Startup78 Ecosystem: A Guide to Entrepreneurial Resources for a Thriving Startup Community

From food innovation to software, aircraft design, breweries, life science, hospitality, agriculture, action sports and more, the 78 Corridor is home to a cluster of thriving startups.

From food innovation to software, aircraft design, breweries, life science, hospitality, agriculture, action sports and more, the 78 Corridor is home to a cluster of thriving startups.

And with 85 percent of small businesses along the 78 Corridor projecting financial growth over the next two years, this diverse startup community will no doubt grow even bigger. The five cities that make up the 78 Corridor include Vista, Escondido, San Marcos, Carlsbad, and Oceanside.

Startup78 – an initiative between Innovate78 and San Diego Regional EDC – is helping to fuel startups in this unique region by uniting and amplifying the resources available to entrepreneurs along the 78 Corridor. The ultimate goal is to help startups scale to become long-term, viable businesses that support San Diego County’s overall economy.

At Startup78, we work to foster the innovation ecosystem – from incubators to talent, culture, capital and other critical resources – to sustain our local startups.

“There are a growing number of entrepreneurs along the 78 Corridor who need critical resources as they begin to develop their companies and we want to support their growth as they become sustainable and successful businesses,” said Tess Sangster, Economic Development Manager for the City of San Marcos. “We want to maximize resources and support cluster growth in the cities that make up the dynamic region by facilitating public-private communications, providing access to capital, increasing ease of doing business, and connecting startups along the 78 Corridor to the regional ecosystem.”

Below we take a deeper dive into the various startup resources along the 78 Corridor and beyond.

North County Biotech Incubator, Vista

Incubators & Accelerators

  • Bio, Tech and Beyond (Carlsbad): Provides low-cost lab space and shared resources that make it easy to start a science company.
  • North County Biotech Incubator (Vista): Furnished incubator labs that include the basic equipment for cell culture and drug discovery research.
  • Veterans Business Incubator (Escondido): This incubator offers collaboration with other military veterans, free WiFi, conference room, access to training and business mentors and coaching.
  • Ad Astra (Solana Beach): San Diego’s first-of-its-kind, female-focused accelerator and fund that concludes with a guaranteed investment. The accelerator’s mission is to equip female entrepreneurs to build, run, and scale investable businesses.
  • CONNECT Springboard Program (Sorrento Valley): CONNECT is a regional program that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County by linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success.
  • San Diego Sports Innovators (Solana Beach): Provides mentoring, networking and other resources for sports-related companies across the region.
  • The Sandbox (Sorrento Valley): Provides co-working space exclusively to businesses focused on AI and machine-learning technologies.
  • Nex Cubed: Incubator focused on digital health companies. Nex Cubed’s platform supports angel to seed stage startups and helps them to drive commercial adoption of their solutions and prepares founding teams for their next round of financing.


  • Elan Capital (Carlsbad): Partners with Western US companies generating $1-to-$6 million in EBITDA who seek to accelerate growth.
  • NextWave Ventures (Carlsbad): Seed to early-stage venture capital firm focused on commercializing university research and advanced technologies.
  • Mooring Ventures (Carlsbad): A boutique investment firm dedicated to accelerating success for early-stage companies.
  • Founders First Capital (Sorrento Valley): We fund small businesses generating between $50,000 and $2.5 million in annual revenues typically led by minorities, military veterans, or woman-owned founders who are motivated to grow their companies to seven- and- eight-figure revenues annually while adding premium wage jobs in their community.
  • FusionX Ventures (Rancho Bernardo): Invests in promising, early-stage startups in the technology, industrial, and medical/life science sectors.
  • Tech Coast Angels (La Jolla): Provides hands-on practical mentoring, assists in building out management teams, and helps raise additional venture capital funding. TCA focuses mainly on tech (software, hardware, cleantech, etc.) and life science (biotech, medical devices, pharma, genomics, diagnostics, digital health, etc.).
  • Blueprint Equity (Del Mar): Technology-focused growth equity firm.
  • Moore Venture Partners (Coronado): Invests alongside top-tier VC funds in early and growth stage high technology and life sciences companies.
  • Section 32 (Cardiff): Funds technology, biotechnology, health care and, life sciences startups.
  • Serra Ventures (Cardiff): Early-stage venture capital firm investing in technology companies. Focused on information technology, devices/instrumentation, and agricultural technologies.
  • TVC Capital (Carmel Valley): Growth equity firm focused on investments in and acquisitions of software companies and software-enabled service firms.
  • Keshif Ventures (Del Mar): Angel investment firm focused on unique technology startups.
  • Correlation Ventures (UTC): Leverages world-class analytics to offer entrepreneurs and other venture capitalists a different option when they are seeking additional capital to complete a financing round.
  • Anzu Partners (La Jolla): Focused on software, hardware and industrial technology startups that serve the life science industry.
  • Triton Funds (UCSD – La Jolla): Student-run fund, backed by local advisors and investors, committed to making agnostic investments with focus in life science.
  • Sway Ventures (La Jolla): Invests in early to mid stage technology companies.
  • Alexandria (Torrey Pines Mesa – La Jolla): Provides long-term strategic investment capital to innovative life science and technology entities developing breakthrough technologies and therapies.
Incubate Ventures, Carlsbad. Photo: Marcy Browe

