devices)
- Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
- Communications (Telecommunications)
- Computers and Electronics
- Defense and Transportation
- Environmental Technology
- Recreational Goods Manufacturing
San Diego Innovation Economy — Wage Breakdown
The average innovation sector job paid 1.98x more than the average job in San Diego in 2019.
Average Annual Salary:
Innovation Economy Job: $127,032
Rest of Economy Job: $64,139
San Diego Innovation Economy — Employment Breakdown
high paying jobs in 2019
continuing the trend of growth to historic highs since the beginning of the decade.
The number of innovation economy jobs in 2019 jumped significantly from 2018 and continues a decade of growth to another historic high in 2019.
*According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
Source: San Diego Institute for Economic Research, based upon IMPLAN econometric model for San Diego; Dunn and Bradstreet; Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW); Connect