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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


MetroConnect

May 14, 2018

This month, it was announced that California had the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. Much of this growth is concentrated in the coastal metros which, of course, include San Diego. In an increasingly integrated economy, strategic global economic engagements are crucial to San Diego’s sustained economic competitiveness. By leveraging international exports and foreign direct investment (FDI), San Diego continues to create jobs, increase competitiveness, and boost the region’s global identity.

San Diego, with the help of its local leadership, has become an increasingly global city – one that engages with other metropolitan regions with similar interests and industries. These connections have led to an increase in trade missions, research and innovation partnerships, collaborations, venture funding, and other opportunities for local companies. This year, San Diego welcomed Lufthansa airlines as a direct flight carrier linking San Diego and Frankfurt. Lufthansa joins the ranks of Edelweiss, British Airways, and Japan Airlines in offering overseas nonstop service. These direct flights go a long way in easing both business and tourism travel which foster increased business flow and connect people around the world with San Diego’s world-class tourist sites, such as the San Diego Zoo. These direct flights and increased global connectivity have also done much to help San Diego’s budding companies do business both at home and overseas.

In just the past three years, 45 companies have graduated from MetroConnect, an export assistance program led by WTC San Diego. As we close out our most recent cohort, program participants have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits.

While the latest national rhetoric seems to suggest that trade is an evil word and something to be feared, San Diego traces some of its greatest successes to trade. Companies such as Viasat, Qualcomm, Cubic, and Illumina have all translated local innovation into global solutions – solutions that have catapulted San Diego onto the global stage and helped highlight the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that helps this region the life-changing place it is.

This week, WTC San Diego is proud to commemorate World Trade Week and highlight the ways in which San Diego is going global. We couldn’t be more proud of our companies, our people, and our innovations. Follow along in our week-long celebration at #WorldTradeWeek, and tell us what #GlobalSD means to you.

The World Trade Week concept was started in 1926 and first observed in 1927 in Southern California. World trade significantly contributes to the nation’s economy and has developed a vast new horizon for America’s businesses. To learn more about the history behind World Trade Week, visit: foreigntradeassociation.com/worldtradeweek.

 

 

May 10, 2018

WTC San Diego is proud to announce the four finalists of MetroConnect, San Diego's premier export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. These four diverse companies will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding towards their international expansion strategies during our Grand Prize PitchFest on June 7. The catch? They will be looking to you, the attendee, to judge and award the extra cash. Read more and register here.

This year’s finalists are:

  • CureMatch | a genomics, software company that guides oncologists through its platform in selecting the most advanced personalized cancer therapies for patients
  • FoxFury | an innovative, portable, go-anywhere, lighting tools company that serves firefighting, police, military, industrial safety, hazardous area, filming, and photography
  • Planck Aerosystems | an autonomous drone company that focuses on use cases operating from moving vehicles
  • Tioga Research | a contract research organization that supports the research and early development of skin-applied products, including topical, and transdermal drugs and prestige cosmetic products


Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

May 7, 2018

MetroConnect is WTC San Diego’s comprehensive export support program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. Each year, 15 companies are chosen to receive support that will accelerate their global growth through exporting. Critical to the success of this program areWTC San Diego’s network of MetroConnect partners.

SYSTRAN is a pioneer in translation services and technology, delivering real-time language solutions for companies and government agencies that require the most high-performance translation services on the market. Founded in La Jolla in the midst of the Cold War, SYSTRAN has been a trusted provider of translation solutions to companies such as Symantec, Cisco, Airbus, and Barclays, as well as the U.S. Intelligence community.

SYSTRAN introduced the very first hybrid machine translation engine on the market, with software that automatically learned from existing and validated translations. More recently, SYSTRAN Pure Neural® Server will push the quality and fluency boundary further than ever before, according to SYSTRAN’s Global CTO, Jean Senellart.

As a two-time sponsor of the MetroConnect program, SYSTRAN has made its entry level suite of translation and consulting services available to the 30 participating companies, free of charge. This has allowed companies such as CureMatch and Envision Solar to focus on what they do best (saving lives and the environment) and leave the translation to the experts.

Just this past month, SYSTRAN celebrated its 50th anniversary of helping connect people around the world.

