Connect and San Diego Venture Group Announce Merger

Apr 25, 2019

Media Contact: Jana Wallis



Connect and San Diego Venture Announce Group Merger

Mike Krenn and Dr. Silvia Mah will jointly lead the combined organization


SAN DIEGO, CA (April 25, 2019) – Connect and San Diego Venture Group (SDVG), leaders in supporting innovation and entrepreneurs in San Diego, announce today they have completed a merger to become a joint organization under the Connect name. 

Mike Krenn has taken the role of Chief Executive Officer, with Dr. Silvia Mah, Ph.D., MBA, expanding her role to President and Chief Operating Officer. The merger is effective immediately and the organizations will combine operations in the coming months.

“We’re very fired up and happy about this merger,” Krenn said. “It’s all about lifting up the entrepreneurial startup community. Connect has been a leader in entrepreneurism and early-stage educational workshops as part of the Springboard Accelerator Program, while SDVG has been on the other end of the spectrum with providing access to capital and raising money, so it all fits in super nicely. It is a big honor and a privilege, as well as a huge responsibility being asked to lead Connect. Silvia and I take it very seriously.”

“Mike and I share the same value system and know that it takes a village to start and scale a successful startup,” says Mah. “We’re bringing our villages together to make San Diego better. There’s no shortage of entrepreneurs and startups that can use help, so we are looking forward to supporting them in all aspects of their growth.”

For more than 30 years, both Connect and SDVG have focused on supporting and elevating entrepreneurs in the San Diego region. Combining the deep histories and wide successes of each organization creates a powerhouse of resources such as mentorship, education, and capital for innovators. Connect will be able to serve entrepreneurs and startups throughout their growth journey, from early stage to capital raise, under one roof. In the years ahead, San Diego will continue to be a remarkable place for entrepreneurs due to the growing number of collaborations and strategic partnerships in the region focused on entrepreneurial success. Connect with SDVG is excited to help lead that growth.

“We are ecstatic about the combined leadership of Mike Krenn and Silvia Mah,” says Connect Executive Chairman Tim Scott. “Connect has traditionally focused on helping those promising entrepreneurs to be investment ready and grow in ways that benefit the regional economy. San Diego Venture Group has done a superb job of facilitating entrepreneurs on their journey to securing capital and as a combined team, Connect with SDVG will be focused on supporting the entrepreneurial journey from idea to a successful enterprise.”

The combined leadership of Krenn and Mah continues a legacy of engaged, passionate advocates for entrepreneurs at the helm of Connect. Mah is an angel investor and venture capitalist, founding partner of Ad Astra Ventures, founder of Hera Labs, and champion for diverse, women-led startups. Krenn’s stewardship of SDVG has made it one of the most successful vehicles for bringing capital to San Diego in recent years, contributing significantly to the $2.5 billion in venture capital that San Diego companies received in 2018. Krenn also has deep ties to Connect through his many years supporting San Diego’s entrepreneurial community. He previously served on the board of directors, worked closely with both Bill Otterson and Barbara Bry early in his career, and was an early supporter of Connect’s Most Innovative New Product Awards. During his career, Krenn has directly helped more than 50 companies raise startup capital, in excess of $200M. He also has direct experience with startups, having worked previously as a COO and vice president at a privately-funded technology startup. Krenn was also a founder of both the Tech Coast Angels and CommNexus.

All programming and events that currently exist under each organization will continue as scheduled for the immediate future, beginning with Cool Companies on April 30th at the Belly Up in Solana Beach. The boards of directors for each organization will combine, with Tim Scott remaining as executive chairman, and Eric Otterson and James Mackay serving as co-vice chairmen.

To reflect the evolution of Connect with the addition of SDVG, a new logo has been created, updating Connect’s brand colors to blue and yellow hues that capture the vibrant spirit of San Diego. As the organizations transition into a combined entity, the individual websites will remain active for the immediate future to continue to serve the San Diego innovation community. 

An interim website,, provides more detail on the merger and will provide updates on events and programming. 

The merged organization has relocated to a new office building, located at 4110 Campus Point Court.

About Connect

Connect is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology they need for success, Connect has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985. Connect is widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations linking entrepreneurs and C-suite executives with the resources they need for the commercialization of innovative products and services.

About San Diego Venture Group

San Diego Venture Group is a non-profit organization designed to bring together people who are interested in new ventures and furthering individual companies, as well as our overall innovation community. SDVG is working hard to build San Diego’s status as a leading entrepreneurial and venture community through regular meetings with start-up companies, VCs, and other investors – both here and outside of San Diego – helping to attract more than 150 VCs annually to meet with regional startups. SDVG’s mission is to elevate the funding environment for local San Diego startups.

For further information contact Jana Wallis at or 858.964.1300.