Announcing the 2021 Cool Companies

Apr 27, 2021

SAN DIEGO — Connect announces the 32 top-tier innovation companies to present to venture firms across the country

Cool Companies is an annual Connect program designed to match San Diego’s top-performing technology and life science startups with quality venture capital firms.  Companies across all areas of technology (including consumer tech and healthtech) and life sciences, ready to raise their first round of institutional venture funding, are selected and given warm introductions to capital providers. 

“Getting a high-level introduction really leads to action in raising capital.” – Mike Cordonnier, CEO of Carlsmed (2020 Cool Company, Carlsmed raised $10M in Dec. 2020, led by USVP.  Intro from Connect.)

“We work to connect the right companies to the right funds, based upon the characteristics of the companies, and the investment profiles of the funds.” says Mike Krenn, CEO of Connect.

Over the years, Connect has built trusted relationships with more than 300 venture funds across the country, and the organization continues to grow its list. Connect annually brings over 200 VCs to the region through our programming and regularly receives inbound calls from VCs looking for dealflow.  Connect does this to support the region, taking no fees or equity — it is an entirely free service for both the companies and the VCs. 

Since 2015, Cool Companies have raised over $635M and counting, just in institutional series A funding.  Krenn adds, “Including follow-on rounds, those companies have combined for over $1.7B in capital to the region.  In that same time, the annual venture dollars coming into the region has grown from $1B annually, to more than $5B in 2020. We are proud to be operating squarely in the middle of five consecutive years of growth.  San Diego is crushing it and we are working as hard as ever, bringing critical growth capital into our community.  And we’re just getting started!”

“The innovation community as a whole is bringing the energy essential for the economic growth and prosperity of the region. This is a unique time where preparation can meet opportunity. The companies in tech and life sciences selected as 2021 Cool Companies will be compelling to watch over the next year.”   James Mackay, President and CEO of Aristea Therapeutics and newly elected Chair of the Connect Board.

Connect is a community nonprofit organization passionate about helping tech and lifesci entrepreneurs build great companies. Connect serves entrepreneurs throughout their growth journey with a suite of curated programs aimed to help companies grow, gain access to capital, and scale.  We actively engage the venture capital community outside the region, and make targeted introductions for quality companies, taking no fees or equity. 

We are a community of VCs, angel investors, entrepreneurs, executives, market influencers, and community leaders. 

Connect is part of the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network which allows us to offer no-cost consulting and low-cost training to new and existing startup businesses.

We help innovative companies thrive so they can make a meaningful impact on the economic development of the region, and together create a world-class innovation ecosystem. 

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This year’s list of the 32 Cool Companies is published here.