 

Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

May 3, 2018

MetroConnect is WTC San Diego’s comprehensive export support program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. Each year, 15 companies are chosen to receive support that will accelerate their global growth through exporting. Critical to the success of this program are WTC San Diego’s network of MetroConnect partners.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan.  JETRO is organized and managed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and maintains 74 overseas offices, 44 regional offices in Japan, and headquarters in Tokyo and Osaka.

With the support of JETRO’s trained staff and advisors, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support, find dedicated office space, identify local government incentives, receive market reports, and more.

One of the MetroConnect companies that received support from JETRO as part of this year's cohort is Foxfury, a portable lighting solutions company for emergency response and law enforcement. JETRO delivered a curated list of manufacturers and distributors and conducted outreach on Foxfury’s behalf. JETRO also represented Foxfury in initial meetings with distributors. These introductions eventually led to an arranged meeting, sales, and a partnership between Foxfury and Ostrich International, which will demo Foxfury products at trade shows in Japan.

 

Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

April 30, 2018

Next month, join WTC San Diego for the finale of the 2017-2018 MetroConnect export assistance program. MetroConnect, presented by JPMorgan Chase, is a comprehensive export support program designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. Fifteen San Diego companies were chosen to participate in the 2017-2018 program, representing a variety of sectors including life sciences, maritime, craft goods, and cleantech. These companies received a $10,000 grant and services to help them increase international sales.

On June 7, WTC San Diego is inviting four of the top performing companies back to compete for an additional $35,000. The catch? These companies will be looking to the audience to judge and award the extra cash. Make your vote count at the Grand Prize Pitchfest, as these promising local companies make their final case to be MetroConnect champion.

The event will take place from 2:30 – 5:30 PM at The Alexandria at Torrey Pines. Matt Cole, president of Cubic Transportation Systems will deliver the keynote address. Networking reception to follow.

 

September 22, 2017
For the second consecutive year, East County-based guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars generously played host to WTC San Diego and the 15 companies part of the MetroConnect program for a day-long export compliance workshop.
 
We kicked off the day with a tour of the company’s manufacturing operations, showcasing the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of every Taylor guitar. Then, the MetroConnect cohort was treated to lunch and an information session about global growth, IP protection and even corruption in the international marketplace. Taylor Guitars CFO Barbara Wight provided first-hand insight about the company’s ever-present struggle with foreign guitar counterfeits and resellers. She described how the company effectively responds to IP infringement, and helped the MetroConnect cohort think through how they might be at risk, and how they might combat such infringement.
 
Taylor Guitars Director of Finance Bryan Bear then described the company's schema for prioritizing international markets and choosing an entrance strategy.
 
These workshops are among several support services provide to local SMEs as part the MetroConnect program. 
July 31, 2017

Today, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC San Diego), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 15 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.

From language translation software platform Urban Translations, to cleantech company Envision Solar, to veteran-owned brewer Julian Hard Cider, the 2017 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross-section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

 

Now in its third year, the MetroConnect program equips small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources to support their efforts in bringing their products and services global. Powered by JPMorgan Chase, MetroConnect resources include:

  • $10,000 in matching grants to cover up to 50 percent of the costs associated with international expansion
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and more
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo, and on Air Canada direct flights from San Diego to Canada
  • Free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in May 2018

WTC San Diego is proud to congratulate the 2017 MetroConnect companies:

1. Coronado Brewing Co.
2. CP Global Manufacturing
3. CureMatch
4. Del Mar Oceanographic
5. Dermala
6. Envision Solar International
7. FoxFury
8. Guru
9. Julian Hard Cider
10. Optimized Fuel Technologies
11. Performa Learning
12. Planck Aerosystems
13. Tioga Research
14. Tunnel Vision
15. Urban Translations

Get the details on this year's cohort here.

Since the program’s debut in 2015, the 30 companies that have gone through the MetroConnect program have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits. Past participants include Calbiotech (now ERBA Diagnostics), Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (now Human Longevity Inc.), ROBO 3D and more.

In 2015 alone, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. SMEs produce 92 percent of those goods – driving home the point of programs like MetroConnect. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.

