Carlsbad is Region’s Top Spot for Innovation Startups

The innovation economy has been good for regional prosperity, to the tune of about $52 billion last year alone. This emerging industry driven by research and new tech is booming, but it depends on the next startups with a bright idea or big breakthrough—and as it turns out, most of that critical innovation is happening right here in Carlsbad.

That’s according to recent data that shows more innovation startups were launched in Carlsbad than anywhere else in the region for 2014-2015. Carlsbad took the top spot with 63 innovation startups, while downtown San Diego trailed at 54 and Sorrento Valley at 52. The findings were included in a recent report from CONNECT, an organization that’s been tracking the local innovation economy since 2005.

And all those innovative minds in Carlsbad have been very busy, well, innovating. The city was recently declared “king of patents” by The San Diego Union-Tribune because more than 650 patents were issued to Carlsbad businesses last year. That’s about 12 patents for every 1,000 workers. At that rate, Carlsbad significantly outpaced other significant innovation hubs like San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose.

“The numbers tell an important story,” said Carlsbad Economic Development Analyst Kevin Pointer. “We have a strong sense of the uptick that’s happening in Carlsbad, but the data truly shows how much innovation is happening in our city.”

Of course, this begs the question: What’s driving all that innovation in Carlsbad? The answer is life sciences, largely.

Life sciences accounted for about 42 percent of all those patents granted in Carlsbad last year. And about 22 percent of the region’s life sciences jobs are in Carlsbad. That’s especially striking when you consider that Carlsbad only represents less than four percent of region’s population. Not so surprisingly, life sciences are the biggest business cluster in Carlsbad and are widely responsible for spurring the city’s innovation economy.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have the industry leaders of life sciences charting new territory every day right here in Carlsbad,” said Pointer. “The work they’re doing is literally changing the world in some cases, and it’s rapidly becoming an integral part of our city’s economic fabric and identity.”

In the spirit of fostering this growing sector, the City of Carlsbad recently helped launch Bio, Tech and Beyond, a co-working lab space for scientists who may be working independently or for small startups. Though the program is not run by the city, it does operate out of city-owned property.

“This is one of the many ways we aim to support this industry in Carlsbad,” explained Pointer. “When we see a need in our business community, we’re always willing to explore solutions and take steps towards them whenever we can.”
For more information about the city’s economic development programs and efforts, please visit or contact Kevin Pointer at or 760-602- 4620.

You can also keep up with the latest in Carlsbad’s innovation economy thanks to its new interactive dashboards, or stay in the loop by following the department’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.


When it comes to patents, Carlsbad outpaces several major cities across the state.

12 patents for every 1,000 workers

8 patents for every 1,000 workers

3.6 patents per 1,000 workers

3 patents per 1,000 workers

— according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records


San Diego County is home to 3.2 million people
Carlsbad is home to approximately 111K people

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