Checking in with the Startup that Decided to Call SD its New Home

Hot Blocks will be taking a look at the local startup landscape over the next few weeks in celebration of San Diego Startup Week, happening June 13 - 17.

When the mayor comes to greet you at the office the day you open your business, you must have made an impression on the city.

That’s what happened last week when Bizness Apps, a startup that developed a DIY mobile app maker for small businesses, officially opened its new headquarters in La Jolla. The CEO, Andrew Gazdecki, relocated his company from the Bay Area and documented his reasons for leaving in an article earlier this spring that sent Twitter feeds buzzing.

We spoke to Gazdecki before the big move, and recently visited his new office on Fay Avenue for the ribbon cutting. Bizness Apps takes up an entire floor of a building across from The Lot, has clear views of the ocean, and is lined with fun murals and open workspace. After the press conference with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, some of Gazdecki’s colleagues got ready to play basketball as another whizzed around the office on a hoverboard.

Shortly after the opening, Gazdecki wrote a follow-up piece for TechCrunch detailing how he made the move because so many entrepreneurs had reached out to him for advice, he says. Since coming to San Diego, his employees’ rent expenses have dropped by about 40 percent and the company’s profitability has already increased more than 20 percent.

"Morale honestly has never been higher in the company," Gazdecki says. "Something we lacked in San Francisco was true leadership and experience across all departments, and we're already seeing the benefits from the talent San Diego can provide. We have more of that than ever now that we've relocated and have been able to hire such talented people into our company."

While his most recent TechCrunch post illustrates that relocating the company wasn’t easy, the publishing of a how-to-move guide seems timely: Gazdecki says a "mass exodus" from the Bay Area is on the way, because one-third of its residents plan to leave soon. And San Diego could be high on the radar for relocation options, since we’ve been named one of the top new tech hubs.

San Diego’s startup community has grown the past few years on its own, but a brain drain from Silicon Valley couldn’t hurt—Bizness Apps’s relocation, for instance, brings more jobs to the community, as the company looks to hire 100 additional employees. Here’s a few facts about how things look now in San Diego:

*There are about 155 startups for every 100,000 people who live here.

*Most startups (75 percent) are companies that fall in the "information and communications technologies" sector. These types of companies employ the most people—even compared to aerospace, biotech, and microbreweries—with 3,290 companies and 67,600 workers.

*Twenty-one companies in San Diego County raised about $254 million in the first quarter of this year, and the city ranks sixth for VC money. 

Does San Diego need to worry about an influx of new companies saturating the industry? Gazdecki says no.

"San Diego isn't for every company, and there are also many other tech hubs that have their unique advantages," he says. "I'm a bit biased when I say San Diego is by far on the top of the list, but I foresee a lot of startups moving out of San Francisco to even cheaper areas, like Austin or Seattle, where there is no state tax. However, I can't predict the future and it really comes down to the needs of your company."

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