As part of his commitment to expanding San Diego’s global reach, Mayor Faulconer has led trade missions to Mexico City and Vancouver this year, and will lead a delegation to London and Cambridge this fall.

 

June 5, 2017

San Diego knows how to build companies that the rest of the world values. Case in point: Last month, El-Cajon based Calbiotech, a diagnostics company, was acquired by ERBA Mannheim, a medical device manufacturer based in Mannheim, Germany.

In 2016, Calbiotech was part of MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program. As part of the 2016 cohort, Calbiotech received financial and programmatic resources to support their plans to expand internationally.

Calbiotech has a global footprint of more than 200 products, which are distributed to 60 countries worldwide. With the expansion announcement, Calbiotech will maintain its footprint in San Diego because of the access to key reference labs and other biotech customers throughout the region. It will also serve as ERBA’s hub and gateway to the Latin American market.

The company was referred to the MetroConnect program by Jo Marie Diamond, head of the San Diego East County Economic Development Council. “I’ve been working with Calbiotech for years,” said Diamond, “They are representative of everything positive about the San Diego economy – a focus on innovative products, a strong sense of commitment to the community, and an incredibly grounded and highly diverse team.

We’re excited to hear of Calbiotech’s next step and were very impressed with the company during their time in MetroConnect”, said Lauren Lindner, director of World Trade Center San Diego who oversees the MetroConnect Program. “Their team was incredibly savvy in their rollout to international markets, and we’re not surprised to see that a leader like ERBA took notice.”

San Diego, and specifically East County, have been an integral part of the Calbiotech success story,” said David Barka, Vice President. “San Diego is home to companies that are leading the world in innovation in science and medicine. Being in San Diego gave us access to an amazing talent pool that really helped our company grow.”

The acquisition will help Calbiotech increase access to markets across Europe and Asia add to EBRA’s extensive and far-ranging product portfolio.

M&A is an important growth strategy and capital source for San Diego companies. According to a 2016 EDC study, nearly 70 percent of San Diego’s capital in 2015 came through M&A.

Calbiotech’s acquisition mirrors the region’s strengthening ties with Germany, including the announcement of Condor’s new direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany, which began operation on Monday, May 1.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Applications for the MetroConnect 2017 round are now open. To apply, click here.

June 1, 2017
Calling all companies looking to go global...
 
MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, is now accepting applications for its 2017 cohort. 
 
Made possible through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., small to mid-sized companies in San Diego can apply for a $10,000 grant and programmatic services to assist with international expansion efforts.
 
Fifteen local companies will be selected. Apply now through June 30, 2017.
To date, the 30 companies that have gone through the MetroConnect program (2015-2016) have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits.
 
Past participants include Calbiotech, Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (now part of Human Longevity Inc.), ROBO 3D and more.
 
Learn more at metroconnectsd.org and apply here
 
 
January 20, 2017

From 2025 to 2050, the 65-and-older population is projected to almost double to 1.6 billion globally, whereas the total population will grow by just 34 percent over the same period. With this, it has become increasingly important to support our aging population, with health and wellness among top priority.

San Diego medical technology company and 2016 MetroConnect participant AVACEN Medical has developed technology to help ease some of the common ailments afflicting seniors. The AVACEN 100 is an FDA cleared, over-the-counter medical device that provides non-invasive, temporary arthritis and muscle pain relief, and muscle relaxation. Using microcirculation enhancement on the palms, the locally-made device helps warm and thin the blood, thereby dissipating heat throughout deep tissues and relieving joint pain associated by arthritis, muscle spasms, sprains and more.

Taking this San Diego-made technology global, the AVACEN 100 has just received the CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark approval to treat widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia. The CE Mark allows AVACEN to market its AVACEN 100 to the European Union's 28 member countries where many prescription drugs, available in the U.S., have been rejected by regulatory officials for treating fibromyalgia pain.

Founded by Tom Muehlbauer in 2009, AVACEN’s revolutionary technology was originally developed to help alleviate his sister-in-law’s chronic pain. The company currently sells in two countries, with plans to expand into 10 more over the next year (thanks in part to the CE Mark). Sales have climbed to more than $1.5 million, with more than 20 percent of the sales coming from international markets.