About Connect

We help entrepreneurs build great companies

We are a San Diego community nonprofit passionate about entrepreneurs, innovation, and improving the economy.

 Meet the Connect Team

Mike Krenn

Mike Krenn

CEO

Mike lead the charge of the merge of Connect and San Diego Venture Group.  He served as President of SDVG, starting in 2014. He’s been fortunate to work with hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs, helping many raise startup capital. He also has experience (and empathy) with startups, having worked as a COO and VP of BD at a privately-funded technology startup. He was a founder of both the Tech Coast Angels and CommNexus. While at DLA Piper, he founded Venture Pipeline  — a free service that matches entrepreneurs with capital sources nationally, though primarily VC funds based in Silicon Valley. He has served on boards for Connect, The MIT Forum, the San Diego Software Council, and numerous other organizations.

Laura Shaw

Laura Shaw

COO

Dr Petra Stegmann

Dr Petra Stegmann

Springboard Program Senior Director

Alex Waters

Alex Waters

Connect ALL Program Director

Cait Kelly

Cait Kelly

Community Director

Nicole Leandra

Nicole Leandra

Marketing Director

Matt Kroe

Matt Kroe

Capital Programs Manager

Danea Ramos

Danea Ramos

Connect ALL Program Manager

Madison Oppenheimer

Madison Oppenheimer

Programs & Marketing Manager

Matt Alamo

Matt Alamo

Entrepreneurial Programs Coordinator

 Meet the Connect Board of Directors

Leaders across Southern California meet regularly to support the innovation community.

Our Story

The Next Level of Collaboration in San Diego

For more than 30 years, both Connect and San Diego Venture Group have focused on supporting and elevating entrepreneurs in the San Diego region.

In 2019 the organizations merged, combining the deep histories and wide successes of each organization to create a powerhouse of resources such as mentorship, education, and capital for innovators. Coming together as the next evolution of Connect w/ SDVG, the organization aims to be the premiere support system for innovators in the San Diego region.

Connect w/ SDVG serves entrepreneurs and startups from early stage throughout their growth journey, with a suite of curated programs and events aimed to help companies grow, gain access to capital, and scale. 

Parallel Paths of Success

Connect is one of the nation’s first statup accelerators, founded in 1985 by the University of California San Diego. UCSD in partnership with the San Diego Regional EDC and private sector businesses, recognized the opportunity to establish an organization to transform San Diego’s growing research capabilities into an economic driver to increase the prosperity of the region.

San Diego Venture Group was established in 1986 with the goal of bringing together people interested in new ventures and furthering individual companies in order to support the overall innovation economy.