Coworking Spaces: The 78 Corridor houses a number of coworking spaces that contribute to the success of the local startup scene as well as the entire community. All five Innovate78 cities are home to a number of coworking spaces that boast unique offerings and amenities.




San Marcos


San Diego Code School, Escondido

Talent: North County’s vibrant education ecosystem continues to train future skilled workers and innovative leaders for businesses along the 78 Corridor, as well as for the region.

  • The California Community College Workforce and Economic Development Initiative: The community colleges along the 78 Corridor partner with industry to customize curriculum and career pathways so that the students of today are prepared for the workforce of the future. This initiative ensures that community college programs are responsive to economic forecasts and workforce needs, including customized training.
  • Palomar College (San Marcos): A public two-year community college that offers 200 associate degree and certificate programs.
  • MiraCosta College (Oceanside & Cardiff-by-the-Sea): Public community college serving coastal North San Diego County. Offers over 50 AA degrees and bachelor’s in biotechnology. MiraCosta was one of 15 colleges selected in the state to offer a four-year degree in biotechnology.
  • Technology Career Institute (Carlsbad): Part of MiraCosta College’s Community Education & Workforce Development department. The institute offers local community members the opportunity to enhance their lives and their careers with low cost, hassle-free classes, workshops and programs.
  • California State University San Marcos (CSUSM): This state university educates over 12,000 students per year in a multitude of disciplines.
  • San Diego Code School (Escondido): This specialized school provides its students with a 16-week program that prepares them for careers as developers.
  • Del Lago Academy (Escondido): High school that offers a unique biotech focus that strives to prepare future scholars, innovators, and world citizens.
  • Quantum Academy (Escondido): High school that aims to inspire confident leaders who impact the community through empathy, creativity, and innovation.
  • High Tech High North County (San Marcos): The goal of this charter school is to offer a college preparatory, project-based learning environment to 9-to-12 grade students. We also aim to inspire students to become civic leaders through real-world, authentic learning experiences.
  • Vista Innovation Design Academy (Vista): Focused on “design thinking” to inspire students to be creative in solving problems and serving people.


Other Startup78 Business Resources

  • San Diego North Economic Development Council: Offers business resources and assistance, markets economic development opportunities and amplifies positive news about North County’s economy.
  • San Diego & Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center: Provides a vast array of no-cost and low-cost support to entrepreneurs and small businesses through its four locations, including one in Carlsbad.
  • CSUSM Entrepreneurs: Organization at Cal State San Marcos that helps students reach their goal of becoming successful entrepreneurs through the cultivation and sharing of knowledge, networking, and a positive environment of support.
  • San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange: Nonprofit run by local entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs interested in life sciences, biotech, pharma, medical devices, tech and alternative energy.
  • San Diego Tech Hub: This is a stellar group that connects businesses, organizations, and individuals, and leverages their resources and talents to build a stronger San Diego tech community through collaboration.
  • Startup San Diego’s guide to everything you need to know about the San Diego Startup Ecosystem.
  • Here’s a link to business resources in each of the five cities along the 78 Corridor.
  • Sign up for the Innovate78 monthly newsletter here.

Regional Stats

  • Read Innovate78’s regional profile to find out more about the economic health, quality of life, demographics, talent profile, innovative industries and real estate in these five cities.

Events & Meetups:

San Diego Startup Week: May 28-June 2, 2019. This is a must-attend event that gathers thousands of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, investors, students and community leaders from around the region. This year, there will be a North County day during Startup Week on June 2 at make in Carlsbad. Expect a day full of entrepreneurship education and awareness of the North County ecosystem.

Startup78 Quarterly Meetup: This is a quarterly event for all startup communities along the 78 Corridor to encourage collaboration. Join our community of startups, venture capitalists, accelerators, local industry and cities that are part of developing the startup ecosystem in North County.

San Diego CTOS: A gathering of CTOs based in San Diego.

Bio, Tech & Beyond Meetup Group: DIYbio San Diego aims to gather like-minded science geeks from the Greater San Diego area.

Carlsbad Tech Talks: This Meetup group is for anyone who is interested in or actively working in technology.

To learn more about Startup78 and how we can help fuel your startup or if you want to be more involved, please contact Kierstin Rielly at

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