Carlsbad: A Tech Talent MeccaFebruary 4, 2021
There are many reasons people are drawn to Carlsbad – nice weather, the beach, and amenities galore. But local tech companies can agree, there’s a much more prominent reason to do business in Carlsbad – the talent. Recognized as a premier Southern California tech hub, Carlsbad is home to a community of diverse startups, over 100 of which made their roots in the city between 2014-to-2016 alone. The Tech Tribune recently released its list of the best tech startups in Carlsbad for 2021, where several startups were evaluated based on revenue potential, leadership, competitive edge, and more.
Below, we highlight three of those finalists as they share why Carlsbad endures as a thriving center of innovation.
ChromaCode straddles two of Carlsbad’s major industry clusters – life sciences and tech – by combining advanced biochemistry with computational mathematics to advance healthcare diagnostics. Simply put, that means more efficient testing and improved results. ChromaCode has drastically advanced the vitality of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests (the kind of test used to diagnose COVID-19), which means that one specimen received from patients can be tested for multiple targets at the same time.
This innovation results in a variety of benefits: improved patient results and reduced healthcare costs through smarter and more affordable diagnostics. The gap in diagnostic testing is what drove the vision behind ChromaCode. Traditional tests, like a basic flu test, might test a patient for up to two different viruses. While more advanced, and much more expensive, tests could run a sample through a panel of 15 different viruses. The chasm between the two leaves many patients in limbo and makes the cost vary wildly. With ChromaCode, labs can implement comprehensive diagnostics from a single sample without driving up costs. The impact doesn’t skip the patient, who benefits from a more efficient channel to the right treatments.
ChromaCode’s roots started in Pasadena, but the decision to be in Carlsbad was a no-brainer. Tapped into the talent of San Diego County’s life sciences professionals, ChromaCode recruits top-tier data scientists, molecular biologists, and software engineers to continue growing the company’s capabilities.
Pre-pandemic, the ChromaCode team could often be found engaged in intense cornhole tournaments or at company barbecues. But while the office perks may have been sidelined during the pandemic, ChromaCode employees have been putting in long hours to accommodate the need for COVID-19 testing across the country.
“We’ve issued over 3 million COVID-19 tests and are currently responsible for 1.5% of all testing in the United States,” said Greg Gosch, Founder, President and CEO of ChromaCode.
ChromaCode team members prepare COVID-19 PCR tests
Gosch expects dramatic changes in the way patients are tested in a post-COVID era. Because of the rapid innovation that was borne from the pandemic, PCR and molecular testing have become much more affordable and easily accessible. This new infrastructure, Gosch explains, will continue to give patients independent avenues to test themselves at home and get a more definitive diagnosis at a very low price.
If you haven’t heard of Ezoic, it’s likely you’ve come in contact with the company without even knowing it. Servicing some of the most popular sites on the web, Ezoic utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to help publishers make smarter decisions on advertising and improve the user experience. The company’s approach to web ads rejects the pesky pop-ups and sidebars that often drive users away. Ezoic’s advanced AI not only gives publishers the recommendations on the best layouts to move users smoothly through the website, but its machine learning platform predicts what users will like and then adjusts the ad based on that preference.
Ezoic made headlines in 2019 when the company raised $33 million from Sageview Capital. That infusion of cash allowed Ezoic to hire scores of engineers at its Carlsbad location and continue its development of software for publishers both big and small, from mommy bloggers to national media outlets.
“At Ezoic, we’re passionate about building a better web,” said Tyler Bishop, Ezoic CMO. “We spend every moment of every day working on our platform to help publishers and website owners improve their digital properties.”
Interior of Ezoic’s Carlsbad office.
Ezoic’s reputation in the industry is no accident. A study of 50 different websites using Ezoic found that the average site was making $1,720 more per month after a year of using the platform. And if the power of digital content wasn’t already carved into marble, its prominence certainly soared during COVID-19. Ezoic is rapidly expanding its team, currently made up of 120 people. While the company has offices worldwide, the Carlsbad location is the only site that runs the company’s engineering.
Ezoic team members are no doubt missing the digs at the company’s 20,000-square-foot headquarters, where they have a fully stocked kitchen with rotating taps of local beer, kombucha, and cold brew, and a game room equipped with ping pong tables, air hockey, and arcade games. Employees returning from remote work won’t even have to worry about separation anxiety from their pooches, thanks to Ezoic’s dog-friendly policy.
Ezoic’s dog-friendly policy allows employees to bring their pooches to the office.
Computing for decades has been fueled by Moore’s Law, named for Intel’s founder, Gordon Moore, who predicted that computers would be twice as powerful and cost half as much every two years. While this maxim held constant for years, it is no longer operative. Now the way to continue to eke out more power and fewer costs from computers is to change the very architecture they are based on. New types of compute modules called accelerators have appeared in the last few years to perform specialized AI computing tasks the original Central Processing Unit (CPU) is ill-equipped to handle efficiently. These new devices are expensive, yet until GigaIO came about, they mostly sat idle up to 90 percent of the time. GigaIO’s technology takes those previously trapped hardware resources and through our proprietary software, makes them virtually available throughout the data center. GigaIO’s technology creates pools of resources that can be dynamically changed on the fly to accommodate computing workloads, as opposed to fixed and rigid silos of traditional computing. By increasing the utilization rate of these resources from the typical 10-15 % to 80-90 % and allowing them to be mixed and matched in combinations previously not possible, GigaIO has drastically boosted the performance and slashed the cost of computing for compute-intensive High-Performance Computing applications.
Serving scientists, engineers and data scientists, GigaIO empowers its customers to invent and innovate faster by drastically accelerating the time to result and enabling them to compute in novel ways. This impact manifests itself in faster drug discovery, more accurate meteorological predictions, or safer autonomous vehicles, positioning GigaIO to earn prestigious awards and designations including San Diego Venture Group’s Most Innovative Product for Big Data.
The choice to create this novel invention in Carlsbad was based on several factors, according to Jacqueline Arsivaud, GigaIO’s Director of Marketing.
“There is world-class communication expertise in both San Diego and Orange Counties, with many of the pioneering companies founded here. The City of Carlsbad has done a good job in land use planning to select areas for office buildings that are attractive to businesses, well laid out, and close to the amenities like restaurants and hotels that support a busy tech hub,” said Arsivaud. “Many tech workers live in North County Coastal because of the quality of life and appreciate short commutes to work.”
Exterior of GigaIO’s Carlsbad office.
In addition to ChromaCode, Ezoic, and GigaIO, The Tech Tribune’s list featured several other Carlsbad tech companies including Lumos Diagnostics, Proficio, MedCircle, Game IQ, Phosphorus, Airspace Technologies and Bitmo.
These innovative companies are a testament to the City of Carlsbad’s successful strategy of attracting top talent. “The city continues to implement outside-the-box strategies to attract and retain innovative companies, both large and small” said Matt Sanford, City of Carlsbad Economic Development Manager.
“Tech ecosystems are the key to growing a vibrant regional economy. These clusters of talent and science drive job creation, new business formation, and attract investment capital and top-tier talent. Carlsbad has emerged as a hub for high-technology innovation.”