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Where Do San Diego's Startup Founders Live?

We found they’re spread out from the beach to the burbs, in this Q&A with a few local CEOs


San Diego's startup founders are spread out from the beach to the burbs. | Photo by John Bahu

Braydon Moreno

Co-founder of Robo 3D, which manufactures affordable 3D printers that are for sale at Best Buy and Staples, and used in schools nationwide. Robo 3D was recently named one of “San Diego’s Coolest Companies” by San Diego Venture Group.

Lives in:

An apartment in Mission Beach. I have lived here for two years, and other than the tourist traffic coming through the one way in and out of the neighborhood, it's an amazing place to live. I like the vibe—it’s a very diverse community in terms of age group, but full of nice, friendly people.

Fave neighborhood:

My actual favorite neighborhood is Little Italy. I think it's great for the young professionals. Lots of fun, upscale trendy restaurants and bars. 

Why affordable homes and cool neighborhoods matter to the startup community:

Starting a company means taking risks—many of them financial. Having affordable housing for startups while they're trying to build a business and grow jobs within San Diego would be hugely beneficial and bring a lot of good will and talent to the city.  


Susie Harborth

Cofounder of BioLabs San Diego, a new co-working space and incubator for life science startups that will open later this year in UTC. She was nominated this year for Athena's Pinnacle Award, which recognizes company leaders and educators who encourage young women to pursue STEM careers.

Lives in:

A home in La Costa. We love Carlsbad for all the amenities, and ease of access both north and south. Beaches, hiking trails and golf courses make the area lush and green. It’s great for kids and families, and central to going north to Orange County and L.A.

Fave neighborhood:

There are so many great neighborhoods, and that is the beauty of San Diego. There are many choices, whether you love the beach or the mountains or urban areas. Although there are so many hidden gems throughout the county, I would say Mission Hills and the area surrounding Old Town. I just love the architecture and history there.

Why affordable homes and cool neighborhoods matter to the startup community:

It really is about the team and the people who make startups great. One of the benefits of living and launching startups in San Diego is the availability of affordable housing options (as compared to the Bay Area, Boston, or New York). Startup companies want to be in areas where there's a community—and to recruit and retain talent, it's imperative to give people options that fit their family dynamics and budget within a reasonable commute.

If housing becomes an impediment, talent will relocate elsewhere, and relocating someone back is more expensive in the long run. 


Luke Sophinos

Founder and CEO of Course Key, a higher education software platform that allows teachers to leverage their students' existing mobile devices to create an automated and engaging lecture experience. It’s used by teachers at 13 institutions and the company was just accepted into EvoNexus.

Lives in:

An apartment in a high-rise in East Village. Love the active and vibrant community! Such a diverse set of talented people.

Fave neighborhood:

I love downtown—Gaslamp, Petco Park, and EvoNexus is there. So many incredible things to do and great people to be around.

Why affordable homes and cool neighborhoods matter to the startup community:

You take a look at what's happening in Silicon Valley with housing—it's starting to have such a negative effect on people wanting to move there to pursue their ideas.

In a perfect world, you have the ability to start a business without worrying about a ridiculous cost of living. Getting off the ground in the early days of a startup is tough: You don't have money, but you have this immense passion to solve a problem—that passion is really what you are running off of. If people don't start companies because they can't make rent, due to this ridiculous surge we're seeing up north, that is one innovation that won't happen, and one idea that will never be built.

San Diego has reasonable pricing, but more importantly is a great place to live. This is why you'll start to see many entrepreneurs move here to build their companies. 

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San Diego real estate news and gossip, from businesses opening and closing around town, to the neighborhoods that are buzzing with construction and which homes and buildings are being sold and where. Parklets, placemaking, lofts, design, cool workspaces, cool living spaces, big buildings, and tiny homes are things we find fascinating, especially right now in San Diego. The cranes are back in the downtown skyline, and so are many of our sources in the real estate industry, so you might see a heavy bent towards the urban neighborhoods here. But we see you up there, Torrey Pines Mesa. We know about your new companies, institutes, and hidden foodtrucks in office parks and cool cafes on the bluffs. And Del Mar and Carlsbad and everywhere in between. If you see a “For Sale” sign or a “coming soon” sign that we should know about, or just have a question about a building or a place, send an email our way.

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