San Diego Starts To Flex Its Cross-Border Muscles

April 14, 2014 0 comments

San Diego Starts To Flex Its Cross-Border Muscles

San Diego is perfect for manufacturing wearable technology. However, due to its proximity to Mexico, a new accelerator is betting big that it is the perfect place for building wearable technology.

Hard Tech Labs (HTL) has put together a bold plan to bring together a world class design, prototyping and building center in San Diego. HTL is combining the San Diego and Baja regions to form a partnership that cannot be done anywhere else in the world.

With the ability to share talent and resources from both San Diego and Tijuana, HTL is creating a place where hard goods with technology can be built in a very short time and inexpensive cost.

Forget China

With HTL, hard goods manufacturers can now go to Mexico to build things much faster than going all the way to China – and for a much lower cost. This is especially advantageous when doing prototyping at HTL; a production run can then happen immediately right across the boarder.

Hard Tech Labs will be like no other accelerator. According to PandoDaily, HTL is currently in the process of raising $20 million and will fund projects up to $150,000 when the enter the accelerator, with up to $350,000 when they exit.

Additionally, Hard Tech Labs will offer much of the machinery needed to design, test, develop and build hard technology products. They also have partnerships with Mexican Maquiladoras (large manufacturing sites) to get the products built.

San Diego is already home to hard tech groups and incubators such as FabLab San Diego and MakerPlace where there are 3D Printers, fabricators, CNC cutting, laser cutters and so much more.

Hard Tech Labs will be able to help entrepreneurs in wearable products such as fitness, jewelry, robotics and drones to name a few categories.  HTL will be offering a comprehensive 6 month to 1 year program with a developed curriculum and extensive mentoring program. They plan to also help to facilitate valuable partnerships with not only manufacturers to get products built but with established brands to get you product launched and cash flowing.

The initial class is targeting wearable technology, drone manufacturers, medical devises and customizable attire. Think you have a product or idea that fits one of these? Email Hard Tech Labs to apply.

Blair Giesen is a Voice of San Diego tech contributor, serial entrepreneur and micro-podcast founder. Join the conversation @BlairsReport or


March Mingle – Why it Matters

March 30, 2014 0 comments

Well March Mingle was last Thursday. What is March Mingle and why does it matter? It’s a group of tech and startup entrepreneurs and developers who are helping to change San Diego. The event was held at Stone Brewery in Liberty Station, hosted by Phelan Riessen from Digithrive and featured booths from many local tech companies to help support the event.

Sometimes I wonder what events like these are all about. After all I know most of the companies and startup CEO’s that were there. The first few people that I talked to we exchanged stories of how San Diego companies are reaching many of the big markets like Chicago and New York.

Then it occurred to me that something was really happening at the event.  Some were just there to “mingle,” but there were some that were there to make things happen. Bruce Bigelow as talking about DNA sequencing and mapping the Human Genome and that Life Technologies and similar companies in San Diego need bigger bandwidth to make it happen.

Brant Cooper was talking about real ways to help the startup incubator ecosystem. Brant shared that he was sick of the old ways of doing things and some of the ways he is moving forward without them (look for a future post).

And finally a group of startup entrepreneurs that are making plans to build a website that encourages all of the San Diego tech startups to start using each other’s products. I love this one. It is one of the things that Silicon Valley does so well that San Diego MUST do.

So as the talks of all the amazing things moving forward in the startup community wind down at March Mingle I feel like things are moving in the right direction. One thing I noticed was that San Diego has so much going on in many different sectors of technology and startups that it’s hard to get a real focus of which ones to highlight.

I think the answer is to highlight them all and watch them all grow into strong parts of the San Diego economy. After all, San Diego is such a desirable place to live. All we have to do is keep building what is already started.

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