By Emily Merz |
San Diego’s regional startup scene is growing rapidly, and it’s finally garnering national attention.
The US Chamber of Commerce ranked San Diego as the fourth best region for startups in the nation in 2017. Inc 5000 ranked San Diego fifth for private company growth in 2018, outranking major cities such as Austin, Texas and San Francisco, California.
Carlsbad has a stake in this startup growth. With booming life sciences, information & communications technology and action sports manufacturing companies popping up all over, this city has a vibrant startup community of its own.
Victorise is a startup whose roots are here in Carlsbad. Jerome Lacote, the CEO and founder of the action sports technology startup, spoke to us about his vision for the company as well as enjoying the balance of living and working in Carlsbad.
Victorise creates high-tech wearable sports gear that tracks and displays information for athletes as they train or compete.
“It’s like a fitbit for your sports eyewear; we target athletes like bicycle or motorcycles riders, skiers, snowboards, etc.” Lacote described.
As CEO and founder of a startup with a small operations team, Lacote’s role is versatile. He handles everything from sales to business management to the actual engineering of products.
Lacote moved from France to Carlsbad to work for a video game company fifteen years ago. His background in mountain biking inspired him to build a product that would meet the needs of action sports enthusiasts, so he left the video gaming industry to start Victorise.
As the CEO, Lacote is committed to ensuring the company’s growth. Victorise’s most recent product, the EyeCo – a smart goggle accessory that projects notifications on the lens to assist athletes, just went on the market. The product is a part of his larger plan to expand revenue and funding opportunities for the company.
“It is a kick starter,” Lacote said of the new product. “We’re looking for funding to expand and keep growing.”
Lacote said he thinks that Carlsbad is a great place for him to expand Victorise and secure more funding.
“First, from the customer perspective, Carlsbad shows people the active lifestyle. It’s seen as being a place for different sports like mountain biking and others,” Jerome explained. “There’s also access to talent and funding in San Diego and Los Angeles, and we’re not too far from the Bay Area. It’s easier to build a company here compared to other places.”
However, Lacote pointed out that while San Diego has a vast pool of talent and deep venture capital funds, a lot of people in the startup scene are in downtown. To counter that and get people to come farther north, Jerome said he’s trying to market Carlsbad as a much more ideal place to live.
“In my stage of life, I’m interested in having a good life, which I can have in Carlsbad,” he said. “Our company is in the Village. I live in the neighborhood next to it. I like this feel to have everything in walking distance:”
This lifestyle is why Lacote hasn’t had trouble convincing people in his company to move to Carlsbad if he needs them to.
In his time not working for Victorise, Jerome spends his time mountain biking in Carlsbad’s trails. He also mentioned he surfs, runs, and goes to yoga occasionally. He’s so committed to growing his company and maintaining his lifestyle here in Carlsbad that he’s working hard to ensure that Carlsbad’s startup community continues to thrive, so his company can stay and expand here.
“I’m interested in the startup community and fostering Carlsbad. The more established Carlsbad is, the easier it is to get talent and funding,” Lacote said. ” I live here and I enjoy it. I don’t want to have to commute anywhere else.”